This community research fellowship is a great way for me to get both involved with a community in Pittsburgh and get research experience. As a freshman this past year, it has been hard to get involved with everything I am interested in getting involved with. There are avenues that make it easier to find opportunities and organizations and this fellowship has awarded me the opportunity to find one of this opportunities. Overall, this summer experience has helped show me how research works and more specifically what is needed for community research.
I have never participated in research before, but I have read a number of research articles and papers that discuss research and findings. I think one of the biggest differences between the work I am doing and the work I have read about is the finished product. Research that you read about is mostly finished and polished because it has been published. The work I am doing is rough around the edges, and while I will have final deliverables at the end of this fellowship, the work will not truly be done. Despite the difficulty and ambiguity of the end of this project, the work is important and necessary and it makes me feel that I am working on something that is making a difference.
This work with communities is extremely interdisciplinary which allows for different perspectives to be shared within in a research space. My project has involved computer science aspects, which is not really in my wheelhouse, but it has shown me how things work that I don’t even think about. The main drawback to this is coordinating and prioritizing different disciplines within a project. Because we all have strengths, we tend to prioritize our own strengths over someone else’s. As a result, it takes intentional practice to think about other’s strengths and how everyone can work together for a project.
And overall, this research project has helped make connections with people outside of the university only. Almost all careers, including research, involves networking and this fellowship has shown me that networking helps make a project more interdisciplinary. The community that I have worked with is a connection and through working with Allegheny County Policing Project, I can make more connections.