Annie’s undergraduate research topic is The Dehumanization and Objectification of Soldiers in Postmortem War Photography.
“The skills I picked up through participating in research have carried over to many other endeavors as well. I feel like I have a leg up in many of my classes.”
Faculty Supervisor: Andi Gustavson, American Studies
Briefly describe your research project.
I researched the history of postmortem photography of soldiers and how such images essentially dehumanize and objectify the subjects, inviting the viewer to interpret the soldier not as a human being, but instead as an object.
How did you initially get involved in research?
Andi Gustavson’s class “American Images” provided the perfect opportunity for me to get involved. I would never have had the chance to get involved in research so early in my college career without her guidance and support. Taking “American Images” during my first semester of college was a truly phenomenal experience.
How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience at UT?
The skills I picked up through participating in research have carried over to many other endeavors as well. I feel like I have a leg up in many of my classes. I know that the research skills I learned will be useful throughout my entire college career. Not only that, but my understanding of campus resources like the Harry Ransom Center will also come in handy.
What surprised you during the research process?
I was most surprised by how everyone I worked with was so excited not only about my research topic, but also about the fact that I was getting involved in research so early. Previously, I was under the impression that it was mostly upperclassmen and graduate students doing research, and that getting involved during my first semester would be difficult. On the contrary, everyone I worked with was extremely supportive. They helped guide me through the process and encouraged me to continue research outside of my classes.
What has been the greatest challenge that you have had to overcome as you worked on your research project?
One of the greatest challenges that I had to overcome was simply accessing and understanding the on-campus resources. I don’t think that many undergraduates are aware of the range and depth of the resources that are available on this campus. My professor was able to inform me about the process and show me how to access the resources that made my research possible.
What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?
Don’t be intimidated!! The idea of researching is kind of scary, I know. It seems like something you should leave to graduate students, not something you should jump into as an undergrad. The truth is however, that the resources are here for a reason: they’re for you. If you want to learn something more about a subject that interests you, just do it! The process isn’t as scary as it seems, and it is a very rewarding experience that will definitely be useful in other situations.
Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.