Collaboratory Teamwork Leads Undergraduate to New Academic Path

Meet Abigail Nighswonger, member of the Project Grant team Expanding the Reach of the Global Feminisms Oral History Archive.

Abigail Nighswonger became involved with the Expanding Global Feminisms project through UROP (the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program). As an undergraduate research assistant on the Expanding Global Feminisms project, she has been actively engaged in annotating and transcribing interviews of women’s movement activists from Russia, India, and Nigeria.

Nighswonger found her Collaboratory experience to lead her to a surprising conclusion about her academic goals. “Believe it or not,” says Nighswonger, “being a part of a research team actually helped me decide not to do research for a living! I had an amazing experience conducting research over the past two semesters, but by watching and learning from my mentors I realized that this wasn’t my passion in life.”

While participating in research led Nighswonger to the conclusion that research was not a career direction for her, being part of a research team led her to an equally important realization about her scholarly trajectory. She says that “the project introduced me to my intended major—sociology—and helped me develop an interest in the sociology of work which has opened up new potential career paths. Research might not be my life-long career, but [being a part of Expanding the Reach of the Global Feminisms Oral History Archive] was an invaluable experience.”

When asked what she would tell other undergraduates interested in working on a Collaboratory team, Nighswonger responds, “I would tell them not to miss their chance.” She continues, “Working with the Collaboratory means working on the best projects with the best people. You become part of a network of intelligent, kind, and supportive individuals involved in a wide range of fields. You will be part of important, quality research and gain invaluable experience, but the number of interesting and passionate people you’ll meet should be incentive enough.”

Nighswonger expects to graduate in Fall 2022 with a major in sociology and minors in writing and entrepreneurship.