Danielle Zahn ’19 holds Chapman women’s lacrosse records for points in a single game, goals in a single game and career ground balls. Now, the former Academic All-American spends her time as a research assistant right here at Chapman University, studying the effects of COVID-19 in real-time as the pandemic continues to unfold.

A Psychology major who graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Danielle is currently working with her faculty mentor, Dr. Julia Boehm, as well as Dr. Gruenewald, the Psychology Department Chair on a couple of different research projects. Danielle and Dr. Gruenewald’s current research surrounding COVID-19 surveys a sample of 2,000 adults every eight weeks over the course of four months, attempting to understand the effects of prosociality (behaviors and intentions directed towards the assistance and benefit of others) during the pandemic on people’s mental, social and physical well-being. In other words, how doing good deeds and putting others first is effecting people’s mental, social and physical well-being.

Danielle’s research has found that even during these challenging times, there are many notable instances of individuals and institutions lending assistance, contributing time, money, support and goods, and expressing care and concern for others – all considered prosocial behaviors.

Danielle explains how this research is unique and has the likelihood to make an impact. “This research has the potential to significantly impact the community as it is the first of its kind to test the role of prosocial orientations and behaviors in predicting psychological, social, and physical well-being over the early stages of a viral pandemic in the United States. This is key for understanding the importance of prosocial orientations for enhancing individual and social well-being in pandemic and related threats.”