I Won Sharing the Happiness Index!

This month I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the national conference of Graduate Women in Science to present the poster I had submitted, What the Happiness Index Can Tell Us About Youth Happiness and Wellbeing, at Communicating Science to Connect, Lead, and Empower, the Annual Conference of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS), Rapid City, South Dakota. 

I was an at-large delegate to the national organization as a volunteer on the membership committee representing international concerns, and the recently elected US president of the international chapter of GWIS. First, it was amazing being surrounded by so many women with similarly sharp minds eager to learn and share scientific knowledge, research, and their hopes and dreams for making the world a better place with their work.

The founding president of the South Dakota chapter was one of the speakers. While she is no longer the president, she has gone on to become a Senator for the state of South Dakota. It was awe-inspiring to see how participating in leadership in helping one cause (women in STEM careers) was part of her personal journey on towards being a force for change in her state. 

When I looked at my fellow poster submitters, I was impressed. Other presenters included projects relating to stem cell research and biological projects, as just a few examples. I was told there was going to be a poster competition, but looking at those other examples, I was sure I would not be competitive, because the other posters were so cool. 

Imagine my surprise when, after leaving the conference early due to an oncoming sinus infection after completing my poster presentation, I received a text telling me I had actually won the poster competition! I was completely blown away!

After some reflection, still not sure why I won, my best guess is that, in how I explained the work I had done, but also how I hope the work can help the organization and influence more work, perhaps I did a better job at explaining the future use and benefits of my work? In summary, I hope that in encouraging the Happiness Alliance to consider different ways of gathering data, I have helped the Happiness Alliance gather data at a more granular level going forward. This will allow me and other future researchers for the Happiness Alliance to continue to further the use and influence of the Happiness Index through peer publications. I also hope that by presenting this poster, especially to a room of scientists who often are not thinking about the psychological side of science, I have inspired them to consider, and perhaps share, the Happiness Index, in their own spheres of influence, down the road.


Edwards, A. V. (June, 2019). What the Happiness Index Can Tell Us About Youth Happiness and Wellbeing. Poster presented at Communicating Science to Connect, Lead, and Empower, the Annual Conference of Graduate Women in Science, Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. Click here for Research Gate Link and Downloadable Poster

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