Learning from a Diverse Cohort

One of the most fascinating parts of the Brackenridge fellowship is the unique cohort that I get to work with. With thirty-six individuals working on different projects relating to different disciplines, it is quite exciting for me to learn about all the work that is being done by the Brackenridge cohort. I intend to learn more about all the projects that are being done by my peers. This is a special opportunity where I can learn not only about other projects that are being done in the STEM field, but also in other disciplines of research.

After finishing up my third year at Pitt and starting the Brackenridge fellowship, I realized how much research is being done outside of STEM. Although STEM is an important discipline in research, it was interesting for me to see all the research that is being done outside of the STEM field especially in humanities and social sciences.

The research I conduct is under basic sciences. In comparison to other projects from Brackenridge cohort, my project is based on lab work that requires me to go into the lab and work throughout the day. I have to plan which experiments to do and how it can be useful to my project. One thing I realized from my time at the lab is how slow some of these processes can be. I know that I will not be able to find the answers to my given questions in a week’s time. With basic science research, a lot of the answers come from months of planning and waiting. For example, I have to wait a certain amount of time for my mice to grow. Only then can I analyze the samples and see if there are any correlations. There may be times where I have to repeat a certain experiment because the results are not clear. This all takes time, and progress comes in a slow manner. Thus, I have to be very patient.

There are many great projects being done by this cohort. I was very intrigued by Anika Agarwal’s and Aboli Keshbat’s projects because of how relevant they are in science and medicine! Specifically, I was very interested in Aboli’s project because of its relation to how the environment can influence rehabilitation after a TBI. I am excited to see what results she finds this summer.

Working with a group of individuals under many research disciplines comes with its challenges. It can be tough to understand some projects because of background information that I may not be familiar with. Although I try to talk about my projects to a general audience, there are some aspects from my project that include terminology specifically related to biology and biochemistry. As a researcher, it can be hard to differentiate what to include and not to include towards a general audience. This is probably my biggest challenge when it comes to communicating with a general audience. However, there are many benefits to working with a unique group of individuals. I have the opportunity to learn from other projects and their own ideas. I get to experience all the research that is being done outside of basic sciences and I hope to take advantage of this time and learn about all that is being done at Pitt.

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