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UWEC undergrad research can change lives...Here's my story

| Brye Hedeman

I love chatting about the High Impact Practices that UW-Eau Claire has to offer. From service learning to studying abroad, there’s a diverse range of opportunities available to Blugolds.

Research – one of our High-Impact Practices – is huge here at UW-Eau Claire, and it’s not reserved for just science majors. If you are looking to study, as an example, the Humanities, you will be able to find something. And not only will you be able to take part in undergrad research, but 35% of Blugolds get paid to do research. Cold hard cash!

In my honors class, Songs and Symphonies, aside from enhancing our musical listening skills, we spent an entire unit examining music’s ability to affect those with late-stage to severe dementia. My professor described how it’s common that even though patients may have lost all ability to communicate with the outside world, when you play a song from their childhood, they can sing back every single lyric.

Sitting at my desk, I felt my jaw drop. As a Biology major, how many countless times had I sat through lectures on the fragile complexities of the brain? Enough to know that with the onset of dementia, the effects are nearly impossible to reverse. The very next day, I marched into my professor’s office, demanding some kind of explanation for this neurological miracle.
“Brye, we’re conducting research about it right now. Would you like to be a part of it?”

Thus commenced a yearlong endeavor of accumulating, organizing, and analyzing data alongside a distinguished music therapist and regionally prominent professional statistician, culminating in a formal presentation at CERCA, the Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. Had I known that I could act as the primary researcher on a project that could ultimately impact my community in a positive way, I would have made a greater effort to participate in research before.

My passions allowed me to work as a primary researcher on a project that could ultimately impact my community in a positive way – where will your passions lead you? Learn more about our undergrad research and what it can do for you...the possibilities are endless.