Students to present vaccine-hesitancy research

The project at California University of Pennsylvania examined rates of vaccination and how they could be improved.


An example of materials that the students created to encourage people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cal U Communications

Four California University of Pennsylvania students will share the results of their research on vaccine hesitancy at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 in Duda Hall 103.

The event will be available on Zoom at

This summer, with support from the Center for Undergraduate Research at Cal U, Divonne Franklin, Larry Wiles, Susan Mazanetz, and Yamna Boukaabar participated in a 10-week fellowship that trained them in scientific communication regarding COVID-19.

Under the direction of Dr. Michelle Valkanas, assistant professor of microbiology at Cal U, and Dr. Kate Carter, from the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, the students investigated trends in vaccine rates across the state. They looked at different marketing strategies that have been used in those areas, and developed their own marketing campaign to urge college-age students to get vaccinated.

“The students will present on these findings during their talk as well as discuss the importance of having community-centric initiatives and conversations to decrease vaccine hesitancy,” Valkanas said.

“I think the most surprising thing we found was that, unlike how it is being displayed at the national level, political standing is not always a predictor of vaccination rates.”

The event is being co-sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and the American Democracy Project at Cal U.