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Charlotte supports Telethon Kids media research into adolescent health

2 September, 2022

An internship with UWA’s McCusker Centre for Citizenship has seen Biomedicine student Charlotte Ryall contribute 100 hours towards a research project at Telethon Kids Institute that aims to use media and education to help prevent adolescent alcohol consumption.

Charlotte undertook the project with Telethon Kids’ researchers who are seeking to understand the ways in which social media is used to improve the health and media literacy of young people, particularly in relation to alcohol.

“I thought the internship would be a great way to give back to my community while learning more about the public health sector,” said Charlotte.

The internship saw Charlotte support with a broad range of research assistance tasks, including an in-depth literature review on the topic of adolescent alcohol consumption and how it could be prevented through media literacy training, as well as supporting an initiative that explores the potential of TikTok as a research tool.

“The whole experience opened my eyes to the scope and different aspects of research, and I loved working within a team that was so supportive. My supervisor was amazing and introduced me to so many people throughout the Institute,” said Charlotte.

The Telethon Kids’ team were impressed with Charlotte’s contributions, which have led to her continuing her work with the Institute.

“Charlotte was an excellent research assistant during her time with our team. Her work was useful in the development of a research protocol for our recently funded TikTok project,” said internship supervisor and Telethon Kids Senior Research Officer, Karen Lombardi.

“Charlotte’s enthusiasm for working at the Institute is illustrated by her willingness to take on a volunteer position and her recent appointment as a casual research assistant,” said Karen.

Charlotte said the biggest learnings from the internship - in addition to gaining and refining new research skills - was seeing firsthand the strong link between Telethon Kids’ work and the community.

“Not only is the Institute’s research for the community, but the community influences what they research. The team that I worked within hosts focus groups with parents to determine what parents are concerned about currently, or what areas they feel need more research,” said Charlotte.

“I think this makes the research so much more impactful because it means the research is relevant to the current needs of the community,” she said.

Charlotte says she would “absolutely” recommend the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program to other UWA students, and she is excited to continue her work with Telethon Kids.

“The opportunity to work within the sector I wish to go into was priceless, it has given me experiences and connections that would have been difficult to create otherwise,” said Charlotte.