Congratulations to Cognitive Science senior Faye Polasek, who received the Patricia Kennedy Award for graduating Honors students.
The Patricia Kennedy Award is bestowed by the Honors Program in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to acknowledge and support excellence in writing and scholarship. Faye’s Honors thesis is titled "Applications of Behavioral Intervention Technology in Long-term Gynecology Care.” Her primary advisor was Dr. Gabriela Marcu in the School of Information, with Dr. Mara Bollard of the Weinberg Institute providing secondary support.
Faye’s interest in research began during her freshman year of college when she assisted a graduate student with their dissertation work. From there, she became heavily involved in research within the School of Information, working on projects in interface design, usability testing, data curation and management, library resource development, data reuse, and more.
Faye says she knew she wanted to write an honors thesis but wanted it to be about something she cared about. She soon discovered the ideal topic.
“I found myself surprised by the many obstacles I faced in healthcare settings, and wondered a lot about the experiences of other women,” says Faye. “The thesis was my opportunity to explore my interests in behavior science and technology in the arena of women's healthcare, wrapping together my desire for both academically interesting and socially impactful work.”
Common gynecologic disorders in women can cause chronic pain and mental distress that lowers quality of life. Many of these conditions, such as endometriosis and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also have a high rate of psychiatric comorbidity. A variety of cognitive-behavioral therapeutic techniques have demonstrated effective use in improving symptoms of chronic pain and mental health concerns in reproductive and menstrual conditions. Through physician interviews and patient surveys, I evaluated the potential use of a behavioral intervention mobile health technology to be a promising option for addressing challenges experienced in the care process by physicians and patients alike. Behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) deliver effective therapies at lower barriers of access while also integrating many of the communication and information needs of both physicians and patients.
Faye will be recognized for the Patricia Kennedy Award during the Honors Program awards ceremony on April 28th.
After graduation, Faye plans to move to New York City to begin a position with the Rockport Group's product team.