Recent UWF Graduate Writes Educational Song On Ukulele, Wins Internet Contest

Jul 13, 2017

Gabriela Cintron, who graduated this Spring with a degree in psychology from the University of West Florida, recently won first place and $2,500 in an Internet contest.

She wrote an original song and created a video to go with it.

“Gabby decided she would take on the most popular framework in explaining personality,” said Dr. Jane Halonen who taught Cintron for three different psychology classes while Cintron was at UWF. “It’s called the Big Five or the Five Factor Theory. The theory itself identifies five essential characteristics that seem to be present in all people and in all cultures.”

Cintron, who is now in graduate school at Florida State University, decided to enter the contest sponsored by Noba, a web site that concentrates on helping students learn psychological concepts, after she heard about the contest when she was taking a class last Fall with Halonen.

Cintron who plays the piano, too, did the personality traits song on the ukulele.

Hallonen explains why creating the video featuring the song is likely to appeal to the people judging the psychology web site contest: “The idea behind trying to create something that is memorable is to figure out how you can enhance the meaning, how can you build in more meaning into the thing that you are trying to remember and learn. Music is a vehicle that seems to have some special qualities to help people recall what they need to recall.”

Cintron has been writing songs for fun since she was in kindergarten, and when she was an undergraduate in college, she realized a song’s potential value as a learning device.

“Writing songs comes pretty naturally,” Cintron said. “But for songs about subjects I will try to really research the topic and… pinpoint buzzwords that I want to include in my song. I want to make sure that I am not just singing something that rhymes or is enjoyable to hear but that it has the information needed. This song is specifically about the five factors of personality, which have the acronym of OCEAN, which stands for “openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.”

To hear the entire song that Cintron wrote and to watch the video that goes with it, go HERE

This article is part of a collaboration between WUWF and the UWF Center for Research and Economic Opportunity.