Communications Intern for the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) at the Seattle Children's Research Institute

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The Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team looks at the way that adolescents use technology and social media, and their projects inform future legislation, recommendations about best practices, and tools for parents and adolescents.

the details

Location: The Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) at the Seattle Children's Research Institute

Duration: March 2017 - June 2017

Role: Communications and Promotions Intern

• Updated Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter social media platforms to promote current research, SMAHRT research intern projects, and upcoming program applications.
• Prepared and conducted interviews with SMAHRT team members and staff to create written content for the SMAHRT Features blog.

writing about social media via social media

Although social media and technology use have grown over the past few years, there are no comprehensive best practices or recommendations about how to use it judiciously. The Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) strives to bridge this gap by researching the impact of social media and technology use on adolescents and young adults. The team's projects span a wide range of health issues (marijuana and alcohol use, mental health, domestic violence) as well as social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, more recently, Snapchat). SMAHRT is unique in that its members conduct research on a subject that has not been extensively researched in the past, which provides a variety of avenues for exploration about social media use, ethics, and engagement.

Pushing for source-driven content & community engagement

SMAHRT research interns contribute to research projects on teams while also exploring intersections of social media and adolescent health that are interesting to them and as a communications intern, I had the privilege of sharing their projects on social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. My favorite part of this role was that all of these posts strived to celebrate the work of these interns and explore the applications of their findings in future policies, guidelines, or public health interventions and programs.

As a communications intern, I wrote features, curated content, and took photos of the team. In this role, I pushed for a more journalistic angle through in-person interviews that captured people's voice and perspectives.

I also focused on increasing engagement, which is why I strived to use relevant hashtags like #SMAHRTie and #UWsymp to ensure that our posts were being tagged with related content. 

Long-form stories about research and outreach

While interning, I wrote features about the experience of research interns as they prepared for the Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) at the University of Washington, where many of the interns shared their findings with the greater Seattle community. My features focused on the value of conducting independent projects because of the 1) research exposure, 2) interdisciplinary collaboration and community, and 3) opportunity to develop clarity about long-term goals, and I conducted independent interviews with every intern in an effort to understand why they decided to join the team, and how SMAHRT contributed to their long-term goals.

Scholar Spotlight: Tommy LaGuardia

This article was a feature on Tommy LaGuardia, a graduating high school senior who participated in the SMAHRT Summer Scholars Program 2, and I had the privilege of learning about his growing interest in research and what it meant to be a first generation college student.

The Road to the Undergraduate Research Symposium: Research Exposure

This feature centered around interviews with current SMAHRT research interns and the value of research exposure. This was the first article in a three part series leading up to the Undergraduate Research Symposium that sought to capture the experience in a more vivid and comprehensive way.

Intern Spotlight: Jesse Rohwer

This article highlights Jesse's research projects on the ethical codes surrounding social media use by social workers, his journey to SMAHRT, and long-term goals.

Creating promotional materials for Instagram, facebook, and twitter

When updating the SMAHRT's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. I strived to inform people of SMAHRT's upcoming programs, research findings, and project updates in an accessible way. What I loved most about this role is that I got to focus on celebrating the accomplishments of SMAHRT members and capture their passion in writing and pictures!

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In an effort to develop my design skills, I used the graphic design software Canva to create promotional materials that could be shared on SMAHRT's social media channels:

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I also updated the Instagram @SMAHRTeam account with photos of each of the interns and their independent project through a series called #roadtoURS, which included blurbs about each project and quotes from each person:

To prepare for this project, I interviewed each team member to learn about what brought them to SMAHRT, what they wanted to gain from the experience, and the main takeaways from their research projects. It was really enlightening to learn about how people bridged their interest in social media and health through the inquiry of their independent project!

This experience was an opportunity to delve into social media from a communications perspective while also learning about how we use it better through students' independent research projects!

INformation architecture on the SMAHRT BLOG Website

Before I finished my internship, I decided to add categories to the SMAHRT blog to make easier to navigate, and I added links to other content within each web page:

I started by rewriting the text for the homepage  to explain SMAHRT's mission and hyperlinking to each section of the website! This was a way for me to encourage more engagement with SMAHRT content and demonstrating our mission of promoting research, education, and outreach.