Christy Weaver
Communication Studies student Christy Weaver presented her paper on Death with Dignity at a national conference.
courtesy of Christy Weaver.

Communication Studies student Christy Weaver presented her paper on Death with Dignity at a national conference. Photo courtesy of Christy Weaver. Communication Studies student Christy Weaver presented her paper on Death with Dignity at a national conference. Photo courtesy of Christy Weaver.

This past weekend, Communication Studies student Christy Weaver traveled to the Midwest where she attended the Central States Communication Association conference, an opportunity no Temple student has had before.

Weaver attended this conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to present a paper she had written for a Rhetoric of Social Movements class at Temple last semester, "Death with Dignity".

"We just each had to pick a social movement and say how it used language to persuade people," Weaver said.

She had chosen to explore the Death with Dignity social movement since she had already done some research on the topic in high school.

"I think it's very interesting that there's such a big pool for people to want to choose to die, if they're already terminally ill and suffering," Weaver said.

Her paper explored the history of the Death with Dignity movement, which dated back to before the Renaissance time period, Weaver explained. She also presented some relevant organizations that are on the forefront of the movement and what they are doing to help change the face of euthanasia.

"Then it [the paper] goes into the labeling strategies that the movement has used to try to use language to make the conversation less about God and religion and move it to more about the individual person and how much they're suffering," Weaver said. The paper, she said, is an attempt to try and change the language of euthanasia.

Weaver explored the changing the language of euthanasia using two case studies, one of Terri Schiavo, a woman who was in vegetative state for 15 years, as well as the case of Brittany Maynard, a woman with terminal brain cancer who chose to take her own life in Oregon, where Death with Dignity is legal.

Weaver's Rhetoric of Social Movements professor, Abbe Depretis, encouraged Weaver to submit her paper to different conferences.

"Her paper is timely and important and encourages a nuanced understanding of the Death with Dignity movement in the U.S.," she said.

"She [Depretis] wanted me to submit to the eastern [conference], but then I didn't like that date, so I submitted to the central [conference]," Weaver said.

Weaver participated in the honors undergraduate research panel, which consisted of Weaver and a group of other undergraduates. Weaver is the only undergraduate from Temple to attend this conference and participate in this panel.

When Weaver found out she had been chosen to attend the conference, she was concerned about funding her trip to Michigan, but SMC helped her fund it.

On top of being an SMC student, Weaver is also minoring in history.

Depretis said Weaver is a talented student. "Christy is a dedicated student. She has a natural talent for writing, and she combines that with strong attention to detail," she said.

 

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