Student Spotlight – Charlie Scott

scott-headshot-copyName: Charlie Scott

Year: 2017

Concentration: Sociology and Ethnic Studies

Charlie has done research through the Sociology department and the Royce Fellowship. Read on to hear about Charlie’s experiences with archival research on the path to graduate school.


 

What kind of research experiences, internships, or fellowships have you been involved with during college?

During my first year I was involved with a research project lead by a professor in the Sociology Department, and this past summer (2016), I had the wonderful privilege of receiving the Royce Fellowship, which allowed me to stay on my reservation, the Navajo Nation, for a summer and conduct archival research.

How have these experiences shaped your goals and plans for the future?

As I am applying for graduate school, I wrote that “my primary goals are encouraging the educational system to be accessible to Indigenous scholars and to be inclusive to their knowledges and traditions.” My research experiences, especially the one funded by the Royce Fellowship, showed me what a limiting view the West has had of my own indigenous communities’ knowledges and traditions. The archival research I was doing was often violent because it was my own ancestral knowledge that was being examined and disregarded. Yet, being involved in a research project of my own creation allowed me to realize how much I still enjoyed learning and how much I enjoyed challenging age old assumptions that continue to this day, especially when I am centering indigenous knowledges and understandings.

What was your favorite part of or an interesting story about a research experience, internship, or fellowship you participated in? scott-supplement

I think my favorite part of my project was being able to go to Washington, D.C. and visit the Library of Congress. My reservation had the knowledges and traditions, but they didn’t have the archives of photographs that I was seeking for my project. I remember going into the photography archive at the Library of Congress and I was looking at a photograph, taken by Edward Curtis, of whom I am assuming is a Diné (Navajo) women weaving on a loom that was in front of a tree. The loom was made of branches and rocks. It must have been tied together with rope. I remember this photograph because I was amazed at the resourcefulness of the structure of the loom. My mother weaves and she was taught by my great-grandmother on my father’s side, and so I grew up with a modern structure of a loom in my household made of wood and nails. Replaced by a loom of metal and bolts. For a brief moment, as I was reaching to a past through the photograph, the photograph was reaching out to me.

Do you have any advice for students looking to potentially pursue opportunities similar to what you’ve pursued?

I think the advice I can provide for folks who are interested in research is to ensure that the research that you’re involved with or are interested in is one that you enjoy engaging with. If anything, my Royce Fellowhsip research experience reminded me of a value my mother instilled within me; na’nitin jidindzin – the enthusiasm for learning. My research project, and now my thesis project, is embedded with my own enthusiasm and passion because I love what I am writing about. It makes the process of thesis writing much more bearable, yet exciting at the same time. Enjoying research and actually liking the research, makes the research much more profound and invigorating.

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Student Spotlight – Nikki Lee

probably-already-saved-thisName: Nikki Lee

Year: 2018

Concentration: Sociology and Ethnic Studies

Nikki has interned with the Childhood Lead Action Project and is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Read on to hear about Nikki’s experiences as a researcher on the path to academia.


 

What kind of research experiences, internships, or fellowships have you been involved with during college?

Freshman summer, I interned with the Childhood Lead Action Project, centered in Providence. Not only did I learn a lot about non-profits, public health, and the intersections of race, class, and space, but I was also partially funded through the Swearer Center‘s Off Campus Work Study Program, which gave me a livable wage for the summer. Sophomore year, I received the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which is allowing me to work on and produce a thesis my senior year, with the goal of eventually attending graduate school and entering the professoriate.

 

How have these experiences shaped your goals and plans for the future?

In regards to my freshman year internship, I became very interested in how policy (especially health policies) and activism are intertwined, which then helped me formulate my research topics later sophomore year. Since becoming involved with Mellon Mays, I have really become interested in pursuing grad school and producing more research. Ideally, I’d love to end up in academia, but that’s a long while away. 

class-of-2018-photo-2-1-ursa-feature-image

Mellon Mays Class of 2018

What was your favorite part of or an interesting story about a research experience, internship, or fellowship you participated in? 

Mellon Mays provides an incredibly supportive space for research to blossom and grow. I recently went to the Northeast Mellon Mays Conference and listened to several folks discuss their research, as well as discussing my research. It was amazing to see the types of research Mellon Fellows are producing across the country, and it was so affirming to hear people’s comments on my own ideas for research.

Do you have any advice for students looking to potentially pursue opportunities similar to what you’ve pursued?

Talk to your professors and advisors! And if your advisors aren’t willing to listen to you ramble about your aspirations/ideas, look for adults who will listen (and try to get a new advisor!). And if you see folks at Brown doing cool stuff, try to ask them about it. For me, two of my rugby teammates were Mellon Mays Fellows before me, so I learned about the opportunity from them. I then spoke to a couple of professors about my ideas and then decided to apply (also with a lot of help from upperclassmen and professors). I asked for help every step of the way. I guess the gist of it really is, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, because there are so many people at Brown who want to see you succeed, whatever that looks like for you. A lot of us at Brown are used to being independent, but learning to ask for help and ask questions has helped me so much here at Brown, especially in terms of fellowships and such.