Differences: A Chance to Learn Something New

To value what makes each scholar different is to learn something new about them and about me. In hearing what other Brackenridge recipients are passionate about, I have learned to incorporate new perspectives into how I am explaining my own project. When other scholars talk about sociology, ecology, or even astronomy, I have learned to break down my neuropsychology project into something that would be understandable and relevant to them and their field of study. I hope to learn from other Brackenridge recipients about ways of thinking that I won’t get to experience. People in different disciplines interpret the world in different ways. I am lucky to be able to be a part of a group of people that give me different perspectives of the same world we live in. 

In reviewing other students’ projects in my cohort, I see that all nine of us are doing science-heavy research. There is representation in the following fields: ecology, epidemiology, and health sciences. I feel as though Beck may have the project that is most different from the rest of the cohort. I am interested to see what we all can learn from her because she will be exposing me to a new field, while also bringing a new way of interpreting the other health sciences projects. The picture I chose for this post is me reading the plant signs in Mellon Park; I hope this serves to show my cohort that I may not know a lot about your specific field, but I am eager to learn!

Although the other seven projects fall under health sciences research, there are still some distinctive differences between our projects. For example, Ryan, Hunsi, and I are all delving into cognitive functions (like memory), but Ryan and Hunsi have a computer science element that I do not. This technical perspective of health is something I am interested in learning about to see if my research could also benefit from computational interpretation. Even though my cohort is connected by our interest in bioscience, I am interested to see how our differences teach us to be better researchers. 

One benefit of working with people across disciplines is that I get to be exposed to fields that I cannot squeeze into my four years in college. I wish I could take a class in every field that there is because when I take classes outside of my discipline, I always gain a new way to think about the world. But, because I am limited in the number of courses I can take, I am looking forward to learning these unique patterns of thought from my fellow Brackenridge scholars. 

Another benefit to working with people across disciplines is that I get to consider how different people may react to my research. I want to ask the following questions about my research: Is it understandable? Does it matter? Discussing these questions with the rest of the Brackenridge scholars gives me a glimpse into how the general public may perceive the relevance and importance of my work. 

A major obstacle to working with people across disciplines is a barrier in communication. Every field comes with its own set of jargon that may not be easily understood by people studying different things. However, this fellowship is a good opportunity to practice communicating my project because research is only meaningful if it can be consumed by everyone, not just those in your field. 

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