Senior student project tackles COVID-19 vaccinations

Features

Rita Offutt, Editor

Emma Krall, a senior psychology major and chemistry minor, is preparing for the next steps after graduation. For Krall, doing so entails navigating through medical school applications while promoting healthy living on and off campus. As the Director of Harm Reduction and Prevention for Phi Mu Fraternity and the Council Chair for Student Health and Service with the La Salle Honors Program, Krall has an extensive background in navigating conversations about sensitive topics, including mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic. Relating specifically to COVID-19, Krall is passionate about the dissemination of accurate, accessible information. Her combined interest in medicine, the COVID-19 pandemic and student wellbeing prompted Krall to create a 1 minute, 17 second video entitled ‘How mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines (Pfizer & Moderna) Work’. 

Krall’s video was completed to fulfill the requirements of the La Salle Honors Project, a capstone assignment given to students enrolled in the Honors program. When reflecting on her work with the assignment, Krall said, “Because most of my undergraduate career has been centered around memorization and lab work, I wanted my Honors Project to be more on the creative side. During quarantine in Spring 2020, I began getting into digital art, graphic design, and animation as a hobby. My original idea was to create a digital series with the theme ‘Emotions During the Pandemic’ because COVID-19 had such a big impact on my life. However, this topic was extremely broad, and I did not know where to start. Right before I was supposed to have my first meeting…[for the Honors Project], I was scrolling on Instagram and saw that someone posted a COVID-19 vaccine animation. While the video was entertaining and encouraged vaccination, it was not biochemically correct! [The video] sparked my idea to create an animation that was scientifically correct while also being creative and entertaining. This idea seemed to join my passion for a career in medicine with my personal hobbies of art and animation.” 

In developing her video, Krall worked with several La Salle University professors. Geoffery Beatty, a faculty member in La Salle’s Digital Art program, served as the project advisor. Krall cites Beatty as having helped her to “construct my overall project.” Krall also worked with professors Jason Diaz and Kelly Daily. Diaz, who teaches Integrated Business, Science, and Technology, helped Krall to understand how the vaccine works. Daily, a Communication professor, helped Krall to develop her communication style and incorporate important aspects of public health into the video. 

Krall’s video is designed to make information about the COVID-19 vaccines more accessible, to promote understanding and encourage others to consider getting vaccinated. She said, “In my opinion, you should not need a background in medicine or science to understand how the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine works. Especially over the course of the pandemic, the gap of information between the medical community and the public has become very clear to me. I believe bridging this difference, through clear and accurate communication, can better vaccination efforts, promote stronger trust in science, and strengthen everyone’s understanding. I wanted to create an animation that could provide anyone with the terminology and proceedings of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines…I genuinely hope my video either convinced at least one person to get fully vaccinated or it made one person feel more comfortable and competent in understanding how the vaccine works.” 

Krall’s video, as well as other artistic projects, are publicly available on her Instagram account @byemmacrawl.

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