Interdisciplinarity!

Communicating Across the Cohort

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the blog posts from the other students and learning about the interesting projects they’re undertaking this summer! It’s been fascinating to see what everyone is investigating through such innovative works that seemingly span all disciplines. Already I have benefitted from this cohort as I’ve learned about the ways they’re working to better their fields of study and their own communities. As a student of humanities who’s conducting primarily social sciences research this summer, I’m hoping to gain insight into the research process of the natural sciences, a discipline with which I have very little familiarity and experience. Therefore, through conversations with the STEM scholars and observations of their projects, I hope to learn much more about the ways in which their research is conducted and communicated to a broad audience who possesses little prior knowledge of the subject matter (someone much like me)!

Parallels Across Disciplines

            I’m also aiming to learn about the ways in which scientific research is used in conjunction with public service. I noticed one such project, by Emmaline Rial, that investigates areas of both mathematics and language in order to contribute towards public-service oriented research – which I found fascinating! As I’ve compared my work with those of other students, I already feel like I’ve grown to better understand my own work and the niche it occupies within the greater scope of academic disciplines. I found it meaningful reading about other projects that also invoked aspects of both the humanities and the social sciences. Corey’s project also examines immigrant populations with Pennsylvania and their access to critical resources, though his work takes a more historical approach whereas mine is focused modernly, so I’m quite excited to learn about the methods of his project and his final conclusions. It was equally rewarding reading about the science-based projects and investigations other students are undertaking, as I learn about the nature of STEM research and how it differs from methods used in the humanities/social sciences. One other interesting aspect that presented both similarities and differences among the projects was the scope. I read about other projects that are also examining issues and topics within Pennsylvania and found it greatly interesting to read about inquiries that are happening on a national or international level.

Diverse Perspectives

            Working with such an interdisciplinary cohort provides us with the great opportunity to practice explaining our research to a broad audience with varied levels of prior knowledge and understanding of the topics. Though this can initially present itself as an obstacle, in that it can be quite challenging at first to describe one’s research to people from other disciplines and to detail the significance and findings in a concise manner. Therefore, to ensure that people of all levels of familiarity with the discipline can easily understand our projects, it is critical to communicate the findings in a universal and easily-accessible manner. I’m looking forward to learn about the results and outcomes of the other projects!

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