Faith Andrews-O'Neal

Undergraduate Researcher, Columbia University
  • Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Humanities Social Sciences

Research Topic

Ethnic & Racial Studies Society & Culture

Laidlaw Cohort Year

2021

University

Columbia University

I am from:

United States of America

I speak:

English

My hobbies/interests are:

Cooking/Baking Dance Film & TV Music Politics & current events Volunteering Writing/blogging Yoga

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes

Yes

Influencer Of

Popular Content

Topics

Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

May 29, 2021
Replying to Roberta Hannah
  • While all Laidlaw Scholars will be presenting their research at the Columbia Undergraduate Research Symposium in the fall, what are the more immediate expectations that you have for your research? Are you writing a paper you hope to get published? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Is your research now the first phase of a project you’ll continue to work on throughout the year, and/or next summer? Now that we are nearing the one month mark of the program, please write about your expectations for your research.

I've been actually trying to figure out what my "outcome" will be given that this is not my own project; this means I can't publish a paper or have some form of a "traditional product". My goal is to get my advisor as far along in her book as possible and continue that work into the fall because I plan to work with her then as well. What I want coming out of the summer is a better understanding of the approaches I want to take with possible research topics. Learning about the quantitative aspects of qualitative work has broadened my view of what I might be able to do in future projects. Also, the work I'm doing is giving me ideas of research for next year, so if I can have a clear research plan for next year, that would be great.

  • Why does your research matter? Explain the significance of the question you are investigating, and why you are interested in it.

My research gives new perspectives to the lives of Black LGBTQ+ people, which have been historically been either ignored or represented through the eyes of outsiders to the community. There is immense value in having an insider perspective and using that nuance to come to new conclusions about the lives of the community members. By studying their lives, we can then apply these themes to other fields (like medicine, politics, etc.) to improve the conditions that community exists in.

The idea of your work applying to other fields is such an important perspective! There are so many ways in which research in the humanities and social sciences can be interdisciplinary, and valuing the voices of the marginalized is something I think the hard sciences could do a lot more of. 

May 29, 2021
  • While all Laidlaw Scholars will be presenting their research at the Columbia Undergraduate Research Symposium in the fall, what are the more immediate expectations that you have for your research? Are you writing a paper you hope to get published? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Is your research now the first phase of a project you’ll continue to work on throughout the year, and/or next summer? Now that we are nearing the one month mark of the program, please write about your expectations for your research.

In the immediate time frame, the work that I am doing with Professor Paredez has been mostly helping her with the final phases of her own work. While I may not be working on a paper that will be published, I am keeping in mind the seminars we had early on in the program, and learning that the work I am doing contributes to a larger cultural and historical conversation, one which I am able to help facilitate by providing my perspective as a young woman of color, something that feels especially pertinent when working on a project called the American diva. Seeing the way in which this project incorporates pop culture as well as one's personal life story is something I think about as I imagine my second summer.

Why does your research matter? Explain the significance of the question you are investigating, and why you are interested in it.

This is a question I have to ask myself often as I go about my research sometimes. When surrounded by talented people working on individually-led projects about issues that can help literally save the world, it can feel like the work I'm doing matters less. Then, I am able to remember that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding the world around us, not just scientifically but also culturally and socially, is so important. What drew me to the project is the fact that I have long believed in the importance of giving platform to the people who helped shape the way I view the world today, and divas are a large part of that. The chance to study their impact throughout modern history, as well as analyze the ways in which diva has been made to be a negative thing in spite of their positive impact, is something that touches a formative part of my experience growing up consuming their songs and shows and watching them on talk shows. 

May 10, 2021
Replying to Devyani Goel

While I haven't attended this year's seminars, looking back, it is quite interesting to think about how my own ideas of what effective leadership is have changed since my first summer when I answered the same question. Last year, I had just started work at a lab with no previous experience in long-term research. From that vantage point, it was easy to view leadership as essentially individualist, where my actions were always most important and deserved to be the focus of my attention.

However, in the past year, as I've grown both as a researcher and as an individual, I've learned that effective leadership is often taking a step back and simply listening. I have had the immense privilege of being surrounded by individuals who are infinitely smarter and more qualified than me, and to be able to just listen has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Beyond just research though, as I've taken on more leadership roles at student organizations on campus, I have learned the true value of letting others speak, of taking a moment every now and then to genuinely reevaluate your own views of the world and, if needed, to comprehensively restructure how you interact with the people around you.

tl;dr: listening is a more important part of leadership than it is often given credit for, and I thank the Laidlaw program for equipping me with the space and the resources I needed to learn that for myself.

I agree that listening is so integral to leadership! When we took the leadership tests and my top two were driver and analytic, I had to take a second and come to that realization myself. While it might be the most "efficient" way of going about things, there is definitely still a lack of listening and open collaboration that is essential to being a part of a team in any context, but especially research. 

May 10, 2021
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I think the most prominent ways my understanding has changed has been by the fact that I now understand in a more tangible ways the differences in leadership. While I, on some level, understood that people can lead without being the most extroverted or assertive, seeing the ways each model of leadership brought different strengths to the table made me gain a stronger appreciation for those in my teams (and friendships) whose styles of leadership are more understated, or driven by a consideration for others as opposed to simply getting a goal done.

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

The main question on my mind is how can I best contribute to the project? As the book project (The American Diva) is in its final steps, I want to make sure that I am able to be productive and add to the discussion being had as it is an important one. The biggest challenge I've had thus far is unlearning the idea that, because my work isn't necessarily tied to health sciences or the most pertinent social issues, that it isn't as important as some of my peers. However, having the time to talk to the graduate student mentors about being a part of a larger historical conversation is helping me realize that everyone's work is important and valid and part of a larger intellectual arc.