The Lightbulb Moment story initiative invites the university community to reflect on their interests and experiences as they share the unexpected insights that have illuminated their paths.

UROP believes in the transformative power of storytelling, and encourages you to empower students to author their own stories.  Your story can chart new pathways for students to think about themselves that allow them to imagine and explore potential identities in new contexts while making space for belonging.

In complicating the linearity students often see in the narrative of your success, you can enable them with the confidence to take risks in the engagement of new ideas and identities while cultivating empathy. Showing students the more circuitous and failure-marked path you have taken can clarify some of the cognitive dissonance in the often countervailing narratives of academic excellence and personal wellbeing that can lead to crises of confidence.

Understanding how to contextualize failure and manage perceived deficits can help students overcome imposter syndrome and see themselves succeeding in contexts that may seem out of reach—especially to untapped students.

Lightbulb Moment Story Template


Lightbulb Moments


  • Who were you before the light came on?
  • How did you feel about your future?
  • What questions and/or doubts did you have?


  • What happened that answered some of your questions and/or addressed your doubts? 
  • Who helped flip the switch? 
  • How did you meet them?


  • What did you learn? 
  • How did you and/or your path change? 
  • Has your course changed since?


  • What made you feel you belong where you are—or not?
  • What systems enabled your success—powered the light?