“It is time for parents to teach young people early on in life that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”Maya Angelou
Whenever I received my report card in elementary and middle school, I always got the comment “inquisitive,” which is just a really nice way of saying I asked too many questions. My curiosity as a child flourished into the thirst for knowledge I crave now. I love to learn about every and anything – the more I know, the more I want to dive deeper into a subject. My interest in learning about literally anything drew my attention to the Brackenridge Fellowship when pursuing my own research endeavors. Being a part of this program allows me to do my own research while learning from others across all disciplines (it’s honestly a childhood dream come true).
My project is an interdisciplinary study in itself, but I’m also so excited to collaborate and learn from my peers this summer, as there is so much diversity in the projects. Firstly, I’ll be able to learn about topics I never knew existed, like Julia’s project about propaganda in musical theater. I’ll also have the ability to learn more about topics that I had some knowledge in but never knew that there were gaps in the research in these areas. For example, both Mandy and Madhura are studying health disparities in minority communities, but their focuses are in completely different spaces. In addition, I have the opportunity to learn from people that are researching in spaces that I’m familiar with but have not done the work myself. As a social media content creator for a market research company, I have analyzed the social data surrounding metastatic breast cancer. That said, Sarah’s work which focuses on the impact of war metaphors on women with metastatic breast cancer is extremely interesting to me and I can’t wait to see the results of her research.
While reading other’s projects I have noticed similarities and differences between theirs and my own. Even though our individual topics are different, our purpose is the same: to better society. Whether it’s studying disparities in healthcare or studying anti-Blackness in social spaces, we want to make the world a more equitable place. What’s beautiful about this, in my opinion, is that we’re all going about different ways of reaching that goal: some of us are doing interviews, while others are doing archival work. Unfortunately, like all collaborative efforts, there are obstacles that we might face in interdisciplinary research examples. For example, some of us might not understand the subject or reasoning of research that we aren’t familiar with. However, this can be easily remedied through clear communication. The beauty and strength in diversity apply to all areas of life, especially research—we’re able to learn from others about things we’ve never been exposed to before. That being said, the advantage of knowledge outweighs any obstacles we could face.