One of the most attractive features of the Brackenridge Fellowship was the interdisciplinary aspect. I’ve always been fascinated by other majors, while still being able to recognize that they aren’t quite what I wanted to study. This summer, I hope to learn more from STEM majors and their research. I believe that all our disciplines and research can be intertwined, and we all have something to learn from one another, and I know that the disciplines I know that least about involve the natural sciences. Majors such as neuroscience and chemistry are extremely fascinating to me, however my knowledge of these areas is very limited. I have found that in the first month of the Brackenridge, however, that I have already learned about more niche areas of these disciplines and learned how research is conducted and what kind of research is needed in these fields.
Some similarities I have noticed are from disciplines that are similar to mine. Their research is mostly reading based and focuses heavily on viewing secondary sources and analyzing them, rather than data observation in a lab. Majors within the humanities, such as Philosophy or English Language have very similar means of research to mine. The differences between these majors and mine, however, are that most of theirs are much more focused on smaller topics such as one author or one style of literature, whereas mine is more broadly focused. I have found this to be a major flaw within my own research, and have discussed with my mentor ways to make my project more focused and narrow. Obvious differences also lie between my own research and the research of those in the natural sciences. They spend much more time “in the field” rather than at the library or in an office space.
There are clear benefits the lie in the interdisciplinary aspect of the Brackenridge. For example, because my research revolved around the effects of fear in law, I feel that I have a lot to learn from someone who works within a psychology discipline, to learn about the psychology of fear and its effects on the human condition. Obstacles included with interdisciplinary work include discipline specific jargon. Especially when learning about research from natural sciences, I find that I frequently get lost in what they are speaking about, simply because I don’t know or understand the terminology. I also find that because of this, taking a major interest, which I feel is important, is more difficult to do because there is a larger learning curve. Regardless, I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to work among my peers and within my cohort during this summer.