A Message from Falecia Williams, President, West and Downtown Campuses
Congratulations are in order for Angela Vergara, part-time faculty, psychology and sociology, who recently won the University of Central Florida (UCF) Department of Sociology Graduate Student Research Paper Award with her paper entitled, “#Amamantar: Representations of Breastfeeding Targeting Hispanic/Latinx Populations on Social Media.”
To be consider for the award, graduate students must submit a research paper to UCF’s Sociology department. The paper is judged by a graduate committee and evaluated on the basis of originality, creativity, conceptualization, analysis and contribution to sociological literature. The winner receives a $250 award and recognition on a plaque, which is displayed in the UCF Sociology department main office.
A Valencia College alumna and now a doctoral candidate in sociology at UCF, Angela completed research on this topic in the last academic year. Her goal was to uncover and document the messaging aimed at Hispanic/Latinx populations to better understand the extent to which Western messaging permeates social media. Angela shared the following reason for her research along with a summary statement of her findings:
The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates breastfeeding as the ideal form of infant feeding, associated with positive short- and long-term health outcomes for mothers and their children. Governments and medical organizations are increasingly participating in breastfeeding promotion efforts, as breastfeeding represents a relatively inexpensive method of improving population health. Because social media has the power to disseminate information to a large proportion of the population in real time, it is an emerging tool for public health education. These findings demonstrate that, although social media has been theorized as a potentially liberatory forum, these images reproduce current power arrangements.
As a Colombian woman herself, Angela focuses much of her research on Hispanic/Latinx populations. Her dissertation will focus on the experiences and mental health of students who relocated to Central Florida from Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. In fall 2019, Angela will also be a full-time visiting instructor at UCF in the Department of Sociology.