The Brackenridge fellowship brings together students with diverse backgrounds, interests, perspectives, and goals. In my cohort alone, people from different walks of life are diving into the fields of language, politics, art, science, and more. In this diverse academic environment I hope to learn what research looks like across different disciplines and to discover new approaches and perspectives on research that I could potentially apply or at least keep in mind while completing my own project. I also hope to learn about subjects I have never considered before and wouldn’t otherwise encounter were it not for the Brackenridge fellowship. I want to keep an open mind and broaden my intellectual horizons to become more of a well-rounded student who can communicate effectively across disciplines.
Despite researching vastly different topics, my peers in my cohort are all driven by a passion to answer a question and to bring new discoveries or knowledge to their field. We all want to leave our footprint in our area of research. I think it is especially fun to find connections in interest across research projects. I find Emily Wiley’s research on Hellenistic and Roman Egyptian Non-binary Representation especially interesting because I am pursuing a minor in the Classics, so I am excited to deeping my knowledge by learning about her research. I’m also super interested in Emilu Rothermel’s research on Investigating Environmental Waste and Illness in her hometown since I grew up less than an hour away from Reading and have visited before, and it’s exciting to see someone researching such a local issue. I think Dionna Dash’s project on Language Informing Writing is exciting because writing is a study I have thought about pursuing in the past, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the field through her research. I’m equally excited to learn more about all of the research projects that I know absolutely nothing about because it means exploring new topics and expanding my knowledge of the world.
Working across disciplines can be daunting. Being exposed to a completely new topic, method of research, and to specific and often complex vocabulary can become overwhelming and deter students from branching outside of their own disciplines. That is why I believe so strongly in programs like the Brackenridge fellowship which teach students not only how to effectively communicate their own work, but also how to effectively listen to and interact with other students’ works. Once that world is opened up, I believe it creates a well-rounded worldly student with a comprehensive “toolbox” able to tackle any question and apply different methods and perspectives to the questions they are asking and answering. In turn, I think this produces well-developed and thorough research which reaches depths not reached by students who remain fixed in one discipline.