My Brackenridge Journey

The Brackenridge Fellowship has truly been an eye-opening experience. I never thought I would meet so many dedicated individuals studying and researching in so many fields. People are so used to the idea of research as something exclusive to the scientific community, but I have learned that there is the possibility of discovering something new in places where some will never have imagined. We have students that are studying ecology and researching different plant specimens that travel to different national parks in order to collect more relevant data. We have another student that works for the renowned nuclear research facility called CERN in Switzerland. But we also have students that are researching the humanities. We have a student who is studying the semantics of nice and kind. We have a student researching Artemisia Gentileschi and her importance as a female painter in placing women as the center of her paintings. Each one of these students is taking their own path to discover new truths behind their research. Some may be reading books, others may be working at labs, and others may be traveling to find new information. This fellowships perfectly highlights how different areas of research have their own path and methods that they follow.

Personally, I think the most valuable experience I found with the Brackenridge was the simple possibility of doing research. I would have never thought I would spend a summer reading books and looking at paintings from different Puerto Rican artists. I never thought that an undergraduate like me would have the opportunity to explore a whole new world of information and knowledge that I thought was only available to an elite few. When I thought of research in art history, I used to think about graduate students, masters’ programs, or simply just helping out a professor with their already planned out research. Now, I know that there are hundreds of opportunities out there that allow me and other students to follow and do research in what they are passionate about. I must admit that it was hard at the beginning. My research subject is one that has been ignored to the majority of history. Sadly, people haven’t been that interested in studying Caribbean art, more specifically, Puerto Rican art. I had to order books, look for articles, and just try to find different resources that would allow me to gain more knowledge on the subject. After tackling a few hurdles in the beginning, I was able to find wonderful resources that expanded my understanding of Puerto Rico’s history, culture, and art. It made me realize that this is something that I might want to continue in my future. That is why I want to apply to different scholarship opportunities in the future, like the Hot Metal Bridge Program, in order to gain more knowledge and understating of not just Puerto Rican art, but other subjects as well (like Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist art…). Eventually, I would like to apply to different graduate programs and ultimately end up working at a museum or gallery. The Brackenridge was a first step in my journey, now I have to see where I end up next.

Puerto Rican festival; child dressed as a vejigante.

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