I will sound like a broken record in expressing this but reading about the projects of others in the fellowship opened my eyes to the breadth of amazing research being conducted in myriad fields at our university. The Brackenridge fellowship provides an invaluable opportunity to interact with students in all disciplines, which I think helps to better everyone.
There is a reason that universities have many disciplines of study; one field cannot encompass what humanity is or aspires to be, yet in the mélange of these disciplines arises a more complete picture. Thus, I think learning more about all fields is essential, and the Brackenridge fellowship serves as a window for such means, allowing me to peer into the work of others. Learning about others’ projects, which tend to be radically different from my own, provide greater breadth in my education and understanding of the world. Like how my being cannot be encapsulated by my majors, nor too can a well-rounded education be encapsulated by one field.
Relation through Comparison
The most apparent divide in our projects is that between quantitative and qualitative research. My project is very quantitative and therefore differs from more qualitative research (such as the projects Mikayla and Sarah in my cohort are working on). Though amongst more quantitative projects, I noticed similarities. Many projects involve methods of data analysis, even though the target of this analysis varies (patients/participants for Kailen’s and Junyi’s projects, tweets for Emmaline’s project, etc.). This aligns with much of what I do in my project even though mine lacks ‘human’ data (unless if you want to consider the particles that make us up to be considered human!). I also imagine others’ analyses involve some amount of coding, which is something I do incredibly frequently in my project. A project which really interested me is Emmaline’s analysis of the potential homogenization of language in a group over time. Math has always been one of my favorite subjects because of its wide-ranging application to real-world problems/inquiries, and I look forward to seeing how it can be used to quantify shifts in language.
Not for Naught
Working with such a diverse cast of fellow researchers exposes me to new ideas and ways of thinking which may not be prevalent in my own field. I am not very well-versed in psychology, but I am aware of the evolution of groupthink and other detriments arising from communicating with only likeminded individuals. Thus, I see my cohort and others in this fellowship as a way to prevent groupthink and facilitate learning.
An obstacle is the naivety we all have of others’ fields, making it harder to talk about specifics of any one subject as a group in the beginning. However, I see that as an opportunity to learn!