My cohort: 1+1>2

My cohort

Nearly half of my cohort are made up of English literature and Philosophy majors, the rest are in Math, Physics, Nursing, and Psychology. My cohort aggregate scholars from Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and China, studying topics from Death and Immortality, to Oscillations of baryons, to Health Literacy, to Social media, and Mental illnesses. I am astonished by looking at how other scholars in my cohort are researching ways of combining their majors. For example, Emmaline Rial is a Math major with a Computer Science minor, and she is interested in how the internet plays a role in communication, and how do people respond to idiosyncrasies languages. In particular, she will examine twitter data and to see if she can quantitatively measure similarities between different twitter users on how they use their language. This idea strikes me as it takes on two subjects that correlates to her major and minor, achieving “one plus one is greater than two.”

Similarities and differences

There are ways that we are as different as the two ends of a spectrum, the way we conduct our research, the topics and fields we are exploring, and many others. But, these differences brought us together, and with the opportunity provided by the Brackenridge Fellowship, we learn, communicate, and grow as a whole. I’ve also seen many similarities between us. For example, Mikayla Joffe is conducting a study on the accuracy of mental illness depictions in classic Russian literature. Similarly, I am also researching the field of mental illness, specifically ADHD. I also see links between my project and Chelsea’s project: how forms of parental praise relate to children’s later math abilities, since we are doing psychology-related research, and we participated in the same psychology lab — The KiT Lab.

Learn together

During the summer, as I participated in Brackenridge Fellowship, I hope to learn other areas of research from other fellows, as well as new perspectives on my current project. I was an Information Science major before I step into Psychology. My friend asked me if I want to take a psychology course with him, I said yes because I’ve always wanted to know what exactly psychology is and what can it do, and here I am! Being in a vast network,  I can imagine having a student majoring in Economics telling me the economic aspect of my idea. It is also an excellent opportunity for me to bring new perspectives through communication with other scholars and gain more insights from people doing different types of research in the community. This opportunity will help me to think outside of my discipline. Besides, this exchange of knowledge and perspectives is mutually beneficial. Personally, the most beneficial part of working with people across disciplines is that I have the chance to improve my critical thinking and communication skills while I explain my research to people not from the same background as mine.

Just like if you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples; we both will still have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then we both have two ideas. I hope we can learn and grow together as a community.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Emmaline Rial says:

    Thank you, Junyi! I absolutely love your last paragraph, “if you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples; we both will still have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then we both have two ideas.” What a great description.


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