Sara Santarossa with text "body satisfaction"Sara Santarossa is a finalist in the SSHRC Storytellers contest.

Researcher wins plaudits for explanation of moms’ social media influence

Sara Santarossa, a recent PhD candidate in the Department of Kinesiology, is one of three UWindsor students on the list of 25 finalists in this year’s SSHRC Storytellers contest.

The competition is an opportunity for Canadian post-secondary students to share their research in a compelling, creative, and clear way, through a three-minute presentation. The goal is to illustrate how social sciences and humanities research is impacting our lives, communities, and future. Santarossa’s presentation centred around her doctoral research on mother-daughter influence on appearance, behaviour, and body image in social media settings.

At the encouragement of her supervisor, professor Sarah Woodruff, Santarossa decided to enter the competition amidst her preparations for her final doctoral defense. She enlisted the help of her brother to create a video highlighting points of her research in a simple and understandable fashion.

“I watched several Storyteller videos from other competitions and decided to do take a new approach to my video,” Santarossa says. “The biggest challenge of this project was to condense 250 pages of research into a form any layperson could understand. I thought that creating a video in the role of a YouTuber would really be an effective way to do that.”

She notes that one of the challenges of this project was to bridge the research and academics with community application.

“This project really forced me to sharpen my knowledge transmission skills and understand how to communicate these concepts in a way that would be received and clearly understood by anyone watching.”

Watch her entry here.

This recognition is a welcome addition to Santarossa’s 2020 accolades, which include the recent successful defense of her doctoral thesis, and its adaptation by the Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa Association to help with podcasts and programming.

DailyNews will profile the other UWindsor finalists — psychology students Renée Taylor and Kathleen Wilson — later this month.

The winners were originally to be announced at the 2020 Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, which has been cancelled this year due to social distancing protocols. All finalists will be recognized next May at the 2021 Congress held at the University of Alberta.

—Martin Vaughan