Allison Opheim was one of five NMU Honors Program students selected for a Lundin Summer Research Fellowship. Her project was titled “Communicating Scientific Research in a Social Media Age.” The senior public relations major constructed a communication tool kit for sharing research on social media platforms after reviewing existing resources and working with NMU research labs.
"After serving as a marketing intern for the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center on-campus, I realized there was a disconnect between members of the public and researchers," Opheim said. "Having the opportunity to create this tool kit with the financial support of the Lundin Fellowship was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that taught me how to simplify complex social issues, overcome challenges in academics and make a positive impact on others using my own skills and interests."
Opheim’s communication tool kit is modified specifically for non-profit science groups or small labs that don’t have the resources to hire a public relations representative. She built the kit as an interactive digital suite of tools and prompts for scientists to more effectively communicate and explain research findings. Opheim’s final goal was to “pilot” the tool kit with the NMU research labs to identify what needs to be improved or modified.
Jes Thompson, associate professor in the Communication and Performance Studies Department, was Opheim’s faculty mentor. Thompson teaches environmental communication as part of the PR sequence.
“Allison has a passion for improving science literacy and she recognizes that this work should start at the source,” Thompson said. “She worked extremely hard in my public relations message design course and her attention to detail in building her website and online writing portfolio was evidence that she would be more than capable of doing this project. I’m honored to work with such talented students who are not afraid to address complex and pragmatic problems in public communication.”
Anna and Rich Lundin created the Honors Summer Research Fellowships to support NMU Honors Program students who have proposed or are engaging in exceptional research.