The Elon College Fellows program has been an integral part of my undergraduate experience and success in research. As a freshman, I lived in the living learning community for Elon College Fellows and quickly found a group of tight knit friends who shared the same curiosity and love of learning that I had. We supported, encouraged and helped each other have fun. There is nothing better than a good laugh when finals are looming!
Academically, College Fellow classes take the time to teach students how to navigate literature, find holes in existing research, and develop questions that are both interesting and possible to answer through studies. These foundational skills allow Fellows to jump into research with a professor, no matter the field, and not feel completely overwhelmed at the process.
It was these experiences and lessons that I utilized when applying to, and winning, the Lumen Prize - a scholarship awarded by Elon to support undergraduate research. I am currently studying the differences and similarities that appear between stories in and the home and classroom, as well as how to bridge these two contexts at a local Head Start program. With the guidance of my mentor, I have developed and implemented a project that I love. The scale and extent to which I have worked on this research would not have been possible without the support of the Elon College Fellows program. In addition, I was accepted into the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, which has provided time to continue working on the coding and analysis of data without having to juggle several other classes and academic responsibilities. Eventually, I will be writing a paper and presenting my findings at conferences during the upcoming year.
As a rising senior, I am looking forward to the final year and what I hope will come after. I am currently applying to medical school, with an interest in one day practicing psychiatry. Though not directly related to my current research, the skills required to develop a question, design a study, and build community relationships with schools, parents and children to achieve my research goals will be valuable no matter the path. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the Elon College Fellows program community during my time at Elon.