WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Oct. 8, 2020 — West Liberty University senior Jaclyn Merrill found a current topic for her senior project that developed into a successful podcast on gender.
Entitled, “Transgender: Why Should I Care?” the podcast also incorporates research that her faculty advisor, Dr. Becky Meacham, did for her dissertation.
“Senior students in the psychology program must find an area of interest, then research the topic and create a senior project that reflects the research. This is the assignment that Jackie was working on when she came up with this podcast. It is an interest of hers and an area that I’ve studied,” said Meacham.
Meacham earned her doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh last spring and her dissertation was entitled, “College Adjustment among Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.”
Originally from Baltimore, Md. Merrill is now a resident of Follansbee, W.Va. After she graduates this spring she plans on entering a master’s degree program, also in psychology.
She previously earned a BFA in design and technology at West Virginia University and was a stage manager working in theater.
Describing herself as a bit of a vagabond, she said that she hopes to spread information about the transgender community and create allies through her project. When asked why she’s interested in transgender lifestyle, she said this:
“It’s just who I grew up around and who I’ve always known. I am fighting for their rights and privileges. I’ve actually known transgender people since I was a kindergarten.”
Comments on her work have been very positive.
“Even professors have asked me really thought-provoking questions. I’s been awesome,” she said, adding that research in this area is growing and she feels transgendered people are an underserved population.
Her mission statement is published on her website and reveals her concern for transgender people and her desire to provide educational resources for cisgender people who are curious as it encourages tolerance.
Because this is a semester long project, a total of seven episodes, running about 30 – 50 minutes each, will be produced and shared.
“On the podcast we tackle everything from the very basics of what it means to be transgender to more difficult and sensitive topics, such as suicide, homelessness, legal issues, and familial rejection. If someone you love is transgender, we encourage you to listen to the podcast and check out the charities/resources tab,” she said.
For more information on the podcast or her website visit sites.google.com/view/whyshouldicarepodcast/home.
WLU’s College of Sciences offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and for more information, please visit westliberty.edu/health-sciences/academics/psychology.