During the Spring 2020 semester, Psychology Junior Angel Longus applied for the highly competitive summer research program offered by the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program of the National Science Foundation. Angel was selected to intern at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) together with five other undergraduate students. Because of COVID-19, Angel completed the program remotely. Below is an interview that we had with Angel.
What projects did you work on during this program?
I was involved in multiple projects, such as Talking College and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP). I also conducted my own research project. I worked with graduate student DeAndre Miles-Hercules from the Department of Linguistics at UCSB.
That sounds fascinating! Could you tell me more about your research project?
Titled “Searching the Silences: Black Discourse on Mental Health," my project aims to examine the Black community's tendency to dismiss or minimize issues related to mental illnesses. I interviewed several family members and friends, and then analyzed their interviews to explore the major themes. This project was especially important because the Black community is at a greater risk of mental health concerns. Oftentimes, this goes back to the lack of access to mental health care, prejudice and racism inherent in the daily lives of Black individuals, and the historical trauma enacted on the Black community by the medical field. I presented the results of my project at the Annual Advancing African American Linguistics Symposium. This symposium hosted webinars on the professional experiences of African American linguists including publication, tenure, promotion, and strengthening the network of scholars who study African American language, literacy, and culture.
Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment! Could you tell me about the SLP project you mentioned earlier?
Sure! For this project, I was responsible for interviewing several speech-language pathologists to see how race has played a part in their careers. I analyzed the data and presented my work titled "Understanding the Experiences of Black Speech-Language Pathologists Across the Professional Trajectory" at the same Symposium.
Do you have any suggestions for students who are interested in applying to this research program?
I would say check out UCSB HBCU program. I have learned so much during this summer and would highly recommend students to check this website out. I am also sure that there will be similar programs offered in the future so always keep an eye out!