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ASU honors student awarded scholarship for historical research

Portrait of ASU student Brielle Lee.

Brielle Lee, a Barrett, The Honors College student at ASU's West campus, is doing historical research with the Glendale Arizona Historical Society, with support from the John Porter Sands Scholarship.

October 17, 2022

Brielle Lee, a third-year student in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, has been awarded the John Porter Sands Scholarship, which funds a research internship with the Glendale Arizona Historical Society.

“This internship aims to provide opportunities for students at the ASU West campus to work with cultural and historical organizations that are typically understaffed and under-resourced,” said Lee, a history and English major. “The focus now is working with the Glendale Historical Society, but we may be able to branch out to include some art museum work as well.”

The scholarship is named for John Porter Sands Jr., whose family dates back to 1907 in Glendale, Arizona. Sands, a military veteran, was a prominent farmer, rancher and businessman. The Sands family established the scholarship to support the work of ASU history students in conducting oral histories, researching, archiving, writing and editing in support of historical and cultural organizations, particularly the Glendale Historical Society.

Lee hopes that this opportunity will further enhance both her research abilities and communications skills.

One way she is broadening these skills is through conducting interviews with people about the history of the West Valley and Glendale.

“We are coordinating an interview schedule with the Glendale Historical Society that will go on into the spring term,” she said. “Doing the interviews will broaden my historical skills as well as communication skills, for it is essential to learn how to communicate efficiently in order to conduct interviews for historical purposes.”

She credits her Barrett honors academic advisor with helping her find this research opportunity.

“I was advised by my honors advisor through email about an opportunity to work with Barrett West Associate Dean (Eduardo) Pagán on (historical) scholarship and research,” she said. “If it was not for my advisor and the Barrett program, it would have been very unlikely that I would have come across an amazing chance to further engage in historical and analytical research and skills.”

Lee has been working with Pagán on various historical research projects.

“I have helped with the story of Elizabeth Hudson Smith, a pioneering African American woman in the 19th century, and also assisted in interpreting historical photographs of rural Los Angeles where the ‘Sleepy Lagoon’ murder occurred in 1942,” she said.

As her work supported by the scholarship goes on, there are two things that Lee wants to take away from this opportunity when she graduates: better relationships with others, and the ability to help build knowledge and perspectives of the world.

“This (scholarship) is very fulfilling to my historical interests and major. This hands-on experience helps me immerse myself in the local historical communities of Arizona, and I hope I can shed more light on the historical and cultural significance this brings,” she said.

Lee is interested in pursuing art curation after completing her bachelor’s degree.

“Art curation is the most fascinating thing to me, because not only do you learn more every day about the history of humans and the way they transfer their world around them into art, but being able to curate exhibits so the public can experience wonderful works and the deep historical significance behind them is important,” she said.

Lee is also considering attending graduate school.

In the meantime, she would also like to strengthen her relationships with the community.

“I love connecting with people and making sure they have the correct resources they need to succeed and have a wonderful college experience,” she said.

Written by Barrett Honors College student Alex Marie Solomon.

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