April Updates: Thesis Defense and Recent Conference

Hi everyone! I will be defending my thesis this Thursday, on April 26. I’m excited to share my research with my friends and committee, but I’m also quite nervous. I will update you in my next blog post about how my defense went, but in this post, I want to talk about a conference I attended recently. This past weekend, I went to the Academy for Eating Disorder’s International Conference on Eating disorders in Chicago. The theme of the conference was “innovation: expanding our community and perspectives”. This was my first academic conference and it was an extremely rewarding experience. I learned a lot about eating and body image through attending paper presentations, workshops, and plenaries. Although not directly related to my thesis, I am extremely interested in eating disorders. They contribute a great deal to the burden of disease in the U.S. and across the world, and eating disorders are some of the most deadly mental illnesses. Thus research into their causes, treatment, and prevention is extremely important. The conference was encouraging in this sense- it gave me hope for the future of eating disorder treatment and prevention, since so many amazing people are doing research in these areas.

My favorite session at the conference talked about strategic science and how it can influence policy related to eating disorders. It was really cool to hear about how research can translate into really big changes. Researchers talked about findings related to the effects of menu labeling on food choice and intake, the effects of a warning label on sodas on drink choice, and how personal stories can influence policy makers. I think I would find it very rewarding to explore this type of research in the future, in graduate school or in a future job. I’m so glad I went to this conference and I am excited to attend more in the future!