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UGS Summer Grant Recipient Explores Major

When Sydney Gray’s summer internship in New York City was canceled due to COVID-19, she regrouped and started a podcast and blog where she interviewed leaders and studied social justice issues. Using the Summer Exploration Grant, Gray explored multimedia journalism from her own home, testing out her future path before declaring a journalism major in fall 2020.

What did you do this summer?
I’m passionate about politics and social justice so I created a podcast and blog on social justice issues called The Gray Space. I interviewed people about polarizing issues in society. Because of the pandemic, I had the opportunity to interview people I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. I expanded my worldview and learned about current events.

Did your project inform your major and/or career choice?
Choosing a major was stressful for me because there are so many options available. This summer was an affirming opportunity to prove that I am passionate about journalism and I have the skills. For me, media is the best way to tell people’s stories and dive into issues that I care about. It gave me perspective on how I will specialize in the field too. Originally, I thought I would pursue writing but now I am focused on multimedia.

What advice would you give to students thinking about exploring majors and careers over the summer?
Go for it. Even if you think you aren’t qualified, you have a lot of skills to offer and you should be proud of yourself. Undeclared students have a lot to bring to the table and need opportunities to explore. If you don’t give yourself the chance to explore what you want to do, you’ll never figure it out.

About the Summer Exploration Grant

The School of Undergraduate Studies’ (UGS) Summer Exploration Grant gives UGS students the opportunity to explore their interests over summer break. Grants can be requested in any amount up to $2,000, and have helped undeclared students conduct research, take unpaid internships, enroll in professional development opportunities, and more. Whether you’re looking to participate in a research project or creative activity, the Summer Exploration Grant can help you fully realize your vision. Applications are open now and the deadline to apply is March 8, 2021.

Sydney Gray and her podcast guest Shane Claiborne
A screenshot of Sydney Gray with her podcast guest Shane Claiborne