BSW student, Taylor Endress, was selected for the UConn Co-Op Legacy Fellowship Program. This is a highly competitive program in which only four undergraduate students are selected annually.
Taylor spent three years at Suffield Academy boarding school during high school. Her experience there, and coming out as queer, helped shape her research interest. For her project, Taylor will be going to three boarding schools and interviewing faculty, staff, and administrators to understand how they view LGBTQIA+ issues specifically in boarding schools.
The Co-op Legacy Fellowship Program provides undergraduates the opportunity to pursue funded summer research projects, service initiatives, and/or creative endeavors. Recipients receive up to $5000 in funding to support their summer fellowship project. The program includes an online project development course and participation in a series of in-person activities to foster peer mentorship and project guidance. In addition, Legacy Fellows present their research at a symposium in the fall semester.
Her academic mentor and nominator, Dr. Rupal Parekh said, “To date, there is scant literature on educators’ knowledge, comfortability, and exposure to LGBTQIA+ related issues in boarding school settings. Taylor’s research in this area will be a tremendous contribution to the field of Social Work and for persons with non-mainstream sexual identities. Findings from this research can help develop LGBTQIA+ specific educational material and trainings for educators and students.”
Taylor briefly attended Allegheny College in Pennsylvania before enlisting in the Navy. She spent three years stationed in Seattle as a mechanic working on aircraft and other support equipment. After the Navy, she applied to UConn and was admitted as a natural sciences major. When Taylor heard that the School of Social Work had launched a BSW program, she knew immediately this was the program for her!
“The UConn BSW program was a total 180 degree switch from the traditional harder sciences I was previously studying, but I knew my passion truly lies with working directly with people. My research is very close to home for me, I really want to expand the research available for LGBTQIA+ youth to include private boarding schools. There has recently been a lot of knowledge and attention generated around those who identify as LGBTQIA+ in high school, but very little on boarding schools specifically. I’m really looking forward to diving into the research and learning more with the help of the Co-op Legacy Fellowship grant, says Taylor.”