I decided to join a summer research project because I knew how much it would benefit my future. I hope to one day become a college professor with heavy focuses on research and writing. Being part of a summer project was an easy, and highly beneficial, way to know if this career path suited me, and I am happy to announce that it did. I worked entirely virtual this summer in my research project, which completely changed my view on what my work could be and mean. I was able to take my research with me to amazing places, such as Acadia National Park, Myrtle Beach, my home in Ohio, and so much more. My summer would have looked so different had I not been able to work virtually, and I am so thankful that I was able to work remotely rather than being stationary in Virginia.
My original plan for my summer research was to cover on-campus living conditions during the pandemic, but then shifted to issues of housing instability in college student populations. I ended up on a project researching the massive gender difference in who is participating in OSCAR research projects. To briefly wrap up a summer’s worth of work in barely a sentence; roughly 7/10 of researchers in OSCAR over the past 10 years have been women, but George Mason is divided almost 50/50 in terms of gender. This tells us that something is drawing drastically more women to research programs, and we wanted to find out why. It turned out that other universities saw a similar trend in their participation rates as well.
My next steps are to return to campus in the fall as a junior, where I am majoring in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Women and Gender studies. I will be working on campus as a MASI peer mentor and as a research assistant mapping the 1926 Religious Bodies Census. I hope to find myself involved with more research projects and gain even more experience in my field. Following graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in Colorado, where I have already started looking at programs with a masters in Women’s History. I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity and hope to work with OSCAR in future projects.