HHP Undergraduate Research Spotlight - Avery Apperson

Avery Apperson

Major: BS Public Health Studies

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Stellefson

Describe your current research project:

My current research project is a social media content analysis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Facebook Groups. I will be collecting and analyzing data on information shared in Facebook Groups created for COPD patients.

Why did you choose this particular topic?

As an aspiring medical doctor, I chose this topic because I trust that it will increase my knowledge of COPD – the third leading cause of death in the US. COPD Facebook Groups will help me gain a better understanding of COPD patients and advice, opinions, and information that are shared among them, especially those who may not have adequate access to health care.

What outcomes or impact do you hope your research will accomplish?

I hope that my research will make a significant impact by generating a better understanding of the interactions among COPD patients in a social media platform. Personally, I hope this research will help me to be a better, more informed doctor in the future.

Do you feel that participating in such research will impact your job placement after graduation? If so, how?

I believe my research will have a significant impact on my future. I am currently applying to medical school, and research plays a huge role in that process. I believe my research will demonstrate my interest in medically underserved populations and ultimately express my desire to be involved with research in the future.

What has been your favorite part of your research?

My favorite part of my research has been working with my mentor, Dr. Stellefson, and all the opportunities I have been afforded. Dr. Stellefson constantly encourages me and challenges me in all aspects of the research process. Working with him has been a true learning experience!