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Small Coincidence Leads to Great Rewards

Ansley Morris reflects on her experience as a Humanities Center undergraduate fellow.

Ansley Morris posing in front of a tree.
Photo by Ansley Morris

Some of the most rewarding experiences come by coincidence. Ansley Morris (English ’24) experienced this when an unplanned visit to her favorite professor’s office led to her becoming one of eight undergraduate fellows for the Humanities Center. In light of receiving her fellowship, Morris reflects on her time in the College of Humanities and describes how it has given her incredibly rewarding experiences and a community she can rely on.

After her professor canceled his office hours, Morris, with unexpected free time, decided to visit Professor Francesca Lawson’s (Ethnomusicology) office. During this visit, Lawson acknowledged Morris’ hard work and dedication and asked if she would be interested in being nominated for an undergraduate fellowship. A few months later, Morris sat down for an interview with Rex Nielson, the Humanities Center director, and Bobbe May, the assistant director. The interview went well, and Nielson and May offered Morris the fellowship. She says, “I love thinking back to that serendipitous day I knocked on my professor’s door and how it set something so unexpected into motion.”

Morris’ responsibilities as an undergraduate fellow include hosting the HumGrant Symposium (an event where HumGrant recipients have the opportunity to present their research), planning and carrying out an essay competition, and writing blog posts for the Humanities Center blog. The fellows also have the opportunity to be as involved in other Humanities Center events and research groups as they want, which, as Morris puts it, “is incredible.”

For Morris, the best part of working in the Humanities Center has been the people she has met. Morris says that that she loves the community that Nielson, May, and the seven other fellows have created. She says, “It’s easy to feel lost or isolated in college, so being part of the Humanities Center and a part of this group has been a blessing.” She feels a sense of accomplishment from being able to contribute to the Humanities Center and to the wider BYU community.

Morris hopes to apply for an English master’s programs after her graduation in December 2024. She is looking forward to planning and attending the HumGrant Symposium next month and starting her capstone research next semester.

Learn more about the Humanities Center fellows here.