The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Jelisa Robinson

Jelisa Robinson
Major: 
Theatre and Dance and Latin American Studies

Jelisa’s undergraduate research topic is Artistic Expressions, Across Diasporas

“There is more power in asking questions than having all of the answers.”

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Joao Vargas, African and African Diaspora Studies

Briefly describe your research project.

I did a comparative study on the struggles of Black artists in Brazil and the United States. I interned with the Akoben Movement, a Black arts movement, where I got the chance to hear the stories of the artists in the organization. It was there I realized that people of color in the arts in the U.S. have some of the same challenges as artists in Brazil.

What was the most rewarding part of your research experience?

The most rewarding part was presenting at the International Latin American Studies Student Conference in February. It was my first time presenting at a conference, and the other students presenting were mostly graduate students. They gave me advice and commended me for presenting as an undergrad.

How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?

It’s encouraged me to pursue opportunities and to take initiative.

Do you think getting involved in research will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?

Yes, it was extremely helpful. It allowed me to fine-tune the critical thinking skills that I learned in classes. It also helped me to see that I could attend graduate school, where doing research is expected. At first, I was intimidated by writing a research paper, but because of that experience, I take on the task with zeal. I learned that your ideas and thoughts are valuable, but it is important to listen to other views as well. That is how you continue to learn. There is more power in asking questions than having all of the answers.

What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?

Getting involved early in your college career can help with internships, jobs and graduate school applications. Also, contact professors that are doing the type of work that you want to do. It may seem scary at first, but there are people who want to help you.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the