History and American Indian Studies
Alexis Baril is from Winston Salem, North Carolina and graduated in May of 2019 as a double major in history and American Indian Studies. Since her freshman year, Alexis has been a dedicated member of the Spirit of the Carolinas Marching Band and the UNCP Pep Band where she has played both flute and saxophone. Starting her junior year, she was chosen to lead the band as the drum major, a difficult position that is usually not given to a junior band member. She continued to lead as drum major through the end of her senior year. In April of 2018, Alexis was selected to be on a student panel where she presented her research at the Southeast American Indian Conference here at UNCP. At the conference, she presented her thesis titled “Yuchi Gender Roles in Social Dance, Ritual, and Ceremony.” Alexis said, “The honors college gave me a sense of community because everyone was always able to encourage and help one another even during times when our schedules were crazy busy.” She was excited that everyone has stayed friends through the years regardless of having different areas of study.
For her senior project, Alexis wrote a thesis titled “'Weapons of Emotion: A Sampling of Indigenous Instrumental Music in Native North America.” Alongside Dr. Jane Haladay, she examined, compared, and contrasted indigenous musical traditions in different culture zones of North America. The six main cultural areas of focus were the Northeast, the Southeast, the Great Plains, the Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest. Within each culture, Alexis chose specific tribes and examined similarities and differences between Indigenous musical instruments.
After graduation, Alexis returned to UNCP in the fall of 2019 to begin studying music to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Music as a second bachelor’s degree. She advises honors students to “stick with it through the challenging times; it is extremely rewarding to get to the end.” Her greatest memory at UNCP was during the spring semester of her sophomore year when a group of her friends all joined together to prepare for finals. She said, “We strung up a bunch of hammocks, ordered pizza, listened to music, and spent the night in hammocks on the Quad. It was so much fun joking around and “hanging” out with all my friends.” Alexis made many friends through the honors college, and the memories they made will always be special to her.
“Weapons of Emotion": Indigenous Instrumental Music Traditions across the Americas
Mentor: Dr. Jane Haladay