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Supporting Undergraduate Research at Abilene Christian University since 2009

Kaitlin Pegoda – Social Work

Kaitlin Pegoda

Kaitlin at the Eastern Communications Association Conference in Providence, Rhode Island

Name: Kaitlin Pegoda

Major: Social Work

Classification: Senior

Hometown: Huntsville, TX

Mentor: Dr. Stephen Baldridge

What I Study: I have previously researched the use of design as a form of therapy at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX using a rhetorical analysis framework. This research provided important insight as to how the design and communications through the use of space in a children’s hospital context can significantly impact the experiences and attitudes of the children undergoing treatment in those hospitals. Currently, I am researching the biopsychosocial factors impacting positivity and resilience in individuals currently undergoing cancer treatments and who are also enrolled in a palliative care program. This research, done in conjunction with Hendrick Medical Center and the ACU School of Social Work, has the potential to reveal important factors common among those who score as being resilient while undergoing cancer treatments. Knowledge and understanding of these factors will provide opportunities to include interventions and proactive measures of care of a person or family before or during cancer treatment, rather than reactive measures after cancer treatments are completed.

Why I do research: I research so that I can have the knowledge and skills to make a significant impact on the world I live in. I have a passion for researching in the medical field, but with a focus on the characteristics and dynamics of the human interaction of patients and staff within the healthcare system. Through my research I have been and will continue to be able to identify the gaps between the treatment of patients and their overall experience and ability to heal and thrive. I hope to make significant contributions to the field of medical social work and change the face of treatment, specifically cancer treatment, for each patient who walks through the doors of a hospital or healthcare facility.

Conference Presentations: Eastern Communications Conference in Providence Rhode Island (April ’14)
ACU Undergraduate Research Festival (April ’14)
Will be presenting at the Baccalaureate Program Directors Conference Spring ’15

Awards: The first annual Save the Humans Research Grant from the School of Social Work
2014-2015 ACU Pursuit Grant
2014 Outstanding poster Presentation in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities – ACU Undergraduate Research Festival