Taryn Noll (Senior, Communication Arts & Sciences), a photo by LAUSatPSU on Flickr.
Throughout my time at Penn State, a pink thread has woven itself into all that I do. My mom battled breast cancer my freshman year here, and I now happily call her a survivor. Since that moment, I became involved in many "pink" organizations and projects. It was no surprise that my thesis ended up following this same pink path.
I was pointed in the direction of Denise Solomon to be my thesis adviser, as she had completed previous research about breast cancer communication. Because I have such a strong tie to breast cancer communication in my life, I decided to study mother-daughter communication during a mother's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Mother-daughter pairs that agreed to participate were asked to complete separate online surveys, which were linked by unique identifiers they created at the start of the survey.
During the school year, I am very involved on campus. Some weeks I do not see my roommates for days in a row. It is hard to find time to sit down and put in my very best work. With the Summer Discovery Grant, I was able to put in my absolute best effort, passion and dedication. I did not have to worry about a summer job or making money to pay off my loans that will start gaining interest in merely a year. I was able to dedicate time out of each day to my research.
At the beginning of summer, I worked on submitting my thesis for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. I worked with Denise to solidify my survey questions. After I gained approval in June, I spent each day researching organizations I could contact to spread the word about my project. I reached out to participants through email and set them up with their surveys. I contacted over 200 organizations and sent out flyers to promote my research.
Back at school now for Fall Semester, I am still working on my thesis, but I can certainly still feel the benefits of the Summer Discovery Grant. I was able to set a solid foundation over the summer, and I can now take my time with the final analysis of my research.
I highly encourage Liberal Arts students to apply for the Summer Discovery Grant. It is a great opportunity to get a head start on your research and to have the means to do it. It is very simple to apply and you will feel very accomplished by the end of your summer full of hard work!