KINGSTON, R.I – Chelsea Longa, an undergraduate student taking years on and off since Spring 2009 at the University of Rhode Island, majoring in psychology and minoring in nonviolence and peace studies, didn’t expect to receive the peace award in recognition and appreciation of her contribution to research and promoting peace across the URI campus but was grateful for it.
Before arriving at URI, Longa studied aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After studying there for a while, she found a change of path and transferred to study inner versus outer space.
After she moved from Florida to back in Rhode Island, she took time off school before transferring. In her time off, she learned about meditation and how it can help others as well as herself. Now, at URI she finds interest in helping people with mental health issues.
“From there, it pointed me to a path of practicing mindfulness and learning more about spirituality,” according to Longa.
Changing from aerospace engineering to psychology was a big difference for her. Back in Florida she was in the ROTC or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, the student government, and a sorority.
At URI, she’s been more active in other realms. She joined the URI Seekers Meditation Group where she led meditation and yoga to students on campus and participated in the Student Senate.
“But as far as academics go, I function differently. I tried to understand everything analytically but now I have a more intuitive nature,” she said. (What I was trying to explain was that overall I feel I function differently now than I did when I was younger and studying engineering – in a more intuitive nature than analytical)
Longa got involved with the center by joining the International Nonviolence Summer Institute in 2010 and 2011 and the Student Nonviolence Involvement Committee. With the committee, she helped facilitate a program in Rhode Island to teach mindfulness to children and provide them with nonviolence training.
“I’m also working on a project on meditation and mindfulness which integrates my experience of meditation and mindfulness and finding a way to present it to the center,” Longa said.
Finally, Longa incorporates mindfulness into her life by doing sitting or lying down meditations. When she meditates, she releases all of her thoughts, emotions, and visions as she becomes aware of them. She said it sometimes feels like a boiling pot of water on a stove and imagined all the bubbles rising to the top and disappearing.
“I often will let what feeling comes up and allow it to be what it is instead of judging it,” Longa said.
The Center congratulates Chelsea Longa on her Peace Award!