Interdisciplinary Approaches

By: Jasmine Al Rasheed, Sociology and International and Area Studies

The Brackenridge fellowship has introduced me to a diverse cohort of students across disciplines. I hope that interacting with students from other disciplines will help diversify my approaches to research in the future and for my current project. My Brackenridge research project aims to investigate the ability of Pittsburgh to integrate Muslim female migrants economically both in an extensive literature review and through interviews. In discussing this project with other Brackenridge students I have become comfortable explaining my work and research processes. I feel that this comfort is important to building confidence in discussing my research, especially for future employers or graduate programs. Additionally, I am the only sociology major in my group, so I have been able to both learn and teach by discussing in my cohort. 

In discussions with my cohort, I have been introduced to an array of research methodologies and projects. Most of these projects are in the STEM field, which I am not as familiar with. I have been particularly interested in the projects of Eli Ullmann-Kissel, who is collecting data from particle collisions, and Jack Hatajik, who is investigating garlic mustard in different state parks. Both of these fellows are conducting research in completely different fields from my own research, but I feel that I have been able to share methods with them. In Eli’s case, he has given me inspiration to include more quantitative data collection within my own study. For Jack, he has introduced “old school” research methods in observation. These skills in observation could be useful for my interview process in my project. Overall, interacting with members in my cohort has broadened my perspective for conducting my own research project. 

As mentioned before, interacting with fellows from different perspectives has given me insight to broaden my methods and approach to my project. I feel that this is a benefit to working with people across disciplines. One of the consequences of this diversity, however, is that I have not met other fellows within my own field. I feel that interacting with fellows within my own field could also allow a diversifying of perspective by bouncing knowledgeable ideas around. In this sense, a diverse cohort limits making connections within my own field. Nonetheless, I feel that the benefits of broadening my horizons through my cohort outweighs these limitations.

The Frick Library is my favorite study spot on campus

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