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Student Column: Welcome Newest Board Student and Early Career Representative, Lara Schreurs

Posted By Lara Schreurs (KU Leuven), Monday, May 4, 2020

Hello everyone!


As I anticipate to begin my journey on the ICA Board of Directors as a Board Student and Early Career Representative, and a concurrent term as Co-Chair of ICA’s Student and Early Career Advisory Committee (SECAC) for 2020-2022, I would like to introduce myself to all young scholars at ICA briefly.


In 2017, I joined the School for Mass Communication Research at the KU Leuven (Belgium), and I have been fully enjoying doing research ever since. Because I always had a profound interest in the effects of social media on well-being, my PhD-project, supervised by prof. Laura Vandenbosch and awarded by my local grant organization, explores the role of social media literacy in the relations between the positivity bias on social media and mental well-being. More precisely, existing research is highly ambiguous about whether positive and idealized content on social media harms or benefits young social media users’ well-being. I aim to develop and empirically validate a model that allows us to understand how social media literacy protects young social media users against unwanted social media effects of idealized self-presentations and how it helps them reap the benefits of their social media usage.


As my research is situated at the crossroads of communication theory, developmental psychology, information processing models, and media effects, I have been involved in multiple ICA divisions such as Children, Adolescents, & the Media, Communication & Technology, and Information Systems. Drawing on these experiences, I am convinced that taking part in different divisions is highly valuable for the scientific advancement of junior ICA-members’ research careers. Therefore, I strongly want to support interdisciplinary research among young scholars, which is in my opinion, not only about connecting communication studies with other domains such as psychology but also about crossing boundaries over different communication subfields.


Even though I am only part of ICA for a little longer than two years, it has become clear to me how important the organization is for discovering and learning from the most innovative and inspiring research in the field of communication. By participating in the annual conferences, I gained some valuable academic experiences, which will undoubtedly help advance my academic research career. I strongly believe in the importance of such experiences for all starting researchers, which is why I am motivated to help young scholars get the most out of their time with ICA.


Despite the conference being virtual this year, as a Board Student and Early Career Representative representative, I would like to encourage you to participate as much as you can in all SECAC events, like the Blue Sky Workshop. These sessions still form a great opportunity to meet interesting people, inspire new research ideas among each other, and set up international research collaborations. Plus, as Myrene Magabo (U of the Philippines Open U) has written in the April 2020 student column, there are at least “seven in a thousand reasons” why you have to do so.


If you have any questions in general or ideas on the future of our community, I would be very happy to discuss these at lara.schreurs@kuleuven.be.


But for now, stay safe. Hopefully, I will meet you (online) at the SECAC events.




Tags:  May 2020 

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