One of the things that make me especially excited to be a part of the Brackenridge community is its interdisciplinary nature; the Brackenridge Fellowship allows students of all different academic backgrounds and research interests to come together and share their unique projects. I am really looking forward to learning about the other types of research my peers are conducting, as I have thus far only had experiences with wet lab scientific research.
Within my cohort alone, I have already been able to learn about fields of research I have not previously been exposed to. In the humanities side of research, Frances is exploring what love is, Hannah is studying gender cues, Rachel is researching community building for Eastern European Jewish immigrants, and Daniel is looking at the far right movements in Italy through music–these projects especially piqued my interest, as they explore topics I probably never would have been able to learn about without the Brackenridge community. Given that these projects contribute to the field of humanities while my project focused on peanut allergy falls under the natural sciences discipline, the creative methods we use for our respective projects will differ; I hope to eventually apply the perspectives and approaches my peers have towards their research to my own project, or even to my outlook on topics outside of research.
In the health/medical side of research, Annika is investigating cytomegalovirus, Rutha is looking at the vestibular system, Nicole is exploring the pain associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma, and Wyatt is studying ocular diseases; while they are within the same discipline as my research, these projects explore topics that are very different from peanut allergy, and I cannot wait to learn more about them. Like I hope to do with my peers’ projects in the humanities, I also aim to apply what I learn from these projects to my own research.
Working with people across different disciplines provides many benefits–it helps you stay open-minded, allows you to discover new interests, and teaches you about new methods and ways of thinking that you can apply to work in your own discipline. While an obstacle to working in an interdisciplinary setting is effectively communicating your research to an audience of many different backgrounds, at the same time, this is a great learning opportunity, as it teaches you how to make your research more accessible to all. Across all disciplines of research, what threads us together is our desire to contribute to the discovery of knowledge to improve our understanding of the world around us.
Just as geese work together to get to their destinations, I can’t wait to continue working with my fellow Brackenridge peers to reach new discoveries!