Working and Learning Across Disciplines: My Cohort

As I’ve met and interacted with other Brackenridge recipients these past few weeks, I’ve been having a lot of fun hearing about other people’s projects – there’s some level of excitement and intrigue I get upon discovering what other people are working on and what they’re passionate about. I’m looking forward to learning more from them throughout the rest of this summer!

Being in the Brackenridge fellowship is a great opportunity to learn about various different subjects and how they may relate to my own field of study, to see how they may connect. Not only am I learning about the details of their research itself, but there’s also great benefit in observing how my peers are working across their own disciplines. In our weekly seminars I’ve come to realize just how much the word “research” encompasses, and how many ways there are to go about it. I think it’s important to learn about how different theories and conclusions are made across different lines of research, and how to incorporate these methods into my own work in the future.

I’ve heard bits and pieces of what other students’ projects are about, some more similar to my own than others. There seem to be a few projects focusing on Alzheimer’s disease; while I am not studying Alzheimer’s directly, the research I’m doing on neurogenesis can be beneficial to possible Alzheimer’s treatments in the future. There are other neuroscience majors doing research on ADHD and Major Depressive Disorder, which interest me as someone planning to pursue a career in studying pharmacological treatments for such psychiatric conditions. I was placed in a cohort of five other people who are doing projects that are quite different from my own. Many of them have a historical focus, but range in topics from Spanish literature, epidemiology, and environmental science, while mine is more medical/medicinal in nature. I’m eager to learn how their work is done through archival records and how they analyze them. Another project is based on algorithms used to solve a Rubik’s cube, a more theoretical type of research I look forward to hearing more about as well.

It can be dangerously too easy, as someone working in a STEM field, to fall into the trap of being ignorant to other fields of research. We’re put into rigorous classes that require significant dedication, with many of the same students with similar aspirations. There’s a level of perspective that’s needed to truly understand why we’re doing what we’re doing, why all of the work we’re doing is worthwhile, that can only be gained by learning about the other many facets the world has to offer, as well as how research is conducted on them. The more we work together, gaining knowledge across many different fields, the more productive we can be in ultimately making the world a better place.

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