Brackenridge: My Cohort and Research Exploration

The Brackenridge Fellowship presents me with a very unique opportunity to learn from and grow with students across a wide variety of disciplines. In order to guide our development, we were split into different groups, or cohorts, to build stronger relationships this summer. Through my cohort, I hope to discover different ways of developing and executing a research project. Because my own research is heavily based in ecology, I would like to broaden my perspective by hearing from others who work within different fields. This will help me in expanding my project beyond its main area of focus and encourage me to seek out and test methodology that typically falls outside of the traditional scientific method. Exploring research outside of the often-isolating discipline of science is incredibly refreshing and hearing about my fellow cohorts’ projects has been very exciting. By venturing across different research approaches together, I hope to provide and receive feedback for how best to solve any problems that may arise and strengthen all of our projects.

A few members of my cohort are also conducting research within the STEM concentration. As a result, I have observed many similarities in how we have constructed our projects. We have established very specific hypotheses and aim to test them with repeatable experimentation and observation. One of my fellow cohorts, Richard Fang, is working with the Hillman Cancer Center to identify two specific protein locations and functions involved with a tumor suppression pathway. Although our projects are vastly divergent in which area of science we are focused on, we both intend to test our questions using quantitative methods in order to reach an observable conclusion. Richard’s project is extremely compelling to me, and I hope to have active discussions about our projects along with my other cohorts to vitalize our STEM-based goals. Another of my fellow cohorts, Camila Aguayo, is researching 19th century Puerto Rican painters to establish a deeper understanding of Puerto Rico’s complex history and to study the origins of its especial cultural identity. This project may be greatly different than my own, but I am still very inspired by Camila’s project, and I am excited to follow their progress throughout the summer. Projects, like this, that fall outside of my familiar area of study will give me the opportunity to go out of my comfort zone and learn about different ways of engaging with research and accomplishing professional goals.

Exploring projects that fall outside of my own concentration will have its challenges. Many of the methodologies that my fellow cohorts are implementing are those that I have not been introduced to before. Yet, I am very confident in my cohort’s abilities to openly discuss and work through our own complex and distinctive endeavors as a group to make certain that everyone is on an equal understanding. Through our weekly meetings, we will only grow stronger in our capability to learn from each other and will pick up new research skills that may not be traditionally found within our own respected disciplines. I am eager to see what we will accomplish together!

Photo of me conducting research at Susquehannock State Park – June 6th, 2022
Photo of a wood turtle walking on a trail at Canoe Creek State Park – June 2nd, 2022

Leave a Reply