The multitude of disciplines represented in the Brackenridge Fellowship community has led to fascinating discussions and wonderful learning opportunities. Many of our projects are drastically different from each other’s in terms of subject matter, research method, and motivation. However, we all have one commonality: a passion for research.
Through the Brackenridge Fellowship program, I have the opportunity to learn about various subjects as I become more familiar with my peers’ projects. Molecular biology, art history, computer science, philosophy, ecology—the list of disciplines I have learned about over this past month is too long to write in its entirety. Each student has a unique perspective because of their own academic journey, and these wildly different projects have led to riveting conversations. Although each of our projects is unique, we all are collecting data, whether it be in the form of literature review, interviews, or observations. Comparing our research methods has been enlightening, allowing us to consider our own projects from angles we otherwise would not have thought to consider. I am particularly interested in Sivan Lurie’s research which explores the mathematic development of preterm children. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past month, as I have been able to learn so much about my peers’ unique projects and the valuable insight their work will bring to their discipline.
One obstacle of working with peers across disciplines is effectively communicating information about a project in a field that most people are not familiar with. For example, it’s important to refrain from using jargon which may be difficult to understand for someone outside of that discipline. Although you may have been researching this topic for years now, most individuals do not have the same amount of background knowledge on the subject. I think that overcoming the obstacle of effective communication will be one of the most crucial benefits of working in an interdisciplinary community. Learning to describe a complex research project to those who are not familiar with the subject matter will assist myself and my peers as we begin to share our research findings with the broader scientific community.