The Heart of the Brackenridge Fellowship: Gaining an Interdisciplinary Perspective

It has been four weeks since the Brackenridge fellowship began, and in that time, on top of working on my research, I have had the opportunity to meet and learn from other Brackenridge recipients whose knowledge and interests encompass a wide-range of research areas.

When I applied for the Brackenridge fellowship, my main reason for getting involved was to learn from the interdisciplinary community it provides. In my application, I wrote of my desire to strengthen my research skills by immersing myself in a group of passionate students who regardless of their field of study would inevitably bring something to the fellowship experience that could widen my perspective and help me improve my research skills. This hope has been fulfilled by the cohorts of the Brackenridge Fellowship.

During week two of the fellowship, the classroom full of Brackenridge students was split into four cohorts at random. We sat together and introduced ourselves as well as our research topic. Within the ten minutes that it took for each person to introduce themselves, I had realized the truly far-reaching impact of the Brackenridge fellowship. Within my cohort alone, I have interacted with students with research interests that range from how to make a tumor-shrinking drug cross the blood brain barrier to how does the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant impact our view of the world today to how does the concept of forgiveness work in post-conflict communities in Northern Ireland where in the Troubles neighbors killed neighbors.

It has also been interesting to hear about the goals that my cohort members have beyond the fellowship and how they plan to take the skills learned in the fellowship and apply them to their future endeavors. For example, Christina Prado who, through analyzing classical texts as well as modern works, is studying the relationship between fear and societal perception when it comes to the law plans to enter intellectual property law. Meghana Dodda who is currently refining a novel peptide that has the ability to shrink potentially fatal brain tumors plans to one day become either a psychiatrist or radiologist.

The Brackenridge Fellowship has already shown me the value of collaboration across fields of interest. From my peers, I have learned about the various methods that they use to carry out their work from door-to-door surveys to in-depth literary analysis. I have already begun to implement helpful tips that I have received from my peers into tasks such as literature reviews and articulating my work.

I cannot wait to see what else the Brackenridge Fellowship has in store for the rest of the summer, and I am very excited to continue working with my cohort.

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