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Graduate Student Profile: Christopher "CJ" Calabrese, Communication

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Sunday, January 13, 2019 (All day)

Meet UC Davis Graduate Student Christopher "CJ" Calabrese

  • Department
  • Program and year of studyCJ Calabrese
    Ph.D., 1st year 
  • Previous degrees and colleges
    MPH, General Public Health, UC Davis
    BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UC Davis
  • Where did you grow up?
    Rocklin, CA
  • Where do you live now?
    Davis, CA
  • What's your favorite spot in Davis?
    Any coffee shop where I can grab an iced coffee
  • How do you relax?
    Catch up with close friends, grab a delicious meal, or explore new places
  • What was the last book you read for pleasure?
    It’s been a while. 
  • What TV show are you currently binge-watching?
    When I’m watching TV, it’s usually something I like to have in the background while doing other things. I’ll usually have a weekly Korean music show or some reality show on.
  • Research interests
    I am primarily interested in health and science communication, and how we can influence people’s behaviors to improve their overall health and wellness. My current research focuses on aspects of health promotion, social and communication networks, and persuasive technologies)
  • Dissertation title or topic
    I’m still a first-year, so I have not committed to a specific topic. However, I would be interested in a dissertation generally related to how social networks influence health
  • Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research
    We found that using virality metrics—a visual cue of the number of likes or shares that accompany social media posts—in an HIV prevention campaign actually decreases people’s intentions to perform preventative behaviors. One would reasonably believe that this cue would increase people’s intentions, but we find a boomerang effect of virality metrics when looking at stigmatized health behaviors.
  • Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?
    Dr. Robert Bell was a great advisor when I was an MPH student, and encouraged me to apply to the PhD program in communication.
  • Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?
    Dr. Damon Centola’s “Complex Contagions and the Weakness of Long Ties,” where he distinguished how information and diseases are spread through simple contagion, and behaviors are spread through complex contagion. 
  • What's the best thing about being a grad student?
    I love the fact that we have the opportunity to explore our research interests, and collaborate and learn from our amazing faculty.  
  • What's the worst?
    Time management. I am definitely still working on trying to schedule and balance my time effectively.
  • If you weren't a grad student, what would you be doing?
    In another life, I would be some type of performer or a TV host. Realistically, I’d probably be enjoying a career as a health educator.
  • Finally, please ask yourself a question - "What advice do you have for new graduate students?"
    Take advantage of the many opportunities and resources at UC Davis to explore your research interests. UC Davis fosters a very collaborative environment for research, even between different departments. Don’t overburden yourself, but there are definitely interesting opportunities if you actively search for them.

Graduate student profile courtesy of the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.