Emma Nelson ’22: Bringing Gustavus Research To Denmark

Posted on July 21st, 2022 by

Gustavus Alumni Emma Nelson ‘22 graduated last Spring achieving majors in both Spanish and Political Science with a Minor in Public Health. Her research experience at Gustavus began later in her college career.

“I had been interested in doing research at Gustavus but I had always incorrectly assumed that research opportunities were generally only available within the hard sciences. In one of Dr. Russell’s classes in Spring 2021, she mentioned that she was interested in doing research on fitness tracking apps, which was also a topic I had been thinking about a lot throughout that course.”    

Nelson participated in many aspects of the research process including coding data, analyzing previous literature, and helping establish theoretical frameworks. Eventually, Nelson took on a supervisor role in the project, a key leadership position in keeping the project on track.    

“I didn’t have a lot of experience in formal academic research but I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to get involved in research and learn more about a topic I was really interested in.”

After an immense amount of work, her efforts paid off. This summer, Nelson was given the opportunity to present her research with Dr. Hayley Russell in Aarhus Denmark at the International Conference on Sport and Society presenting their findings on the psychosocial impacts of using the fitness social media app, Strava

“I had never been to an academic conference before, so I was really looking forward to that experience, and I feel like I will now be forever disappointed when I don’t get to travel across Europe to present research. It was so incredible to meet people from all over the world that were interested in the same things as I am, and the opportunity to present to people who are experts in the field was amazing if nerve-wracking. It was special to share what I’ve learned with other scholars. Creating connections with researchers across the world was also valuable and will undoubtedly be helpful in so many ways as I continue into the world of academia.”

Along with her contributions to the Strava project, Nelson has also conducted independent research at Gustavus through her Political Science honors thesis describing the role gyms have in enacting policy in disease prevention and public health during the covid-19 pandemic. It’s with these research opportunities at Gustavus that have encouraged Nelson to continue research in the future.  

“Doing research at Gustavus was what eventually led me to conclude that I wanted to do research as a career. Having the opportunity to play such a significant role in a research project is uniquely available at schools like Gustavus.”

This Fall, Nelson will be attending the University of Minnesota to begin her Masters of Science in Kinesiology in the Behavioral Physical Activity Laboratory. 

 

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