WRAP 2021: Jay Brown, W’24

Jay Brown headshotWhen I was first approved for the World Research Assistantship Program (WRAP), I spent days imagining what different places I would travel to, ideas I would explore, cultures I would experience, and more. I reached out to foreign professors who I wished to work with, finalized my plans, and then boom — another wave of Covid-19 restrictions hit.

With the new restrictions, a large portion of my time would be spent in quarantine, and my lifestyle outside of quarantine would have been very restricted while abroad. After discussing with my advisors, foreign professor, and family, I decided it would be best to do my research remotely. This was a very hard decision to make, especially since I was going to travel outside of the U.S. (to London) for the first time in my life. Still, I was very excited for the opportunity to research topics that I was genuinely interested in, which for me was by far the biggest reason I applied for WRAP.

The topics that I researched – brokerage strategies, career transitions, and workplace belonging – were all new to me, so all the information I gathered offered new insight. For career transitions, I related all that information back to my parents and their transitions, thinking about how they correctly transitioned and how they could have improved their transition according to research. For brokerage strategies, I thought about how I personally broker (and so do you!) every day in my life, regardless of the information I broker with. It opened my eyes to how I can better manage relationship conflict, such as when I should communicate between two friends who are upset with each other, and when to bring those two friends together to talk directly to each other.

For workplace belonging, I thought about how my previous and current research workplace raised my sense of belonging while I was within them. Reading about the most effective ways to statically raise the feeling of belongingness struck home with me, since some of the aspects I wanted in my jobs, such as investment by managers and bosses, were lacking those approaches. While working at those jobs, the gap in belongingness was apparent to me, and after reviewing literature over belonging in a workplace, it made me realize that changes could easily be implemented if managers were just educated. As I read more about these topics, my excitement grew, and my perspective broadened.

My overall experience with WRAP helped me develop stronger research skills as well as curate skills and knowledge that I will be able to utilize in my future careers and positions. The growth I experienced alone was enough for me to highly recommend participating in the World Research Assistantship Program. Once the world begins to return to normal, I’m certain that this program will offer students even greater opportunities and experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives.