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Lauren Lavelle
2010-2011 Honors Student

Name: Lauren Lavelle 
Honors in: Sociology 
Hometown: Gouldsboro, PA 
Major(s): Biology, minor in Sociology

Lauren LavelleTitle of Project: Breast Cancer Culture: The Commercialization of Disease

Abstract or Brief Description: The pink ribbon has become the nationally recognized symbol of breast cancer in the United States. Are teddy bears, cosmetics, and jewelry, however, an accurate representation or an obscure glamorization of this disheartening, disfiguring disease? Since the first use of the pink ribbon by the Susan G. Komen Foundation in 1991, there have been an abundance of interested companies looking to take advantage of this cause-marketing opportunity. Companies that participate in cause-marketing campaigns gain name recognition while often donating a miniscule fraction of their profit to the cause. The public, however, continues to support the proliferation of pink products, despite the fact that these products are not as healthy and promising as they appear to be. My emphasis in this research was on the campaign’s focus, or lack thereof, on the real issues: patients and education.

Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? No, I do not plan to research my topic further, however, there are many avenues for further exploration of the breast cancer culture.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? Through conducting research in the honors program, I had the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, exploring a subject matter outside my chosen major. This project has allowed me to strengthen my research skills while exposing me to the field of medical sociology.

How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Virginia O’Connell, who graciously shared with me her wealth of knowledge in the field of sociological research. Working together, she has taught me how to better understand the process of conduct research with the public, while at the same time allowing this to also be an exploratory learning experience.

What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? This is a once in a lifetime experience on so many different levels. The program allows you to invest your time and energy in a topic you are passionate about while providing supportive guidance along the way. Anyone who has the chance to complete the program should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.