When I was three years old, my grandparents bought a VHS of “Feet of Flames,” an Irish dance show. The first time I watched it I was mesmerized. By the 23rd time I asked for lessons, and my lifelong passion for Irish dance began. My competitive years have been comprised of highs and lows, but where it is somewhat atypical is that college has been its highest point. While many dancers find it difficult to continue dancing after high school, I have been able to continue to improve due to the support of my dance teachers, my UConn community, my family, and the opportunities that exist at UConn. I have been able achieve goals I had at one time given up on, and set new ones that I never before dreamed would be possible.
My senior year of high school I emailed the Gray School of Irish Dance to ask if I could train with them. I had not attended a dance class in four years, but they were happy to take me on as a student. One of their dancers who also attended UConn agreed to bring me with her to the studio and invited me to join UConn Irish, an on campus organization.
Upon joining, I was welcomed and essentially handed 35 new friends. UConn Irish members range from complete beginners to a mini-community of competitive dancers who are still actively training and support each other in the quest for practice space on campus. It is one of the most accepting clubs on campus and has been an integral part of my college experience. This year, I have the opportunity to help the club grow and develop as a Co-President and Co-Choreographer, and I could not be more excited.
The most surprising opportunity that I received while at UConn was the ability to focus my Honors Thesis around dance. Starting at Orientation, everyone Honors student hears about the giant paper they will have to write before the end of their senior year. Some upperclassmen truly enjoy the experience and are excited to tell you about their project, while others share horror stories. Regardless, the process of finding a mentor, completing a project, and writing upwards of 50 pages about it is quite intimidating. Last semester, I had the idea to tie my major in Nutritional Sciences and my passion together and teach Sports Nutrition classes at my dance studio. With the help of my advisors, Dr. Hedley Freake and Dr. Nancy Rodriguez, I applied for a grant from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) and received funding Continue reading