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.