Above all, my understanding of conducting research broadened over the summer. I learned more about the facets and intricacies of my own project, but that pales in comparison to what I learned about the work of others. Through the seminars, ideathon, presentations, and my cohort, I was able to learn about myriad projects across all disciplines and the fantastical ways in which research can manifest itself. In particular, I was fascinated by works in the humanities and how projects adapted due to the pandemic.
My cohort (shoutout to the Cannon Crew) was fantastic for hearing about others’ projects on a deeper level. Max, Junyi, Kailen, Mikayla, Melanie, Emmaline, Sarah, and Gray all had projects vastly different from my own, and all were illuminating to how research can be conducted. What I enjoyed the most was the fact we were able to empathize with one another over challenges in our projects (which were oft similar despite the projects being different). It showed there are commonalities in all fields of research. Beyond that, the final presentations provided another useful insight to others’ work in a similar fashion.
That is what I find to be the most valuable about the Brackenridge experience: its interdisciplinarity. Getting to meet such a diverse group of researchers was a great experience and helped me to learn quite a lot. It introduced me to many ideas which I was unfamiliar with because my area of study, like for many people, is limiting in some aspects. Likewise, I only had really known about research through what I and my friends worked on (which are mostly physics/STEM projects), so I was very close-minded to the other areas of research. The THINK fellowship (which I partook in last spring) and the Brackenridge fellowship introduced me to the work in those fields due to its interdisciplinary nature, and I believe that gives me a more holistic, well-rounded view of work in academia.
I am sad to see the fellowship come to a close; given the circumstances of the world, I was glad to have had the opportunity to do something productive over the summer. With that being said, the project I focused on is nearing its conclusions, so I will be documenting my work and requesting a committee for approval and will hopefully use it to get a BPhil in the future. I also hope to apply for national scholarships with this experience (Goldwater, etc.) and work on a new project perhaps.
Finally, I wish to express my gratitude for this fellowship; it truly was a positive mark on my undergraduate experience, despite limitations due to Covid. Thank you 🙂