Happiness & Optimisms’ Effect on Healthy Behaviors Among College Students
Public Health students searches for link between happy/optimistic people and positive life choices towards their health.
Brynn Stopczynski has spent much of her life moving around the country, so when it came to choosing a college, she had a plethora of options. While she found the campus uniquely charming, it wasn’t until she found out that she was accepted into the Honors College at Brockport that she made her decision. Since then, Stopczynski has become an integral part of the Brockport community as she looks to start her year and a half term as the Brockport Student Government (BSG) Chief of Staff.
As Chief of Staff, Stopczynski primarily works with leaders in other departments of BSG, with the goal of creating a stronger and more engaged campus community. Since coming to Brockport she has always known that she wanted to get involved with the people on campus.
“When coming to school I knew I wanted to be a part of the community and going to club craze really helped me find out where to start,” Stopczynski said. “I want to look back on this experience and know that I wasn’t just studying. I was able to contribute and be there for other students, all while finding myself.”
Stopczynski has always been someone who has cared deeply for her community, which is one of the many reasons she became a Public Health major. Since taking Dr. Priya Banerjee’s epidemiology class, Brynn was able to refine what she wanted to do with her career.
“I have always had Dr. Banerjee there to guide me. She was the person that pushed me in directions I never knew I would take, such as tutoring, doing research, or even pursuing a major in Public Health!” Stopczynski said. “She is extremely encouraging, and I’m lucky she has been there for me since my first semester on campus.”
Even though she has spent many years of her life moving around the country, Stopczynski has always wanted to be part of a community. This would allow her to reach the most people, in hopes of increasing the well-being and happiness of those around her. Knowing that happiness is something that all people strive for, she made it the focal point of her research.
“The focus of my research is to look at the links between subjective well-being (happiness), levels of optimism, and health behavior activities among college students.” Stopczynski said. “We are researching if being a happy and optimistic person allows an individual to make healthier and more positive choices towards their health.”
Stopczynski started gathering data for her research by taking her survey to various classrooms. She is now focusing on examining the data and writing her literature review, relying on Dr. Joshua Fegley for external resources and support.
“Dr. Fegley is just one of those professors who are there for you 24/7,” Stopczynski said. “He has been a tremendous help during my research, providing me with potential material for my review, and always answering any texts that I might pester him with throughout the day.”
Stopczynski has now wrapped up her research and is seeking publication in the near future. She hopes that the experience she has gained from her research can help give her an edge over the competition for her dream job, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Regardless of where she ends up, she knows that being a valuable member of a community will be a top priority.