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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

West Virginia: Undergraduate Shares Public Health Research on International Stage

Last month, West Virginia University School of Public Health student Ms. Brittany Smith traveled to Naples, Italy, to share her passions with a global audience at the International Society for Research on Identity’s annual conference.

Founded in 2000, the Society for Research on Identity provides scholars from around the world with a forum to share their ideas and research regarding the problems and prospects of human self-definition across the lifespan.

Ms. Smith’s passion and work focuses on childhood adversity and trauma and the impact it has on the individual, community and society at large. Her research project, “Negative Life Events and School Connectedness on Positive Identity Development,” was accepted for presentation at the event.

“This research project allowed me to begin to look at identity formation and how it plays a role in human health, giving me insight into a little-discussed topic,” said Ms. Smith. “I was able to learn new ways of data collection. The presentations expanded my thinking and put me on a path to look at things more rigorously.”

For Ms. Smith, the most exciting part of the experience was networking with researchers from around the world. A connection she made with a professor from SWPS University in Poland has opened the door for future research into a subject not studied by many researchers — something Ms. Smith says she dealt with personally.

“We plan to work on a project together that looks at childhood adversity, identity and perfectionism,” said Ms. Smith. “My own childhood adversity resulted in me developing maladaptive perfectionism to cope. Researching perfectionism will provide insight into this possible negative consequence of childhood adversity.”

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