make up almost a quarter of the student body. It may take
them five to 10 years to finish their degrees, and taking
classes is only part of the requirement. Research and/or
teaching make not only their education, but their contributions
to the University and to society unique. They are graduate
students, numbering about 4,000, not including the 1,600
in law and medicine.
work, however, doesn't often get attention, since it may
not be ready for prime time or headlines. They put in long
hours with relatively low pay, although the amount of support
varies widely among disciplines. Still, they are gaining
the experience that may lead to tomorrow's breakthroughs.
are few platforms to show their work-in-progress. The Arts
& Sciences Graduate Student Council coordinated the first
Graduate Research Exhibition April 10 and 11 to provide
a forum for graduate students from all disciplines to present
their work. Co-sponsored by the Graduate Enrolled Student
and Fellowship Office, the exhibition also awarded the top
four with $500 first prizes.
week and next, Inside UVA highlighted some of their efforts.
We present here a sample -- albeit random -- of the range
of research and scholarship graduate students are conducting,
some ground-breaking, some innovative in idea or approach.
students awarded for research (published in last weeks'
issue of Inside UVA)
student stories from last week's issue
Beer's research examines impact and
style of Tori Amos' music
Tori Amos' music -- with its confessional lyrics -- has had a
profound effect on many young people who have suffer
Beer is looking at how Tori Amos (in poster, right) fans have
created a supportive community on the Web.
emotional and physical abuse. Her fans say they gain a healing
strength from her work, and that it serves as a catalyst for finding
their own voices.
followers have taken to creating a phenomenal Web presence devoted
to her alternative rock music and her message, said Samantha Beer,
a graduate student in U.Va.'s Critical
and Comparative Studies in Music program, who has devoted
a year's worth of research and thesis time to the subject.
research is taking her on an exhaustive study of the history of
the culture of fandom and diva worship, as well as feminist and
voice theory. She believes the work will link the past with the
cyber community is creating a new definition of a music community.
There are more than 148 Web sites devoted entirely to Amos,"
her songs, the pianist's own tragedies resonate with her fans,
Beer said. They find it empowering that Amos brings her experiences
as a rape survivor into the public realm, she said. On the Web,
they analyze her work, quote lines from her songs and begin to
tell their own stories. From this they have built a community
of support, forming self-help groups that extend beyond their
initial identification with the songs.
is a model and a tool. Her work becomes an entrance into who they
feel they are and who they want to be," Beer said. "It's
the sense of shared experience that gives her fans strength and
has used her celebrity status to further this position of empowerment
of others by creating RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
in 1994. The Washington-based, national hotline is a resource
for survivors of sexual abuse to find local shelters, counseling
addition to the cultural impact of Amos' work, Beer studies how
the artist constructs her music -- not only what she says, but
how she uses her voice to produce such a strong impression on
her fans. She sings in a broken narrative, often with cryptic
lyrics, Beer said, and that allows listeners to fill in the spaces
and ambiguities with their own stories. In using different sounds
and voices, changing pitch, tone and intensity, she goes beyond
the bounds of our cultural constructs of gender, Beer has discovered
in her research.
Beer's combining of musicology and ethnomusicology to come up
with her own way of looking at a topic "is relatively new
in the field," said Elizabeth Hudson, Beer's thesis adviser.
"We try to encourage the use of a variety of techniques in
research," she said. "This method helps to create new
tests how to boost the body's immune response to melanoma
early 20th-century West-African and French war encounters transformed