Grad Students win Sandi Smith Research Fellowship

January 11, 2019

Health & Risk Communication Master’s student Ruth Osoro and Communication Master’s student Alexa Roscizewski have been awarded the second annual Sandi Smith Research Fellowship. The award will help fund a research project focused on preventing oropharyngeal cancer in men by increasing human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination rates in college-age males. The HPV vaccine prevents most cases of oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the throat, tonsils, and tongue), which mainly affects men and has been increasing at alarming rates in recent decades. 

In collaboration with MSU’s Health and Risk Communication Center, the National Social Norms Center, and an interdisciplinary team of MSU faculty, Osoro and Roscizewski will use the Sandi Smith Research Fellowship award to conduct focus group interviews of college-aged men, as well as their parents. The information gathered from these focus groups will be used to create a University-wide campaign to prevent cancer by increasing HPV vaccination rates.

The Sandi Smith Research Fellowship was founded in 2017 to celebrate Dr. Smith’s dedication to health and risk communication studies in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences. Dr. Smith directed the Health and Risk Communication Center from 2005 to 2017, and her work with students earned her the 2008 B. Audrey Fisher Mentorship Award from the International Communication Association as well as numerous other awards, most recently the MSU University Distinguished Professor award. A prolific scholar and ICA Fellow, Dr. Smith’s passion for communication research, teaching, and health communication have been an inspiration for students over the years.