’19
Cory
Midlothian, VA
Rhetoric and Gender Studies

Interests

Saturday Night Live, Existentialism, Political theory, McSweeney's, Beyonce, & The New Yorker

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6 Things I learned as a Summer Research Fellow

September 7, 2017

At University of Richmond, summer is your time to shine. You could shine quite literally, in the warm sunlight of Richmond (sweat makes a great replacement for highlighter), or you could also utilize University of Richmond resources and land yourself in an internship or research position. Over the summer, I was a research fellow for a University of Richmond archival project, which was basically a highlight of my life. If you’re curious about the fellowship opportunities UR has to offer, here’s a few outtakes from my summer.

1. Identifying your options

For some students, the search for a summer opportunity might naturally begin at Career Services. Career Services is LIT. Located centrally in the Commons, Career Services has resources for you! As their website says, “we provide students with a comprehensive approach to career development by facilitating their education, preparation, and connection to alumni and employers, all of which empowers them to achieve their professional goals.”

For me, in the springtime, I received an email from two of my professors, asking me if I would be interested in applying to a research fellowship in the summer. The fellowship was part of the Race and Racism project at University of Richmond, so there was the opportunity to sustain my research in the future. And it was in Richmond (aka home-adjacent-sweet-home). This was right up my alley! I think it’s a good idea to make connections with faculty or staff that know your academic interests and can help match them to a summer opportunity. Make those connections!

2. Richmond Guarantee

So you’ve probably heard this by now, but Richmond students are eligible for what’s known as the “Richmond Guarantee” aka a fellowship of up to $4,000 for a summer internship or research project. What’s the nitty gritty of this? Internships aren’t assigned to students or automatically granted — everyone has to go through a competitive application process for internships or fellowships. 

If you’ve been accepted into a fellowship, you’ll complete paperwork and attend an orientation. At the beginning of the summer, students are required to fill out a form describing expectations for your fellowship. At the end of the summer, as things wrap up, you’ll revisit your initial planning form and work on an evaluation to make sure that you got the most of your summer. I loved this opportunity to reflect on my original goals — it was kind of like opening up a personal time capsule.

3. Mentorship and Partnership

This section really stands out to me. I loved the opportunity to work directly with a faculty mentor over the summer. My mentor pushed me to make the most out of the research fellowship, make new discoveries, and helped me navigate questions that cropped up over the summer. I loved developing this relationship, digging deeper into what my research really meant, and receiving advice on career related goals.

Partnership is also important. Finding friends and peer mentors within your research project is such an enriching experience. I worked with fellow Spider Diarist Hunter Moyler during the summer, and learned so much from his perspective. He helped me evaluate my writing, went on museum tours with me, we practiced presentations together, and he even helped me find a parking spot in a crowded parking garage. If you're reading this Hunter, you're the best.

hunter

With my pal Hunter at our final presentation

Kind of redundant at this point, but make those connections! The Richmond faculty is truly the best, and everyone I’ve met has been so willing to meet me where I’m at and help me succeed.

4. Call numbers in the library

I stayed in Richmond over the summer (off campus), and as a research fellow in the humanities, I spent a lot of my time in the library. Also known as my favorite place on campus. But if you’ve been keeping up with my posts (like I keep up with the Kardashians), you already know about my obsession with the library!

Until this summer, I was kind of inept at finding books in the library. Call numbers have been a little bit of a mystery to me, and spending so much time in the library forced me to get to know the system. I was so proud when I found my first book without a librarian’s help (I know, it’s the little things). You can read a little bit more about that experience here!

Bottom line, I didn’t realize what an amazing resource the library was until I had to dive into it this summer. University of Richmond has such deep book and journal collections, and I quickly learned that the library was so much more than a study space. Promote the library from friend status to best friend.

5. Exploring

No matter where you are for your summer of research/your internship, you’ll have the chance to explore. For me, this was exploring wonderful Richmond. I had the chance to explore several different museums — I saw a whole new side of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) when I became a student member. Just a quick plug, student membership is $10 and you get free parking, free exhibition admission, and a lot of other exciting things.

Yves St Laurent

A photo from the iconic Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at the VMFA

I also visited the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, which is actually located on the University of Richmond campus and houses the University archives. It’s an incredible space, and I learned so much about the University history. No spoilers, you should check it out if you come to Richmond.

There was even a chance for me to visit the American Civil War museum in downtown Richmond, housed in the “White House of the Confederacy.” This was a fascinating opportunity to learn more about Richmond’s time during the Civil War, and poke through history of a semi-forgotten era from semi-forgotten perspectives.

6. Having fun

So I realize I named this post “6 things I learned” and I didn’t exactly learn to have fun this summer, per se, but I did learn about balancing work with some fun opportunities and great places I found in Richmond.

I learned that the Byrd Theatre in Carytown still has $4 movie tickets. Amazing. Discovered that Galaxy Diner has the best milkshakes in town. Delicious. And I found a place in Church Hill with $6 falafel. Hit me up if you come to Richmond and I’ll show you where it is. It’s kind of a secret, I’ve decided. There are also great concerts in Richmond. Crying while listening to one of your favorite bands is the perfect way to wrap up the summer.

bleachers

Highlight of the summer: seeing The Bleachers perform live at The National

Hanging out in Richmond, building connections and learning new skills, and getting to know the city better were the highlights of my summer. And I headed into the dog days of August before classes started with one big takeaway: Richmond is a great place to be. 

-Cory, ‘19

Hey Spiders! My name is Cory, and I’m a sophomore and transfer student. I’m a double major in Rhetoric and Communication and Women, Gender, and Sexuaity Studies. My goal in life is to one day work at Olivia Pope & Associates, or at least work in crisis management or public relations. I grew up between Florida, Colorado, and Virginia, and similar to Cady Heron in Mean Girls, I was homeschooled. I love traveling, shopping at Target, spending time with my cat (named Soren Kittegaard), attempting to keep up with the Kardashians, reading Albert Camus, and hanging out with friends. Keep an eye out for some posts specifically about the transfer life! Sneak peek: so far it’s been fantastic.


Why UR?

I didn’t really get connected to University of Richmond until I was a freshman in college. I met some amazing alumni and visited the campus and honestly fell in love with everything about Richmond. Michael Scott once said in The Office, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take - Wayne Gretzky,” and I knew that I had to take a shot and apply as a transfer student. I’m thrilled to be a Spider, to be at a university that feels like home, and to conquer my arachnophobia for once and for all.