We would love to see more people follow in the footsteps of this student!
According to Today at Elon, Elon University student Eukela Little’s research project, which revolved around reframing the “strong Black woman” label, earned her one of the school’s $20,000 Lumen Prize awards. What’s more, the psychology major was one out of 15 students to be awarded the scholarship.
Eukela Little's '22 Lumen Scholar Research
Little’s research, titled “Strong, Black and Selfish: Reframing the Strong Black Woman Persona to include Self-Care through a Mobile Health Intervention,” is an eight-week intervention that was created for Black women to lean into putting their health on all ends first.
For the project, the Lumen scholar spoke with almost 30 interviewees including psychology experts and former students of Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology and her mentor.
“It starts with an awareness that you were overwhelmed and that you do see yourself as a strong Black woman,” said Longmire-Avital, according to Today at Elon. “But what does that mean and how can you still be a strong Black woman that is selfish, centers self-care and recognizes that you are just human?”
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During the eight weeks, she had participants focus on multiple concepts such as understanding self-care, mindful mediation, and other topics to take action in methods that aid in their well-being, Today at Elon reports.
Little credits being able to bring her original research with having the support of a Black woman that works in her aspired field.
“I’ve had two other research mentors before Longmire-Avital, and she was my first Black woman mentor. That within itself created a sense of safety for me to show up as myself during trying times,” she said.
While initially looking to guide her into the traditional research route, Longmire-Avital watched Little’s desire to “immediately help people.” This eventually led Longmire-Avital to fully back the project.
“It woke me up in terms of how I’ve been following a certain pattern and gave me the courage to let that go. Eukela is a wonderful example of when you step back and let a student’s creativity and innovation lead you,” she added. “I’m thankful for her vision and her steadfast conviction to want to be the change, not just document what needs to happen.”