In early October 2013, HALO PhD student Marisa Murray traveled to Chicago, Illinois to attend the 6th Biennial Conference on Emerging Adulthood to present findings from a recent study on problematic social networking and body – esteem among undergraduate students (Murray, Moorman, & Goldfield, 2013). This conference provided Marisa with the opportunity to share novel findings on the relationship between an increasingly popular form of online communication, social networking, and undergraduate students’ satisfaction with physical appearance and body weight.

Marisa explains more about the conference:

I was also provided the opportunity to network with both national and international researchers who are conducting projects on related topics. Intriguing ideas for the present study were generated (e.g., specific statistical analyses to perform, potential mediating and moderating variables to examine, ways to disseminate the findings) and exposure to other researchers’ projects provided informative ideas for my dissertation project.

In addition, the conference exposed me to a plethora of psychological research in the form of poster and oral presentations, keynote speakers, and debates. These presentations were highly informative in that they generated ideas about the implications of studying social networking behaviours in relation to mental and physical health among emerging adults (e.g., developing programs to teach undergraduate students more appropriate ways of using social networking sites).

Future collaborations with other junior researchers were also discussed. Such opportunities  would be instrumental to my professional growth as a young scientist.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario as well as the University of Ottawa for funding such an invaluable academic opportunity.