Monday, January 6, 2020

URSP Student Cole Price Studies the Experiences of Sexual Minorities in Social Fraternities

This semester I conducted a USRP project studying the experiences of sexual minorities in social fraternities, specifically how they navigate their identities and self-presentations in a traditionally heterosexual environment. As a junior majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Psychology, I have always been interested in the intersections between inequality, social environment and mental processes. I hope to continue my work shining light on underrepresented and under-researched populations, such as gay and bisexual men in fraternities, throughout my undergraduate and graduate careers. The majority of this past semester was spent recruiting subjects for the study and collecting data in the form of roughly hour-long interviews. Participants were found through word of mouth and advertisements I put up around campus, and after contact, we would set up a time to meet at Fenwick for a sit down. I learned a lot doing this kind of qualitative research, and I feel my interviewing skills have improved exponentially since my first interview. I also learned a lot from the men I talked to; their interests, goals, the bonds they share with their brothers, and their experiences as sexual minorities at George Mason University, just to start.

After completing around seven interviews, they were transcribed, and I began coding them, looking for examples of themes I have derived from literature related to the subject, as well as new patterns I have seen emerge in my conversations. This process has given me the opportunity to engage with previous works written on Greek life and the fraternity system, sexual orientation, and social psychology at a depth I never had the chance to before in my classes.