ScreenFest Coming Near You (hopefully)

Student Design Lab Collective

Our easy-to-navigate website raises teenage awareness about skin cancer by focusing on risk factors, prevention, and screening.

Yippity doo! The school year just flew by like a kangaroo, so let’s take a trip to the past crew. Apart from participating in AP Seminar, we were introduced to Student Design Lab. Student Design Lab or SDL is a course focused on learning the process and using creative thinking to solve large problems. The course did just that. It was challenging and allowed us to problem solve creatively while conducting and carrying out research and statistics. We got the chance to partner with Fox Chase Cancer Center and they provided us with our BIG CHALLENGE — to create a marketing campaign to get teens to care more about the issue of skin cancer, either by becoming more knowledgable, knowing how to self-screen, or being more cautious of sun safety.

In the beginning, we were given the opportunity to make a marketing campaign for skin cancer risk factors, prevention, or screening. We were lucky enough to be visited by Ben P, who was a marketing expert, to assist us and give us knowledge about how to create a marketing campaign directed towards teenagers. We learned about different marketing strategies like how to use user personas. User personas are when marketing teams will create fictional people with different wants and needs in order to show why their product or idea is marketable. We even got to create some of our own fun user personas with Ben’s help. They’re so important because we learned that specific audiences, like teenagers, can be hard to target with something as big as our skin cancer awareness campaign.

Then, we moved on to find out what the problem exactly is. We created surveys with the purpose of trying to figure out what area of skin cancer teenagers lack knowledge in and what some unhealthy sun/outdoor habits teens tend to take part in, which have been shown to correlate with skin cancer. Before sending our surveys out, we again met up with Ben P. to get professional feedback regarding our surveys. We had tons of productive feedback and were ecstatic to send our surveys out through our personal social media to our school and other local schools. Our class shared three surveys (one from each group). We felt proud because the most a survey got was 209 respondents! Following that, we started to notice holes in our surveys. We knew it was time to create a new and more effective survey based on what we learned from the original survey. Unfortunately, in the second round of surveys, we felt discouraged as we didn’t get as many responses due to the confusion amongst our school peers about taking a second survey.

We learned so much from these surveys! For starters, we learned that teenagers understand the risks of skin cancer and how to prevent it by wearing sunscreen and taking other measures yet they continue to intentionally tan and not wear sunscreen. This is because being tan is a social norm our society intakes and praises. We learned that teens simply do not care because they feel as if skin cancer will not affect them in the future. Additionally, we learned that there was a lack of knowledge regarding skin cancer screening. Teenagers know very little about the importance and the process of skin cancer screening and self-screenings or where to go to get professionally screened.

So, we came to the conclusion that since teenagers understand the risk factors and how to prevent skin cancer yet continue to carelessly tan and not actively protect themselves, we need to focus on educating them on skin cancer screening. That way, teens will continue their skin cancer-prone habits. In the meantime, teens will be educated on how to self-screen, or go and get screened which in the long run will help them because the earlier they notice an unusual mole or abnormality, the easier the cancer is to catch, cure, and prevent from spreading.

So we knew exactly what we wanted to target, but how are we as teenagers expected to find a solution on how to implement what we learned into a solution that Fox Chase Cancer Center will like? We felt lost. We wanted to originally create a video educating teens on how to self-screen themselves. But, we knew that a basic video would most likely be very ineffective.

After a week of brainstorming and sharing ideas with peers, we finally came across the idea of a film festival. How did we know a video contest is going to be effective? Every year, our school William Tennent has a film contest containing driving PSAs. Students make videos teaching others students different topics related to safe driving like the importance of seat belts or the dangers of texting and driving. The competition is county-wide and effective at making students aware of the risks of reckless driving. This contest offers a fun way to educate students about safe driving and we figured something similar to this could be effective. Just a simple video like this but skin cancer-related could be an effective way at educating teens and raising awareness. Teens would want to participate in something like this for many reasons. After talking to one of our film class teachers from here at Tennent, Mrs. McCaffery, she observed that teens participate in this PSA contest simply for the sense of competition and the feeling of raising awareness of an important topic while being creative.

So, we loved this idea and were so thrilled to present it to Fox Chase, but first, we had to think of a name, make a website, a pitch, and think through every single detail of the contest. We decided to name it ScreenFest to incorporate screening and film festivals into the name! We made the website very simple to navigate.

With feedback, we learned that we should include all three categories: risk factors, prevention, and screening, as more teens would participate in it. We decided to keep the name, as it was catchy and easy to remember. We had a short timespan and had to finalize the website, as well as make a slideshow and pitch our solution. After many long nights, finally came the day where we presented to Fox Chase Cancer Center and we couldn’t have been more prepared!