Ciara Devereaux and Grace McGrew
Ciara Devereaux, a biology major from Woburn, Massachusetts, will graduate in spring 2021 from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). She conducted her research as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. She and her coauthor, Grace, have been followers of fitspiration and wanted to explore the larger implications of its negative consequences. This project allowed Ciara to learn more about how to conduct a research study independently, which broadened her quantitative and analytical skills. One challenging aspect was completing their project remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ciara says that the most rewarding part of the experience was seeing the results come together at the end and knowing that their research might be used for a greater purpose. She believes that Inquiry is a great way to relay information and teach social media users about the potential effects that fitspiration may have on mental health. After graduating from UNH, Ciara plans to attend medical school and become a doctor. She says that her future in medicine will be greatly benefitted by her research, which helped her gain confidence in her academic abilities, and allowed her to collaborate with others on cutting-edge psychological research that further advanced her leadership and teamwork abilities.
Grace McGrew, from Lake Placid, New York, is a senior at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). She is in the University Honors Program with a major in neuroscience and behavior and a minor in French. Her research was conducted as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. She and her coauthor, Ciara, follow fitspiration content and noticed a lack of research into its effects on mental health, so they decided to explore this topic in more detail. Grace learned about the broad scope of subjects and images that fitspiration encompasses, and she also gained a better understanding of how to conduct independent research. The biggest challenge that Grace and Ciara faced was completing their project remotely due to the pandemic. Grace says that the most satisfactory part of the project was putting together their findings and seeing that their work had led to significant data. She is excited to share her findings with the Inquiry audience, especially since many college students are impacted by fitspiration. Grace’s career goal is to attend medical school and go into sports medicine. She says that this project has helped her to better understand how certain factors, such as social media use, impact mental health. By writing for Inquiry Grace has become more confident in her scientific writing abilities, which she is sure will help her throughout her career.