Lori Eason was a PhD student in health and crisis communications who passed away before she could get her PhD. The top student paper prize at AEJMC’s ComSHER (communicating science, health, environment, and risk) division is named after her.
I had the honor of receiving this award for my research paper “On Pins and Needles: The Portrayal of Vaccines on Pinterest” during the AEJMC co
nference a few weeks ago. Lori, I hope I will make your memory proud.
Well, not my first conference…. but first in my PhD-related career. It’s the AEJMC conference – Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications – and in the throes of finishing my thesis earlier this year my future dissertation advisor (and then-informal second thesis reader) recommended I create a “short” (=35 page) version of said thesis and submit that to the AEJMC conference call for papers. I whittled away enough time to create a much shorter version of my thesis and never expected to hear anything – after all, I was new at this, and I was so absorbed by finishing my thesis that I figured this wasn’t going to work out. To my surprise, I discovered a few months later that my paper had been accepted – and was the third of the top three papers! That meant presenting at the conference (unleashing an avalanche of insecurities starting with my first experience with the in PhD circles well-known “Impostor Syndrome” and continuing into the realm of “What should I wear? How do I squish 35 pages into 12 minutes? Should a use a fun graphic on the first slide or is that not done?” My knees were shaking a bit, last night, but I survived. Hubby said I did well, and so did my dissertation advisor. I made some new contacts (research contacts! this is getting… real!), and I have a pretty certificate and a (small, but welcome) check to show for it. And… now that I have done this – it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it could and would be. Hmmmm….. I wonder what other paper calls are out there right now……