“UROP has really helped me to branch out and be more confident in myself.”
Before beginning the UROP process, Nyla Chute considered herself to be a more introverted student who didn’t really know what research was. But it was once she began working on her UROP project, titled “The beauty of Black hair through choreography and film,” that she realized research exists in everything she does and could be anything she wanted. Her work focuses on studying the FAMU black archives and conducting interviews about the fluidity of Black hair to contribute to a film project being directed under the College of Fine Arts. The film project describes hair discrimination’s direct impact on the Black community. As a second year student from Clewiston, FL majoring in Athletic Training on the pre-med track, Nyla is a prime example that research does not have to just be done in your field of study.
When asked about her favorite part of UROP, Nyla says, “I have been able to explore my personal interests as well as my career directions by working with diverse groups of students, researchers and mentors. UROP has taught me how to contribute my academic findings through an extensive spectrum in which it has shaped me to be a better student.”
An important vision of the program is to encourage students to conduct research where they are truly inspired, enhancing the flexibility and overlap of fields to produce more multi-faceted research. Nyla explains that she wanted to pursue this project because of her own personal background identifying as Black and because she wants to become a more well-rounded student by diversifying her research interests.
“The thing I like about UROP is that you do the research for a whole year, so being able to focus on one problem and getting to investigate it will help me in my future career where I need to investigate a problem until I find the right solutions.”
Another important aspect of UROP that Nyla values is the experience she has shared with her UROP partner. “I see a lot of myself in her,” Nyla said, commenting on how her partner is also a fellow executive board member for the FSU’s Black Women in Medicine organization. Nyla currently holds the position of Director of Public Relations. She is also a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic school year. This scholarship is awarded to students who plan to study or intern abroad. Nyla will be adding the role of UROP Leader to her list of accomplishments, another testament to the way UROP has encouraged her to branch out.
When asked what she hopes to do as a UROP Leader, she says she hopes to learn from her students. “As much as you gain from UROP, UROP is going to gain a lot from that individual,” Nyla explains, and she wants to ensure she can help students the way her mentors helped her in both the college transition process and in learning more about their own journey in research. After UROP, Nyla plans to continue her research with the film project, which will likely wrap up later in the year. She also plans on working in biomedical research labs to further expand her research in lifestyle medicine. She has already secured academic spots in labs throughout campus.
“Research begins with the individual,” Nyla says when discussing why students should apply to UROP. “Given that research surrounds us in our everyday environment, it is as if the world of exploration never disappears when it comes to research. UROP allows students to explore their intellectual curiosity and shape their leadership skills by simply utilizing information and expanding it throughout the world by beginning at a collegiate-level. I urge all students to apply to UROP because it allows for humanity to move forward as a whole.”