On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, University and departmental honors student Emi Velez successfully defended her honors thesis. Her thesis is titled, "The Impact of Media Trends on Beaver College of Health Sciences Students’ Knowledge of Current/Recent Refugee Crises". The abstract reads as follows:
After Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine on February 24, 2022, social media was bombarded with media and news about the atrocity in Eastern Europe. The rise of media coverage and positive support far surpassed that of other refugee crises, raising the question of why certain refugee crises are receiving more media attention and positive communal support than others. The present study investigated the effects of media trends on Beaver College of Health Sciences students’ knowledge of twelve United Nations-recognized refugee crises through an online, voluntary survey. Participants (N=110) were measured on their awareness of each refugee crisis, as well as which media sources they are exposed to most often for news intake. The results indicated an overall lack of knowledge of most refugee crises aside from the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Social media was recorded as the largest news media provider, with the most well-known refugee-related hashtag being #UkraineStrong. Additionally, out of 101 respondents, only one reported that educating oneself about refugee crises is not important to them personally, while the other 100 respondents either selected “Agree” or “Strongly Agree.” These findings bring into question why there is an overall lack of awareness and knowledge of non-white refugee crises and how the media has framed this crisis compared to the other ones. Additionally, this paper will explore what this means for the future of health sciences.
Keywords: Media trends, refugees, health sciences, awareness, Ukraine
Sarah Donovan served as thesis chair and Dr. Kelly Chernin from the Department of Communication served as second reader.
This is a very important topic within social work, given not only the current refugee crises, but also the dehumanizing depictions of refugees that are unfortunately all too prevalent within our society.