Riverside sunset
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A sunny-scene outside of Anonymous Hall overlooking a grassy lot

As I'm wrapping up the 2023 spring term here at Dartmouth, I can't help but get excited about what's upcoming in the next few months. This summer, I will be abroad in the Baltic countries: Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania studying government and energy. This deserves a blog post or two on its own, so I won't go into too much detail here. Instead, I'd like to explain to you why I'm just as excited for the fall of 2023 term (when the Class of 2027 will be arriving on campus!). During this fall term, I will be away from campus and not enrolled in Dartmouth courses – otherwise known as an "off-term." I'm looking forward to taking a bit of a break from the classroom setting. Although, I will certainly miss the daily routine I've built over the past three terms on campus! In the fall of 2023, I'm planning on pursuing independent research – but not just any independent research – a study that will be designed by yours truly, catered specifically to my passions. I'm pleased to say that this is feasible because of the incredible financial opportunities here at Dartmouth.

Beyond the generous financial aid Dartmouth offers its students for the "typical" expenses like tuition, room and board, books, etc., there are numerous financial opportunities available for Dartmouth students through other avenues. "Funding outside the lines" is a great term that Dartmouth uses to describe these kinds of opportunities, and I'd love to give you a case study example from my own perspective. First, I must give you a little bit of background into my academic and career interests. If you take a moment to scroll through some of my past blog posts, you'll quickly find that I'm a geek for anything weather related. I grew up in rural southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas where I was exposed to all kinds of weather – thunderstorms, tornadoes, snowstorms, and floods. My childhood fascination with weather has blossomed into a career-driven passion here at Dartmouth, and I'm grateful to say that I'm able to pursue these passions through formal research.

In addition to Dartmouth's general academic scholarships, there's all sorts of funding available to students who want to pursue research and investigate their career interests. Here's a link to some of the niche funding sources Dartmouth offers. There is funding for any niche academic discipline you may come from, and here's what I've been working on. For the fall, I would love to immerse myself in some more hands-on research when it comes to weather's effects on people. A part of why I love extreme weather is because it has real, tangible effects on people across the globe, and weather doesn't affect people equally. When it comes to the Mid-South U.S. and areas that I grew up in, there are densely populated low-income areas that are disproportionately affected by these severe weather events. As a part of my larger interest in public service to represent the people of the southern U.S., I would love to perform a type of ethnographic study in places in the Mid-South that are impacted by severe weather events. It would be amazing to immerse myself in these communities, especially ahead of severe weather events and see how communities prepare, see how the risks are communicated, and better understand the dynamics of these communities.

Picture of storm damage done to a small farm back in rural Arkansas.
I'll never forget the impact the December 10th, 2021 tornado outbreak had on my community. I'm grateful that I have the chance to study these events and their impacts.

This type of research is a bit more intricate than basic quantitative research with large datasets, so it will certainly take a lot of time to write up an effective proposal and get it approved. However, I believe I have great support from my faculty mentor, and the funding is certainly available for me to pursue this. Now, I've just got to put in the time and effort to get it done… which is the part I love the most!

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