Cohorts and New Methods

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Reading through the introductory blog posts I am astounded by the levels of diversity, creativity, and ingenuity displayed by my fellow Brackenridge scholars. From short films to cancer research, the intersection of humanities, medicine, and STEM is providing true interdisciplinary opportunities and I am thrilled to learn from everyone this summer. Specifically, I hope to learn about how research is conducted in data and lab-oriented fields. Admittedly, scientific subjects such as biology and chemistry have never been my strong suit –nevertheless, I am excited to learn about scientific research and methods… without having to worry about getting a grade on content retention!

Upon first glance, it’s easy to recognize the differences between my research and most of my cohorts. With Ella Roberts and Ben Ahlmark embarking on cancer research, Cecelia Hembrough and Kamron Woods researching proteins related to Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s, and Michael Lauer and Rhea Verma researching other medical endeavors – my humanities research provides an obvious instant contrast. Despite these differences, these are the cohorts that I am most enthusiastic to learn from. Beyond gaining information on how their projects fit into new and exciting advances in medicine, I am similarly interested in learning about how research in their respective fields operates. I have never been inside a medical laboratory, let alone know about the intricacies, advantages, and critiques of various medical and other niche scientific methods. Like many people, I have had loves ones affected by cancer and Alzheimer’s and I have great admiration for the work my cohorts are doing! One project that interested me, in particular, is Evan Kozierok’s work in computer science. Evan’s field of computer science and my work of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s studies don’t often coincide, but there is an intense need for cross-disciplinarity praxis between our fields. We are presented with such a great opportunity to create connections and influence research methods in positive and unexpected ways.

In another sense, I have similarities with some of my other cohorts. With Maxwell Reiver and David Zahniser, I am excited to collaborate on historical methods of research within the humanities. Though our projects are different in content, the analysis of creative works and performance art provides insights onto humanity and culture that I am overwhelmingly eager to explore.

That being said there are a few obstacles I anticipate in cross-disciplinary practice. There will be some aspects of my research that don’t easily apply to other’s research – and vice versa. Though, even if it doesn’t apply to this particular project, I think that many of the research practices we are introduced to will be instrumental in future research. I believe that the overall strength of cross-disciplinarity research will quickly supersede any obstacles that might come into me and my cohort’s path. By collaborating with those in diverse disciplines, we can ask different and new questions that can propel our projects even further.

Attached is a painting of one of my favorite shots from the 1985 Anne of Green Gables Film by James Hill. This week I’ve been working on past adaptations and analysis and I am always comforted and inspired by the beautiful visuals.

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