Coming into my second year participating in the Brackenridge Fellowship, I knew I could expect to learn about all sorts of research projects running in equally diverse fields across the university. The fellowship emphasizes research of an interdisciplinary nature, and this is exemplified not only through individual projects that cross academic boundaries but also through cross-disciplinary communication. Students in the Brackenridge Fellowship have the opportunity to gain the nuanced perspectives of our peers while also representing our own fields of study.
I am particularly excited to learn from other students about the research methodologies driving the answers to their research questions. Methods lie at the core of a research project, dictating even how we conceptualize and explain our questions. Several of my peers in the humanities share methodology based in literature review, survey work, or interviews. Researchers in STEM generally participate in more quantitative work with exact measurements or set experiments. Yet we all share common methodological questions: how to operationalize our variables, how to narrow or expand the scope of our studies, and how to gather data in the best way. I am confident that through our conversations, we will be able to answer these questions together and take strong next steps in our work.
The fellowship offers a great opportunity to work alongside students from varying fields to share in the development of strong research communication skills. As a pre-medical student, this is particularly important to being a clear, compassionate, and communicative physician. It is crucial as a physician to be aware of a patient’s background knowledge, personal experiences, and perspective and to respond appropriately. Physicians are not only medical professionals but educators as well. The ability to educate patients and communicate properly with them throughout that process is necessary to provide quality equitable care.
Additionally, it is uncommon for physicians to work in isolation; they share goals and patient care responsibilities with nurses, physician associates, and other crucial medical professionals. Professionals may come from different educational backgrounds or may prioritize different specific goals within patient care (although ultimately, they share the goal of supporting the patient). Being able to communicate my own perspectives and goals while honoring those of the patient and the rest of the medical team is crucial to successful patient outcomes! The Brackenridge Fellowship is the perfect opportunity to grow these critical communication skills.