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Featured Scholar: Heather Lawson

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Title:
Featured Scholar: Heather Lawson
Creator:
Watson, Sara
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
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University of Florida
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Language:
English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Journal of Undergraduate Research
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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lournmal of
Undergraduate
Research

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Archives

Scholar Profiles

Future Contributions

Contact Et Staff

University Scholars Program

Undergraduate Research
Resources

Search:


JUR Archives
Enter Search Terms


Featured Scholar:
Heather La'.',son

2001 - 2002 University Scholar
Mentor: Melvyn Lew






,I , .. .. .. .i .

enaL i nave irom ilnisning my nonors genesis, iinisning
the JUR paper and winning an award for it is wonderful.
Presenting the paper at the USP symposium and
making straight A's during the spring semester has
been this huge high."


It came as a surprise to Heather when she won first place at the symposium for Best
Qualitative Paper. "I worked very hard on it, and it was actually difficult to find a focus
because I could only write 2,000 words for the journal, and that's not really a years
worth of work in the humanities," she says.

After Heather discovered the USP, she went in search of a mentor in her department and
found 18th-century scholar Melvyn New. Dr. New had an opening where she could help
him with his research on 17th-century philosopher John Locke. Heather says her mentor
taught her the importance of writing, expressing and finding her own style. "I was lucky
because I couldn't have found a better mentor," she says. "He has really helped me to
construct my world-view. There are a thousand things in addition to what he knows and
what you think he knows, and it's infinite. I can ask him just about any question, and he
can answer me and that is rare." Heather is a teacher's aide for Dr. New this summer.

Last summer, Heather became acquainted with 18th-century literature and Locke's
writing. "Locke and his works are difficult to study because he wrote in such a
roundabout way," she says. "The whole style and word usage is totally different from
what it is today. It took the summer to really become familiar and comfortable with it."
Heather's paper focuses on a debate between philosophers John Locke and John Norris,
which centered on the question if God should factor into the way the people obtain
knowledge. During spring break, with the help of USP travel funds, Heather traveled to
London to be in the places where Locke and Norris lived and breathed their works. Being
confronted with the history gave her a better understanding of the culture. "Going to
various museums and being exposed to the past was a big help. The British Library was a
neat experience as well," she says.

Heather's interest in literature related to philosophy came long before her research, and
she feels strongly that we all can learn from the past to understand today. "Sir Isaac
Newton once said 'If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of
Giants.' In order start from somewhere, we really have to understand that we kind of
owe a debt to the past to understand what is going and how things developed," she says.
"The 17th century is that moment for me because that is Descartes, Locke, that is
Spinoza. It's really where thought really changes."

Heather says even though pursuing a college career and being a single mom has been
challenging, she'd do it over again. " Being a single mom is rewarding because I've done
it all myself," she says. "That is my son's favorite line, "Mom I did it all by myself. The
USP is also gratifying because it put me in a position where I was obligated to do
something and expected to really invest time. It was a great experience."

Heather graduates in August 2002 and plans to attend graduate school in English at UF
this fall.

-Melissa A. Douso

--top--


Back to the Journal of Undergraduate Research
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences I University Scholars Program I University of Florida I


� University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; (352) 846-2032.


UF FLORIDA




Full Text

PAGE 1

English major Heather Lawson is passionate about two things: her University Scholars Program experience and her 3-year-old son. "It is difficult to balance it all, but it is worth it," she says. "The sense of accomplishment that I have from finishing my honors thesis, finishing the JUR paper and winning an award for it is wonderful. Presenting the paper at the USP symposium and making straight A's during the spring semester has been this huge high." It came as a surprise to Heather when she won first place at the symposium for Best Qualitative Paper. "I worked very hard on it, and it was actually difficult to find a focus because I could only write 2,000 words for the journal, and that's not really a years worth of work in the humanities," she says. After Heather discovered the USP, she went in search of a mentor in her department and found 18th-century scholar Melvyn New. Dr. New had an opening where she could help him with his research on 17th-century philosopher John Locke. Heather says her mentor taught her the importance of writing, expressing and finding her own style. "I was lucky because I couldn't have found a better mentor," she says. "He has really helped me to construct my world-view. There are a thousand things in addition to what he knows and what you think he knows, and it's infinite. I can ask him just about any question, and he can answer me and that is rare." Heather is a teacher's aide for Dr. New this summer. Last summer, Heather became acquainted with 18th-century literature and Locke's writing. "Locke and his works are difficult to study because he wrote in such a roundabout way," she says. "The whole style and word usage is totally different from what it is today. It took the summer to really become familiar and comfortable with it." Heather's paper focuses on a debate between philosophers John Locke and John Norris, which centered on the question if God should factor into the way the people obtain knowledge. During spring break, with the help of USP travel funds, Heather traveled to London to be in the places where Locke and Norris lived and breathed their works. Being confronted with the history gave her a better understanding of the culture. "Going to various museums and being exposed to the past was a big help. The British Library was a neat experience as well," she says. Heather's interest in literature related to philosophy came long before her research, and she feels strongly that we all can learn from the past to understand today. "Sir Isaac Newton once said 'If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of Giants.' In order start from somewhere, we really have to understand that we kind of owe a debt to the past to understand what is going and how things developed," she says. "The 17th century is that moment for me because that is Descartes, Locke, that is Spinoza. It's really where thought really changes." Heather says even though pursuing a college career and being a single mom has been challenging, she'd do it over again. " Being a single mom is rewarding because I've done it all myself," she says. "That is my son's favorite line, "Mom I did it all by myself. The USP is also gratifying because it put me in a position where I was obligated to do something and expected to really invest time. It was a great experience." Heather graduates in August 2002 and plans to attend graduate school in English at UF this fall. Back to the Journal of Undergraduate Research Volume 3, Issue 10 June 2002Contents Submissions Archives Scholar Profiles Future Contributions Contact & Staff University Scholars Program Undergraduate Research Resources Search: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences | University Scholars Program | University of Florida | University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; (352) 846-2032. Featured Scholar: Heather Lawson 2001 2002 University Scholar Mentor: Melvyn Lew College of Liberal Arts and Sciences -Melissa A. Douso --top--


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