I am a rising senior in the Elon College Fellows program, and I am pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in English with a concentration in literature and a minor in theatre arts. The Elon College Fellows program has given me many wonderful opportunities that I never would have been able to take advantage of otherwise.
Because of the generous study abroad stipend awarded to Fellows, I was able to participate in an ethnographic photography course in London during the month of January 2010. This program was an incredible experience for me because I was forced to go beyond my ethnocentric comfort-zone and make connections with people from a variety of cultures and lifestyles. Additionally, the course prompted me to participate in a blog in which I and several of the women I met continue to get to know each other; we write essays and stories, ask each other questions, have cross-cultural discussions and foster long-term friendships that bridge cultural barriers.
The Elon College Fellows program also encouraged me to pursue my own independent research project, which I never would have thought possible for myself without the support of the Fellows directors and professors. I am conducting an original comparative study between the writings of Victorian women’s magazines and 1890s feminist author George Egerton (pseudonym for Mary Chavelita Dunne) under the guidance of Professor Janet Myers. I have fallen in love with my project because it has allowed me the time and resources to contribute significantly to an area of study that I find fascinating. I consider my research to be the pinnacle of my college career because it has pushed me to excel and taught me invaluable lessons about self-discipline, determination, collaboration, adaptability, and hard work. I have presented my research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Elon’s Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) and I plan to publish my work after its completion in December 2010.
I think the most lasting benefit of participating in the Elon College Fellows program is that it has introduced me to the incredible world of academic scholarship. Because of the Fellows program, I have developed a support system of brilliant professors and talented students who have inspired me to pursue scholarly work for the rest of my life. After graduation, I plan to pursue my academic interests by being a technical writer with a leading software development company. A few years after that, I plan to obtain my Ph.D. and thus expand my academic expertise and share my enthusiasm for scholarship with others.