Meet Elisa Shaholli ’23, an OUR Peer Research Ambassador (PRA) majoring in Economics and minoring in English and Global Studies.
I do research in the field of Disability Studies! It’s a field that’s interdisciplinary and can span from Economics to English to Psychology and more. I’ve done a research project concerning the analysis of disability in film (a project that was primarily rooted in the English discipline), a project about the social experience of diabetes and disability “passing” (a project rooted in social sciences), and am planning on making Economics and disability a focus for my thesis!
Why did you get involved in research?
In high school, whenever I learned about disability or disease in any context, it was always biomedical or scientific. I never was really exposed to disability in regards to history or sociology or even in literary texts, even though a very large portion of the world population has a disability of some kind. I wanted to work on research concerning disability in social contexts, and Disability Studies was the perfect field for that. Hopefully through my research, people can at least learn a bit more than they originally did!
What advice would you give to new students?
Pick a topic that genuinely interests you and excites you. It makes the entire process much more interesting and fun. Professors and faculty are excited to hear what you think and want to do, so don’t hesitate and talk to anyone you think may be of help.
What do you enjoy the most about participating in research?
My favorite part is when you learn information you had no idea even existed. Sometimes in the research process, while looking for really specific information about a topic, you find information that is related but different. It can change the trajectory of your research and help you find new information to check out!
Describe the impact your research experience has had on you.
It’s definitely made me a more confident person. For my UConn IDEA Grant project, I interviewed individuals and that really improved my public speaking skills. I used to get a bit anxious speaking to new people, but now I don’t feel that way. The project was really exciting and I loved learning about people’s experiences. My writing skills have definitely improved as well. Researching involves a lot of reading, writing, and editing. I’m much more aware of how to hunt for information and how to write better. This has helped in classes, for sure.
Click here for more information on Elisa and other OUR Peer Research Ambassadors.