As the summer draws to a close, I have been prompted to consider not only the conclusion of the Brackenridge Fellowship but the approach of my senior year as well. It is almost surreal to reflect on the two years I have spent pursuing this research question and to now be in the writing stage of my thesis. In a lot of ways, partially due to the nature of busy academic schedules and partially due to the pandemic’s transformative impact on college careers, it is easy for one’s time in college to feel as if it is something happening to them rather than something in which they take an active role. Research is the opposite of this, serving as a reminder that we are active participants and oftentimes the unique driving and sustaining forces behind our own goals. The Brackenridge Fellowship has been a wonderful reminder of this excitement toward conducting research and sharing it with passionate, insightful peers.
Next steps for my project include the finalization and defense of my Bachelor of Philosophy thesis. The defense process is a great opportunity to discuss my project with subject experts and to further contextualize it within the field’s body of literature. I’m looking forward to preparing for that process and becoming a stronger researcher and communicator for it. More broadly, I want to see this project have a positive impact on the communities it involves. I intend to engage with potential community partners for future applied research or volunteer projects that leverage the outcomes of our work. Ultimately, I will use the knowledge I’ve learned in this project in pursuit of a career as a physician. This project has truly affirmed my view that patients’ lived experiences are critically valuable to building trusting, beneficial, and autonomous patient-physician relationships. Shared understanding begins with recognizing patient narratives as meaningful contributions to how we approach clinical conversations. I aspire to use this knowledge to ensure my future patients feel I hear, understand, and respect their needs within the medical context.
As I approach my senior year and the conclusion of my undergraduate career at Pitt, I will cherish my time in the Brackenridge Fellowship cohorts of 2021 and 2022. Brackenridge has given me the opportunity to express excitement about my own research and to pursue it passionately it, but also to meet students with just as much excitement about their own projects. Together, we have learned to adapt to the challenges presented by the ever-evolving process of ongoing research. Even beyond graduation, I look forward to staying connected with the Honors College and my cohort in all the wonderful work they do.
Thank you to the University Honors College, my research mentor Dr. Peg Rosenzweig, my thesis advisor Dr. Anna Marsland, and my cohort of Brackenridge Fellows for making this experience memorable!