Expanding our Horizons

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Through interacting with my peers during the first few weeks of the Brackenridge fellowship, I have learned about the diversity that is present in the field of research. With my academic career, I have only been exposed to scientific research, so it has been fascinating hearing about research in other fields! Everyone is truly passionate about the various projects that they are involved in, and it is wonderful to see. This summer, I am looking forward to seeing all of us progress in our individual projects, and get excited about sharing our findings with the rest of our peers. Everyone also has such interesting projects, so I am excited to learn about new concepts that I would not learn about in a typical classroom setting. Additionally, I feel grateful to have a group of students researching along with me this summer. This provides an opportunity to share our experiences with each other, whether that be celebrating our accomplishments together, or discussing any setbacks we may be facing. Either way, we will be able to learn from our peers.

While looking at other people’s projects, it is truly evident that each project is very unique. Everyone has different approaches, and varies on whether they are investigating a problem that needs a solution, or doing research to gain further knowledge on a subject that they are interested in. One project in particular that interested me is Chris Katyal’s project on how social media can impact the public perception of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as with bias through news outlets. This is a great example of research being interdisciplinary, as it involves scientific concepts related to the pandemic, but is overall focused on public perception and how large of an impact social media has on society. Additionally, the fields in which these research projects are involved in vary, ranging from environmental science to biomedical engineering.  However, it also seems that most people are doing research related to their future career goals, demonstrating how passion and a desire for knowledge are common themes with everyone’s projects. 

I believe that working with people across disciplines is a very valuable experience, as it exposes you to fields you may not normally have the opportunity to learn about. Working with students who may not be familiar with the research you are doing provides an opportunity to improve your skills of communicating complex concepts, which is a relevant and valuable skill to have in any career.  Learning about new disciplines may come with some initial obstacles, as you are learning concepts you are not familiar with, so it may take some time to be able to understand them. However, it is exciting to see people be passionate about the research they are doing and showcase their accomplishments, so overall, being able to work with people that are experienced in different disciplines than you is an incredible opportunity.

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