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Student Spotlight – Jayel Gant


Jayel Gant

Knox College, theatre and creative writing

GSEF Fellow, Cohort 1
Research Placement: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Having the opportunity to do rigorous research with a professor who believes in me and my work has been a game-changer for me. "


How would you describe yourself in a few sentences?

I am a Theater and Creative Writing double major, obsessed with children, video games, and roller skating. I primarily write plays/screenplays, but also enjoy costume design and construction. I could eat cheese all day everyday and am currently on my fourth round of watching Adventure Time.

What kind of research are you working on this summer? Who are you working with?

My research turns to the moving body to establish theories of empathy from a performance perspective. This summer I worked with Professor Sandra Ruiz.

What have you learned so far?

I think one of the most exciting things I've learned is that there are even more resources that exist than I could have imagined. Beyond that, though, is the fact that I (as a developing academic) am gaining the ability to find resources in the typical-everyday, or even better: the knowledge that has been marginalized and ignored.

What part(s) of this experience will benefit you most? How so?

Having the opportunity to do rigorous research with a professor who believes in me and my work has been a game-changer for me. Not only was she able to understand me, she helped me brainstorm, challenged my thinking, and pointed me toward specific schools of thought and authors instead of general topics.

What do you want your faculty mentor and/or university to remember about you?

I don't want my mentor to have to 'remember' me. We are going to stay in touch! This summer gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people, and I hope we can watch each other evolve and grow together.

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