Brianna Chance ’23 (SFA) says the philosophy of “try every- thing” is what led her to rewarding research experiences during her first year at UConn. The music education and vocal performance major from New Haven, Connecticut, joined La Comunidad Intelectual, a Latinx living and learning community, where she says she and her peers quickly recognized there were relatively few Latinx people working in higher education.
So she joined communication professor Diana Rios in collecting testimonials and data about Latinx students’ experience here. Last February, the two presented their findings at the annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy.
“It was so gratifying,” says Chance. “For me it was almost a form of activism and education.”
The experience also showed her that this kind of work is not only for those in STEM fields. “I thought research had to be done in a white lab coat over a microscope,” Chance says. “I didn’t realize research could be going out and gathering people’s stories.”
Chance hopes to apply her newfound data-collection skills next to questions that may have been overlooked surrounding students of color in the arts. “I really want to connect what it means to be a student of color and be pursuing the arts and not be tokenized.”
Chance plans to be a music educator and credits the music educators in her life with helping her through difficult situations. “They were the people I could rely on,” she says. “So, I said I needed to do this because it saved me as a kid. It’s a tribute to myself and the people who helped uplift me.”
She encourages students interested in conducting research to reach out to professors conducting work they care about, even if it is outside their major, as it was for Chance.
“Being at a research university, the possibilities are endless,” she says.
By Anna Zarra Aldrich ’20 (CLAS)
Photo By Peter Morenus