The title of my project is The Black Student Community, the National Pan Hellenic Council, and the Role that Knowledge of Family History Plays. I am doing a comparative study on the amount of knowledge students who are members of the National Pan Hellenic Council (NPHC) have of their family history compared to that of students who are members of the Black student community here at Mason. I am also looking into how family is defined by these two groups and the role that it plays in their lives. During my time here at Mason I have had the opportunity to study cultural anthropology and take classes on ethnography and African and African American Studies. Through these classes I have gained a particular interest in studying African American and Black families from an anthropological perspective. Due to the unique and diverse history of African American and Black families in the United States, I find tracking the family history of this group to be fascinating, so when the opportunity to apply for URSP came around I was really excited to employ what I have been learning in class towards a topic that I am very interested in.
After graduation I will be continuing in the Accelerated Masters Program studying anthropology, and I plan to go on to work as an applied anthropologist. The research that I am doing now has helped me narrow down what I plan to study in graduate school. I am passionate about the importance of this topic and I feel that studying it from an anthropological perspective will contribute valuable insights not only to anthropology, but also to universities and the study of Black and African American culture as a whole.
Juggling being in the Accelerated Masters Program, on the Women’s Soccer team, working in the CSSR survey lab, and working on my project this semester has not been an easy task. Time management has been difficult but I am learning it is one of the most important skills I need. I am currently finishing up conducting interviews with students, and with in the next few weeks I will be analyzing my data and compiling it for our final presentations. This week in particular I learned to always have a backup option incase your voice recorder stops working in the middle of an interview. The guidance of my mentor Dr. Hughes Rinker has helped a lot through the process, and discussing my topic with other professors has also given me valuable insights. Every step of my project has taught me something new and I am excited to begin analyzing my data and seeing what the outcome will be.