Though it’s been unlike any summer before, over the past few months I’ve learned about research across a wide array of disciplines and grown more familiar with conducting research in the social sciences. As I worked to complete my project, I especially gained a greater understanding of the challenges that can arise in this type of research. Something I hadn’t anticipated encountering during my work was the sheer amount of factors affecting the implementation and execution of policy that I hadn’t considered. The more that I learned about the current state of Pennsylvania’s immigration policy, the more factors, variables, and questions I began to consider. In this way, I came to realize that the deeper into the subject I delved, the more clearly I would realize all of the factors I was failing to consider and all the aspects I didn’t completely understand. One of the most meaningful lessons I’ve taken away from this fellowship was growing to realize that it’s ok to gain questions and uncertainties alongside the discoveries and conclusions you make throughout the research process. I had initially felt that these new variables and factors meant that I hadn’t planned my project thoroughly enough or that I lacked the necessary background knowledge on the subject. However, in these “uncertain discoveries” I’ve found inspiration for future projects as well as a drive to more thoroughly investigate my own subject area.
I loved the collaborative dynamic of the Brackenridge fellowship – it was great having the opportunity to conduct research alongside so many other students. One of the most fruitful aspects of the fellowship was getting to connect with students conducting research in such a wide array of fields. With each week, I always loved getting to hear about new projects. It was so inspiring to learn about the innovative works students are conducting and how they’re working to benefit others through their work. I especially enjoyed learning about the methods of other fields, since I have such little familiarity with how research is conducted in STEM disciplines, and I truly learned a lot from the other students.
Now that the Brackenridge has ended, I’m looking forward to more research opportunities with the Honors College, and beyond Pitt as well. I’m definitely hoping to complete a Bachelor of Philosophy degree and continue researching migration and immigration policy. For the greater future, I’m hoping to enter this field as a career and one day work in immigration law. Until then, I’ll continue learning and asking questions. It’s been a pleasure, thank you everyone!