SAFE Student Spotlight: Skyler Prowten '23

Skyler Prowten '23, M.A. Experimental Psychology
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Fall 2022

Project: "Impact of Instagram’s Body Positive vs. Muscular Ideal Images on Men’s Body Image"

Prowten received a Fall 2022 Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund grant to support data collection for her master's thesis titled “Impact of Instagram’s Body Positive vs. Muscular Ideal Images on Men’s Body Image.” With the grant funding, Prowten was able to provide incentives to study participants.

"The money from the SAFE grant allowed me to fund my thesis experimental study. Without the SAFE grant, I would have either had to pay out of pocket or keep applying to grants which would have caused me to graduate late," shared Prowten, who graduated with her master's degree in experimental psychology in Spring 2023 and was inducted into the Cratis D. Williams Society.

Prowten's thesis explored how images on social media applications like Instagram impact body dissatisfaction, state negative mood, and state self-objectification in a sample of men. She found that men who looked at body positive images reported lower body dissatisfaction relative to those who viewed idealized images, mirroring findings from similar studies featuring women. Prowten's study, which was submitted to the Journal of New Media and Society, was advised by Dr. Doris Bazzini, professor in the App State Department of Psychology.


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at

About the Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology
Appalachian State University’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology serves more than 1,400 undergraduate majors seeking the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as 90 graduate students across four graduate programs: experimental psychology (MA), industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management (MA), school psychology (MA/SSP) and clinical psychology (PsyD). Learn more at

Written by Madison Breedlove
Edited by Lauren Andersen

November 7, 2023

Skyler Prowten '23
Published: Nov 7, 2023 9:25am