Coming into this project, I did not expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Not only did I make new friends and learn about various unique projects and academic interests, but I was able to brainstorm a solution to a problem I care about quite a bit. What amazed me about the Ideathon was my group’s ability to combine a diverse set of skills into solving an issue deeply ingrained in academia. As a group we chose to tackle the issue of rigid teaching and learning techniques at Pitt and proposed research which would culminate into the implementation of new teaching standards through our Center for Alternative Learning. Not only would this idea address the alienation of students with learning disabilities through specialized help and university-wide education, but it would also be open to all students in order to help anyone who finds that they learn in a unique way or needs to discover an alternative method of learning.
I believe that part of the reason why this group worked so well was because we were all able to realize how this idea would solve a major issue which we were all able to identify within our own school. This allowed us to approach this project from the base up, utilizing all of our skills to find a solution which addresses all aspects of learning at Pitt. The fact that we all wanted to make a change allowed us to swiftly overcome any barriers that arose along the way, because we all saw the importance of creating a dynamic solution to this pervasive dilemma.
Working with my amazing group has helped me realize the power of research and innovation that encompasses a broad set of perspectives. Each of us were able to propose unique ideas because of our own specific backgrounds, both personal and academic. So often research is confined to a hyper specific subset of an already specialized study, prohibiting any influence beyond the constrictive realm of a field. As we continue to innovate, we are discovering the benefits of broadening our horizons, and thus beginning to harness the immense power of diversity. I believe this notion can be extended to any and all studies.
My research is interdisciplinary by nature, combining the studies of literature, classics, and psychology, but as the fellowship goes on, I am beginning to identify new fields which I could benefit from referencing in my project. For example, I will soon be working on gaining a historical perspective in order to understand the unique characteristics of Imperialist Russian Society, which will hopefully enhance my understanding of the depictions of mental illness from this period. Now that the Ideathon has concluded, I realize how important it is to cross disciplines in any study, and will utilize this knowledge I have garnered in my future work.