• February 26th, 2021

On Jan.4, the Honors College’s instagram account received a message a bit out of the ordinary.

Ben Rogers
Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers, one of the Honors College’s most recent alums, reached out to share his newest passion project– @why.vaccinate.

So what inspired Ben to start this page?

After graduating in the spring of 2020, he began a gap-year working as a scholar with Church Health in Memphis, Tennessee. Through working in healthcare, Ben was eligible to receive a vaccination against COVID-19.  But… something began to worry Ben.

Misinformation was spreading along with the virus. He says, “it would just get circulated and circulated and circulated; So, I wanted to find a way to use my voice and my [need to read] everything that came out of The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine [in reference to] these different vaccines. The goal of the page is to make digestible information out of these big stories.”

Even though Ben keeps a vigilant eye toward the news and a public Google Drive of resources linked on his page– he doesn’t expect everyone to be as impassioned. “You don’t have to be a vaccine warrior,” he laughs,” just say ‘Hey, this is an interesting article that I found you should look it up!'”

And Ben’s not setting out to become an Instagram influencer. In fact, the platform has made major strides to label any COVID-19 information as well as being vigilant about the spread of falsities. The following of the page is growing slowly but surely as he curates contents around submitted questions, vaccination testimonials and a digest of vaccination news.

We also asked Ben a few questions about his time here in Honors.

What is your favorite moment from your time in Honors? 

I was an ‘Honors nerd’ so it’s not like I’ve just got too many to choose from– they’re all wonderful so whichever one I pick I don’t want the other ones to feel bad.

I would say the last day of Alabama Action my my senior year would be by far the best thing that I’ve ever done. That was the culmination of everything and it was bittersweet. I was able to introduce freshmen to the community and just see them grow just in that week. I don’t want to say that someone grew exponentially in five days but, I got to see who they were a little bit more. I got really excited about what the future of the Honors College looked like.

Do you have any words of advice for current Honors students?

Do anything that sounds at all remotely interesting to you. I did a lot of random things at the Honors College that have suited me well. The only reason I know how to use Adobe Spark is because of Kayla Warner and she taught me everything that I know and that is how @why.vaccine got all of its infographics. Just throw yourself into whatever the Honors College offers you.

The Honors College offers you those opportunities to differentiate yourself and better yourself outside of the classroom and I think it’s kind of a a mistake not to capitalize on that. That’s really what’s I think bettered me for med school and for being a doctor.

Ben will be attending The University of Alabama at Birmingham for medical school.

You can visit @why.vaccinate on Instagram.

If you would like more information about COVID-19 and vaccinations, visit the Center for Disease Control.

Learn more about The University’s COVID-19 efforts at healthinfo.ua.edu.