Meet Anabelle Bergstrom ’25, an OUR Peer Research Ambassador double majoring in Political Science and Philosophy and minoring in Public Policy.
The areas of interest for my research are quite varied. During high school, I wrote a mock legal brief arguing in support of including women into the draft. For my Holster Scholar project, I examined how the experiences of ROTC cadets affect their career ambition. For my SURF research, I went back to my roots and conducted legal research into the influence of campaign contributions on state supreme court decisions. This academic year, I will be conducting philosophical research at the UConn Humanities Institute on the effects hyperconnectivity has on pragmatist theories of the self. I am excited to continue to broaden my horizons!
Why did you get involved in research?
I got involved in research because I enjoy the challenge it provides. Creating a viable hypothesis, writing grant proposals, conducting the research, and analyzing data all come with challenges. Some of these can be rather unexpected at times. It is in those challenges that I feel I excel. I enjoy the intellectual puzzles that must be solved to continue projects. I have learned the most about myself as a lifelong learner through my research which is why I continue to seek more opportunities.
What advice would you give to aspiring student researchers?
To aspiring students I would say, do not be afraid to make mistakes and expect the unexpected. A large part of research is trial and error. Sometimes, an idea you had does not work out and forces you to rethink aspects of your project plan. Other times, you conduct your entire project, and the results turn out to be insignificant. These are natural, normal aspects every researcher goes through at some point. Do not be discouraged by a few bumps in the road. Every setback is a learning experience and can only help you be a better researcher!
Describe the impact your research experiences have had on you.
My research experiences have had a significant impact on me in many ways. The most significant being my confidence. I have grown so much as a person from who I was when I started my first research project in high school. Reaching out to the faculty members, proposing original project ideas, and presenting at conferences during my time at UConn has pushed me to be more confident in who I am. Engaging in research has not only grown my outward confidence, but it has shown me what I am capable of. Certain aspects of projects, like data analysis or reaching out for help, seemed time daunting tasks only a few years ago. Now, I can do these things and many more without batting an eye. I will always be thankful for the research opportunities afforded to me as they have crafted me into a better student and person.
What are your plans after graduation? How has involvement in research influenced your plans?
After graduating with my undergraduate degrees, I will be finishing my master’s degree at the UConn School of Public Policy. Once I graduate with my master’s degree, I plan to attend law school. I believe that getting myself involved in different kinds of research that forces me to think critically about the world will benefit me significantly in my future legal career. The analytical and organizational skills various research projects have taught me are also major components that will play a positive role in my next steps.
Click here for more information on Anabelle and other OUR Peer Research Ambassadors.