Bridging Research

The Brackenridge community is a beautiful cohort of individuals who each bring their own, distinct perspectives. Through the wide range of interests and research topics presented within the Brackenridge community, I hope to grow my own knowledge base by learning about new topics that I have not yet explored.   

Reading through the Brackenridge blogposts, I recognized that, like myself, several people are also conducting basic natural science research, hoping to pursue knowledge with the goal of learning more and building a better understanding of the mechanisms of the world. For example, Rutha Chivate is using animal subjects to study the vestibular system in response to different stimuli. On a more technical note, I noticed that mice are being utilized as a model organism in multiple studies as well. In fact, after speaking with Alay Gandhi during a Brackenridge meeting, I learned that we are using the same gene expression system, Cre-lox, to conditionally knockout the gene of interest we are each studying. Because of these structural similarities I hope to learn more about their individual research processes and see what I may be able to implement within my own project. 

On the other hand, many research projects in this interdisciplinary community clearly diverge from the methods and subject area of mine. Eric Workman is exploring how political cartoons from Sputnik news, a Russian news agency, is affecting the Turkish people, while Sarah Hulse is using interviews to collect data to understand how the war metaphor is emotionally affecting women with metastatic breast cancer. While different through data style and research subject, I believe there is still definitely much to learn. Particularly, their creative ways of thinking would seem to help any research project. 

All of these projects have piqued my curiosity and taught me new concepts and ways to think. One that I found particularly interesting was Emily Rothermel’s regarding pollution and environmental waste and its effects on her hometown. This project intrigued me because improper environmental protection is an important topic that technically affects everyone on Earth. Through her project, Emily is looking into her own family events and hometown to explore just how devastating this issue can be. To me this seems to make her project very powerful.  

Working across disciplines within such a community is an invaluable opportunity to learn about new topics and ways of thinking. I look forward to exploring new approaches to research that I may be able to put into practice myself. Through this community, I will be able to further develop my communication skills because I will need to effectively explain my project in ways that people with any background or within any discipline can understand. Breaking down my research into smaller concepts while explaining it to others will even help me to notice any weak spots in my own understanding of the information. These weak spots would signify either concepts that I need to read more about or illustrate in which direction to steer future research.  

Of course, even with the countless benefits of an interdisciplinary community, it holds some obstacles. Namely, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold more technical discussions regarding one’s research. Subject area specific concerns might not be evident to those who do not understand every aspect of the project and the particulars behind it.  

Despite these obstacles, however, the Brackenridge Fellowship awards me the opportunity to see people with all different experiences and interests come together to help and learn from one another. It’s interdisciplinary nature makes it unique, and I am truly grateful to be part of a community with so many inspiring individuals.  

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