Field Journal, 2021 Scholars, Week 1

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  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?
  2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

Please answer these questions by creating a post of your own, and also respond to another student's post. In responding to another student’s post, find a student’s post that you find interesting. Scroll down to the bottom of the entry and hit “Leave a comment”. Leave your reply in the box provided.

Remember: you should post your own responses by Thursday evening. You should respond to another student’s response by Friday evening. I look forward to discussing your reflections when we next zoom meet.

Ariella Lang

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, Columbia University

I am a cultural historian by training, and I oversee undergraduate research and fellowships at Columbia. I also have the pleasure of serving as the coordinator of Columbia's Laidlaw program. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about coming to Columbia to pursue research and/or community engagement!

Comments

Go to the profile of Anna Nuttle
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I had a really great experience this week exploring models and aspects of leadership and leadership development. One thing that I found especially interesting was thinking about leadership as personal development and communication with others. I became more aware of different communication styles and how different or shared values affect the motivation and productivity of a group. 

 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

How might my communication style be interfering with my communication effectiveness? 

Go to the profile of Meghan Rose Forcellati
over 1 year ago

Hi Anna! :D 

 

I agree that thinking of leadership as a form of personal development and communication with others was really interesting. What are some ways you feel you are going to be working on self-development in the weeks/months/years to come? How do you believe factoring the idea of differing communication styles will benefit you as a linguist? 

Go to the profile of Scarlet Au
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

Throughout this week, I enjoyed our series of workshops and found them to be very informative as we explored and tackled different definitions of leadership. I was fascinated by the Co-Active Leadership model and the model's two principles, which combine a) building relationships with team members and b) being proactive to achieve and accomplish goals as a team. I also liked how the model presents novel ways to lead (leading within, behind, beside, in the field) that complement more traditional and hierarchical forms of leadership (Co-Active leader in Front).

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

This week's workshops has made me think more deeply about ways to develop my leadership skills and collaboration with others in an online format.

Go to the profile of Meghan Rose Forcellati
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I have always imagined that leadership was somewhat more traditional, in the sense that I did not know of the existence of a collective leadership which could be created where the entire group would be held accountable for the project rather than one individual. However, the collective leadership model makes a lot of what goes on in science make a lot more sense - frequently, people are working in teams of specialists, and so having each person accountable for their own component to making the overall project work happens rather organically. I had never thought of this as a form of leadership before. 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I will be deferring to next summer, so I believe that maintaining ties with the group I'd like to be doing work with and continuing to follow up on what types of work they are doing will be key to starting next year. I also am in the process of identifying places to do a second project next summer after working with this group. 

 

Go to the profile of Sina Fayaz Monfared
over 1 year ago

Your observations about collective leadership are very interesting. Similar to you, I did not have any knowledge of collective leadership models and how useful they can be. As a person who does not have adequate familiarity with science research, it interests that the collective model is so foundational to science research.

Go to the profile of Bethel Ikenna Adiele
over 1 year ago

Good point about the science field Meghan! With everyone required to be somewhat well versed in their respective fields in the realm of scientific research, they're all leaders pers-say. I think something that makes scientific research utilizes collective leadership would be that every researcher is attempting to solve a general set of questions that the scientific community has decided to solve. Additional questions would give rise to other researchers studying the same question. 

Go to the profile of Chloe Gong
over 1 year ago

Hey Meghan, I agree with what you said about following up with the group you were originally planning to work with and starting to think about the second project! As someone who is also deferring their research, your proactive stance is really encouraging and motivating :)

Go to the profile of Lillian Rountree
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

After this workshop, I feel like I now have a clearer definition of leadership that satisfies me (the idea of "someone responsible for creating part of their world") and all of the different ways that can happen (all of the various Co-Active models). I've appreciated being able to reconcile the idea of "traditional" leadership, with all of its titles and hierarchy-climbing, with newer, more interpersonal ideas of what else leadership can look like (and maybe more of what it should look like). Leadership to me had never been solely this kind of hierarchy-climbing, but what my ideas about leadership then actually are is definitely better articulated now.

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

Trying to prevent burn-out from all the screen-time online research requires is one challenge that I'm concerned about. It definitely didn't feel great to spend whole school days wed to my computer, so finding ways to take remote research offline is definitely a priority for me. My research will involve lots of reading (lots of reading), and hopefully, at least some of that can be printed out to both get me away from my laptop and let me better engage with the texts. In a similar vein for burn-out, I'm intrigued to see what my tolerance limit is for the kind of reading I'll be doing—i.e. how long can I go before needing to take a step back? Most of the texts I'll be working with are policy documents in French, and it's already enough for me to have to deal with just reading in French or just reading policy. Combining them is definitely going to be a new challenge for me.

Go to the profile of Astrid Liden
over 1 year ago

Hi Lillian! I totally agree with the issue of screen-time and managing time to ensure not only that work gets done but also that I can avoid burnout! My research will also be a lot of reading, so hopefully we'll be able to find a way to not burn ourselves out. One tip that has worked for me is to get through a part of the reading (maybe half or less) in one sitting and jot down notes on key points that would be helpful, take a break, and come back to it later. I will also be looking for policy documents and local documents in other languages, and there definitely comes a point where my Portuguese studies won't cut it in reading big important texts. I completely feel you on this new combination, but I think it'll be a great opportunity to dive in unlike other times! 

Go to the profile of Sina Fayaz Monfared
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

These workshops were tremendously helpful as they helped me refine my perception of leadership and what makes a good leader. Prior to attending these workshops, most of my understanding of leadership and leadership qualities was focused on outcome-side of things. I did not have any knowledge of the phycological processes that help a successful leader make calculated decisions. I am confident that the leadership skills that I acquired through these workshops will help me succeed in the future. 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

After the workshop on mind traps, I have an emerging concern about my research. The topic of my research is a hotly-debated controversy among my friends and family. Therefore, I have already been exposed to a myriad of opinions about my topic. My concern is that these opinions might adulterate the integrity of my research. I am wondering how I can prevent this from happening.

Hey Sina! I relate to your concern of the integrity of research being adulterated by opinions. In my case, I feel very strongly about the central issue I'll be researching, and, because I'll be analyzing artworks that engage with and depict that issue, I'm afraid of how much my work will be influenced by that. Although I infer our disciplines and projects are very different, I'm sure our faculty mentors might be of help in identifying strategies to prevent this.

Go to the profile of Carolyn Martinez
over 1 year ago

Hi Sina! 

Like Deborah, I worry a lot about my own opinions seeping into my work and compromising its relevancy. One way I have tried to remedy this is by getting in the practice of interrogating my thinking like I do the texts that I am studying. To supplement this, I frequently bounce ideas off of my mentor and have her interrogate my thinking in the same way. 

Go to the profile of Bethel Ikenna Adiele
over 1 year ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic?

The idea that leadership had at least 5 different models was quite interesting because it opened my eyes to the deeper complexities of the concept of leadership. Leading from the field is not something I had known before, and with our workshops, I've been able to see the different areas in which leadership can be taken. I've always thought that leadership required knowledge of self and others, but while that idea is necessary, how to do these two things is the big question. The workshops have provided me a toolkit of understanding myself and others in a very constructive manner.

 

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are the forefronts in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

A foreseeable challenge is an organization. There's so much to research in the field of health disparities, but scaling it down to a series of checkpoints is something that will be so important. In addition, as with any research project, is it possible to and how can this push the needle in the discussion of health disparities. 

I intend to create a laundry list of areas, ideas, and problems associated with my research area. 

Go to the profile of Neely McKee
over 1 year ago

Hi Bethel! Your research on health disparities looks really interesting and particularly significant in this time. I agree that it can be difficult to narrow down a topic or research idea given how much is out there. I appreciate how you want to make sure your research truly "pushes the needle" and adds something important and new to the conversation. 

Go to the profile of Carolyn Martinez
over 1 year ago

Hey Bethel, 

I am struggling with this myself, I really appreciate you sharing your method of starting this seemingly daunting task of 'catching up' with all the research on health disparities; I have been doing the same and I find that it helps to ground your research in parameters. For instance, I started looking into readings on the history of my topic in the place I am studying and tracking the progression of the ideas surrounding the issue to now.   

Go to the profile of Chloe Gong
over 1 year ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)? 

Attending these workshops has made me realize that leadership isn’t a trait one is born with, but a skill that can be honed through our awareness of our own actions. I especially resonated with the last two sessions, leading in complexity and how to deal with feedback, because I recognized many “mind traps” in my own mental processes. Becoming aware of these “mind traps” allows me to consciously stop myself and think about actions I need to take to become a better leader. 

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project? 

Since my research mainly involves lab work, I deferred my research to next summer. My main concern is that my project will likely not be the same as what I originally planned, since the lab will be continuing on with their own research in the meantime. However, I think the deferral is also an opportunity for me to keep reading scientific literature and continue to learn about the field that I am interested in, so I can be more prepared when I begin my research next summer. 

Go to the profile of Brian Perlstein
over 1 year ago

Hey Chloe! I definitely agree with the idea that leadership is not a quality someone is born with. I think leadership skills are often presented as innate, which is reinforced by the idea that certain people are “natural born leaders.” I also like your take that being an effective leader requires being honest with yourself to understand where your biases lie, and that consciously looking for these “mind traps” is critical for leaders of all types.

Go to the profile of Linus Glenhaber
over 1 year ago

As we end our first week of training, I am excited to begin the research component of my project. While I will be pursuing an independent project, the leadership workshops will still be useful. I found that the workshops we had today to be particularly useful. I had not really thought of leadership in terms of what mental blocks one might have but found this to be useful to be aware of. In my project, I plan on checking in with these tools to ensure that I am pursuing the best goals. While this project is independent, the skills I develop still will be useful for leadership.

 

After talking to my faculty mentor, the first step of my research will be going to the archives to look at the ways the Jacobs and Moses stories have intertwined. I will be looking at two separate archives: book reviews for books such as The Power Broker, and new urbanist such as The Congress of New Urbanism and journals such as PlacesNext City and Metropolis. In these archives—some of these journals are founded as early as 1980—I hope to trace the elevation of Jacobs. This first step will allow my research to adapt as I find specifically which aspect of new urbanism and this elevation interests me the most.

Go to the profile of Charlotte Atkins
over 1 year ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

Over the course of this week, the way I think about leadership has changed much more than I'd anticipated. Before the workshops, I thought of leadership as a fuzzy collection of positive qualities, something you recognize but can't really name. I also thought of leadership almost exclusively in the context of projects or businesses where there is one designated leader and many followers. My understanding is much more nuanced now. I see a leader, having gone through the workshops, as almost more of an adjective than a noun -- a leader can exist and display leadership regardless of setting, and even without the presence of others, as shown buy the Co-Active model. That surprised me, and changed my thinking on leadership significantly.

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

A challenge for me in my research project is figuring out how to work with and draw meaningful conclusions from social media analytics.

Go to the profile of Helen Ruger
over 1 year ago

Hi Charlotte, 

Apologies for the late reply to the blog! I love your changing mentality and articulation of leadership as an adjective rather than a noun. I feel similarly that in various settings the leadership role can shift and individuals that might be termed "leaders" in some are not "leaders" in others, and vise versa. However, I do think this program has taught me to stray away from the binary notion of leader/non-leader, or leader/follower, but rather than individuals can personally be moved to take on a self-constructed version of leadership as the situation allows. 

Go to the profile of Neely McKee
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

While I had done workshops before that focused on certain traits leaders needed to have or challenges leaders should face, it was really interesting to study how leaders interact with other members on a team. Before this workshop, I didn't consider how much each individual in a group's communication style, personality or personal goals would impact their leadership or work with others. I liked how we focused specifically on how leaders work with others and how a good leader should change their leadership style or processes to accommodate for others. 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

As I am working on a faculty-directed project that is both part of the Laidlaw Scholars Program and the Sabin Center, I am interested and a little confused about how my research will interplay between both programs. I intend to speak with my faculty mentor, people at the Sabin Center, and grad student mentor about this. 

Go to the profile of Kate Marsh
over 1 year ago

Hi Neely! I am also confused and excited about the intersection between these two programs. I'm excited to learn more about law and the environment. 

I also found the discussion on individual leadership style unique to this program. I think it was beneficial to discuss how each person is different in how they can lead. 

Go to the profile of Lillian Rountree
over 1 year ago

Hey Neely! I'm also working on a faculty-directed project (with the Menstrual Health and Gender Justice working group at Columbia), and I think it's an exciting position to be in to have access to both the resources of the Laidlaw program and the working group. At the same time, it's also led to some moments of confusion—for example, after talks with my faculty mentor and Dean Lang, it seems like my research might extend beyond the six-week window now that we are working remotely, to better accommodate the new structure of the faculty-led research. Something that I'm looking really forward to from this intersection is the fact that I'll not just be working with faculty, but with another one of the Laidlaw fellows (hi Elina!). I think the experience, while different from some of the more "traditional," solo Laidlaw research led by our peers, will be really fun.

Go to the profile of Kate Marsh
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I learned a lot about how leadership styles differ, but I also learned a lot about social dynamics. I think the most interesting part of the seminars for me was the discussion around praise and criticism. I think communication is such an important part of leadership - how, why, when to communicate - and can make-or-break the relationships within an organization easily. 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

The challenge at the forefront of my mind is about law research and how to use resources and archives properly. I am meeting with my faculty mentor next Tuesday, and I'm reading a few resources he gave me. 

Go to the profile of Astrid Liden
over 1 year ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

Over the past few days, my idea of “leadership” has really developed into one that emphasizes the importance of the intersection of various leadership qualities/styles rather than just one dominant one. The multi-dimensional model of leadership that Pamela presented us with really changed my perspective on leadership because it showed us the communal and totality of leadership skills, making leading a community effort not just an individual one. The session of praise and criticism really resonated with me in terms of managing feedback in leadership. It really helped me to see that receiving feedback only tells you one side of the impact or work you are doing.

 

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I have been in contact with my faculty mentor and will be meeting today, but one concern that the two of us have voiced is the issue of documentation. A lot of the data that I need for my research is simply not being published or even collected at an academic level, so this may mean that I will need to turn to other sources (even contacting people in the countries directly) to see what data I can access. Since I am focusing on the experiences of unaccompanied minors from Venezuela, my mentor suggested I look at past migration trends in Latin America that had significant effects on children, such as the “Peter Pan” children from Cuba and unaccompanied migrants along the US/Mexico border.

Go to the profile of Jungwoo Park
over 1 year ago

Hey Astrid, I like your thoughts on the communal nature of leadership. There are different kinds of leadership strengths (driver, expressive, etc.), and we don't have to be perfect in every one of them but rather find ways to value them equally and play to our individual strengths.

Your project sounds fascinating? Are you planning to work with just migration data, or are you looking to examine personal testimonies/documentation from the minors themselves (if that information is available)? Wishing you the best of luck!

Go to the profile of Jungwoo Park
over 1 year ago

1. I feel that leadership is sometimes overused as a label for any positive human trait. I found looking at different models of leadership and leadership in specific roles/contexts helpful in pinpointing a clearer definition of leadership. This was my first time learning about “leadership in the field,” and it made me think about other leadership contexts I may have never considered. The workshops also made me think about what kinds of behavior or work are privileged as leadership. I think leadership is often connected to visible social or economic productivity: CEOs are usually viewed as leaders whereas care workers and stay-at-home parents are undervalued.

2. My mentor and I have come up with decent methods for collecting the social media data we will need, so I am currently more concerned with effectively applying theory to interpret the data. I think being physically distant from the other people in the program might pose a challenge. Whenever I encounter an academic roadblock, I personally find discussing my thoughts with other people in casual settings (walking to places, over a meal) to be helpful for organizing my thoughts. I want to make an effort to stay connected with other people as much as possible. I am currently reading up on all of the disciplines related to my research in order to build a theoretical foundation before heading into the bulk of my research.

Go to the profile of Paul Hanna
over 1 year ago

I certainly agree with your take on leadership! I think that opening our eyes to different avenues of leadership is important, and leads us to be more effective in those ways, while also considering how one can be a leader in a way that suits their strengths, not in a stereotypical "CEO" way as you describe.

 

I think you're completely right with taking walks and just exploring thoughts over casual settings. I think especially in our time of quarantine, it can get really easy to forget to run ideas by others and to explore avenues of thought by being open to challenges in your thought and reasoning. I'm going to have to implement that myself and make sure I do not get short-sighted in the bigger picture.

Go to the profile of Paul Hanna
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I think I've realized that there are no specific "leader" traits. Where the nuance comes is in using any trait and using that to create effective leadership. In other words, I think I have found that leadership is not simply striving to be a leader, but acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, adapting to them, and being an effective leader in that way. As such, I think I've halted my mindset of "I won't be able to lead," and am instead thinking of it as "what can I do/alter/change to lead more effectively?"

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I plan on reading a BUNCH of other literary magazines, and understanding what their userbase is like and also understanding how they attract a userbase. I think I will look for some existing research (if it exists) and also just look at successful magazines.

Go to the profile of Charlotte Atkins
over 1 year ago

Hey Paul! I totally agree with your new outlook on leadership, its interesting how such a seemingly external quality (action? trait? ugh) is so connected to interiority and personal development. Regarding research, I'm excited to read loads of litmags too! Right now I'm working on metrics analysis, which definitely has overlaps with userbase research. I haven't been able to find much online about how other literary magazines do analytics, which is a little frightening, but also kind of exciting! I think your plan is smart & solid, good luck!!

Go to the profile of Aaron McKeever
over 1 year ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

After we ended our sessions, I spent quite a while reflecting on the preconceived relationship that I held between the concepts of independence and leadership. For a long time, I felt leadership has been taught to me as something that separates one from the larger group, that the road to influence was lonely - ironic, though it seemed. I reflected on the meaning of leader, and it is interesting to me how the German leiten (to lead, to manage) likely stems from leiden (to suffer), as it was in the Old High German (līdan). But the past's dark connotation of leadership stems from a system of heirdom, where responsibility was a "burden" nobility bore - or such a progression would make sense. And as looked back onto the past to make sense of the present, I laughed and knocked on wood three times for good measure. I found myself doing what I shouldn't - I tried to simplify the complex. So instead I meditated on how many hours of the day go by and how much energy goes into trying to make absolute sense of a relatively complex world. I went out for a walk in the late summer evening and wrote a long journal entry about some of the preconceived notions I held about emotional vulnerability and the dualistic nature of empathy - an inquiry of a completely different breed. Still, my ideas around leadership are changing slowly, like the vocabulary morphing across the ages to shape the word that we know today. So, though I think that I may know about hierarchy and the goals of others, I am realizing much of this is simply my opinion of the matter, and I can not begin to break the mold until I am a leader of my own thoughts. So I am beginning to work on this first. 

2. As you consider your research, what questions or challenges are at the forefront of your mind? What steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I have been mulling over the multi-purpose goal of my project, for my project is as much a tool for refining a skill set, which could result in many more inquiries, as it is a method for understanding contemporary political sentiment. Today, as I read the paper, I am distraught and brought over with grief and turmoil. Divisive rhetoric is being used to disenfranchise and dehumanize people in our very country - though this is nothing new. While my project is not based in the United States, I am hoping to grow in my understanding of the political and sociological theory that drives this kind of behavior. Fascism packaged (hence the name) a plethora of social issues into a political tool that was used to manipulate people into undertaking the vilest of crimes, and still remnants of this toxic ideology persist. Only in understanding how these ideas were birthed and nurtured, do I believe that we can begin to mend the damage unduly done to those merciful souls whose senseless and untimely deaths were a result of this poison. I want something larger to come out of this project.

While my project was birthed out of an interest in sociological phenomena and social data analytics, I am coming to realize the complexities which we can never truly untangle, but perhaps, I can begin to see where one end of the string leads to the other - even through the most labyrinthian human knot. I am working to develop a framework of ethics, and though it is mostly a hollow body (for I am only in the early stages), reflecting on morality has really invigorated me. I have begun to parse together a database of different research that is related, directly or tangentially, to my project. I am interested to see how the interdisciplinary nature of this project shapes my research, and what field it will lean into.

Go to the profile of Anna Mishchenko
over 1 year ago

Hey Aaron! I really enjoyed reading how your thoughts on leadership are beginning to change. I think that your description of your original perception of a leader (one who separates themselves from the group) resonated with my previous understanding. I, too, thought leadership was purely individualistic. Your take on its etymology in German is fascinating. Perhaps, the hierarchical distinctions in society that have been engrained into our history have in turn engrained into our minds a universal image of a leader, burdened by responsibility. To reshape our understanding would then mean a departure from history (something that seems so hard to do considering history is what informs our society today). This all sounds complicated and daunting, but I'm happy to be working on becoming a leader of my own thoughts alongside someone else! 

  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I really enjoyed Pamela’s workshops and think that what stuck with me the most was the co-active multidimensional model of leadership. That is not to say that prior to this week I had a “only-one-way-of-leading” understanding of leadership, but the way she laid out the model helped me a lot in identifying what my strengths in a leadership position are and what I could work on a bit more.

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

Because I have no access to Avery Library and physical books/catalogues, I was having a hard time finding resources and artwork images that suited my original research plans. I had to shift my project’s focus from early modern art to contemporary art, and although I’m super excited about where my research is going, I’m afraid of the challenges this change may bring. Modern art just makes sense to me, I’m very familiar with it, and the way primary sources come into play seems natural to me. Contemporary art is… sometimes weird, and it is definitely out of my academic comfort zone. For instance, for a part of my project I’ll be dealing with performance art, a practice I find deeply interesting but to which I’ve only been formally exposed to through a couple museum visits and a 60-minute lecture. That will undoubtedly be challenging, but I’m optimistic that the learning and growth will be greater than the difficulty. By working on contemporary rather than modern art, I’ll also have the opportunity of engaging with the representation of issues that affect my home country in a more direct and relevant way in the present and perhaps even of talking to the artists whose works I’ll be researching (turns out my faculty mentor is Facebook friends with one of them!).

I’ve also been reflecting a lot on how we think, write and conduct research about the history of art when it’s still being written. How does this research practice differ from investigating art produced hundreds or even thousands of years ago? Next week I’ll be assembling the corpus of images of the specific artworks I’ll be working with, gathering information about the social and political background of gender violence and feminicide in Latin America, and figuring out what a research model on contemporary art may look like.

Go to the profile of Elaine Lee
over 1 year ago

hi Deborah,

I imagine with contemporary art, how and where the work was presented or meant to be presented might also send important messages to the viewer (maybe it was a statue meant to be displayed in the corner of the room so that part of it is obscured, etc). I'm curious as to how you can analyze this context when viewing the artwork through a screen.

Go to the profile of Brian Perlstein
over 1 year ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

Before our leadership workshops, I believed leadership to mostly come in the form of a “driver,” who tends to be decisive and forceful in their style of leadership, and whose traits are typically ascribed to those of the traditional leader. However, our training showed me that leadership can take various forms, and those who, like myself, do not consider themselves “drivers” can still function as effective leaders. What I mainly took away from the workshops is that leadership does not have a “one size fits all” approach. In situations where decisive action must be taken, drivers may be preferred, whereas in complicated systems with many moving parts, an analytical leader may be optimal. Different problems will require different solutions, and in each case understanding one’s style of leadership, and where that style’s strengths and weaknesses lie is critical for solving novel challenges.

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

While I am unfortunately deferring my research project to next summer, I am interested to see how B. R. Ambedkar, the writer of India’s constitution and the focal point of my research, approached leadership in both academia and politics. Ambedkar was born into a lowly caste, but was still able to come to America and attend Columbia, and eventually help transition India from a British colony to the world’s largest democracy. Since I cannot currently conduct my research, I am reading Ambedkar’s autobiography Waiting for a Visa, written after his time at Columbia. I hope to familiarize myself with much of Ambedkar’s life, ideas, and growth so as to go into next summer more informed about the leader I will devote my research to.

 

Go to the profile of Elaine Lee
over 1 year ago

1. I learned that leadership isn't necessarily leading from the front/being the first one to charge into battle. Leading from behind/beside/field are also valid types of leadership. These sessions also reminded me that although we often call people "natural born leaders," this trait is trained.

 

2. I will finish making the three graphics I'm currently working on (mask fit is important, how to wear a mask properly, how to improve mask fit). I foresee challenges in making animated videos because I don't have an idea of the actual SPECIFICS I want to address. To address this issue, I will continue gathering data from kids in my community to get an idea of what questions I can answer in the videos.

Go to the profile of Elina Govil
over 1 year ago

Hi Elaine! I definitely agree that I first thought leadership was those who were "in charge" but was glad to learn otherwise. Your animated video sounds very cool and I would love to see it once you're done!

Go to the profile of Anna Mishchenko
over 1 year ago

The most insightful takeaway I got from the leadership training was reworking my understanding of leadership to represent a multi-dimensional model: one that includes different personalities that inform our modes of communication. I used to be uncertain as to how I would define a leader, but I imagined that a leader’s characteristics would be made up of an ideal combination of traits and motivations. I never realized how leaders can take on diverse approaches to leadership and still be equally effective, nor did I ever think about how a workplace, an academic setting, a social situation, etc. might benefit the most from a composition of leaders (the various Co-Active models), rather a single one directing the team. 

 

Going into my research project, I am mostly worried about selecting a strategy to tackle my research question while also refining it to be able to end the six weeks with “successful” research. I am a little overwhelmed about having limited background knowledge about legal theory and how to measure judicial decision-making. I am still unsure how exactly I plan to measure the impacts of artificial intelligence since these cases of innovation are not only relatively new, but they also occur in the real world, not isolated situations. The first steps I intend to take are to begin by reading conceptual literature and familiarize myself with the intricacies of the justice system. 

Go to the profile of Charles Patrick Wallace
over 1 year ago

Hi Anna! I also feel like I left the leadership training sessions with a much more clear understanding of how I would describe a leader. Had this definition matched up with your original understanding before the training session? I definitely originally entered the week with a much more antiquated and restricting view on the roles in which a true leader would display. 

Go to the profile of Jacob Kim-Sherman
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

My understanding of leadership has shifted in that I now have a greater understanding of how to effectively approach complex problems. The greatest takeaway from the workshops was the importance of being able to see around personal biases. From the feeling of rightness to the irrational desire to find simple stories, I can see that I am often prone to these biases. While just understanding that these biases exist is not enough to correct for them, it is certainly a start, and I think that with just a small amount of additional effort, I could make great progress regarding my ability to approach problems in a more rational way.

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

At the forefront of my mind is the question of how I can operationalize and clarify my existing research question, and how I can get around existing gaps in the economic literature and historical data collection that would be important in answering my question. My first step would be to collect a body of relevant knowledge and start to understand what it is that I do not yet know.

Go to the profile of Ian Dorian Macleod
over 1 year ago

1. My understanding of leadership has changed drastically in the past week, especially in terms of my conception of what leadership can and should look like. I think that the "trap of rightness" that Pamela described really resonated with me, because I think that it is easy for leaders to forget about whether or not their actions and decisions are right if they don't remember to be introspective and step back.

 

2.

I think the greatest challenge in my mind is how I can conduct psych research with the SAMC lab without having access to human subjects for interviews. My first step is to meet with my lab manager and determine a good course of action.

Go to the profile of Charles Patrick Wallace
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I would say that my understanding of leadership without a doubt has shifted because of the workshops. I feel like I have definitely been introduced to the idea that leaders don't necessarily need to be in control to still lead. I feel like I had kind of just accepted that without understanding how that would actually look. Because of the workshops, I was able to see just how many different types of leaders there are and how many methods there is to be an effective leader.  I also learned that tailoring one's communication style to the person that someone is talking to can help them more effectively lead that person and I definitely am going to try to explore that in my day to day life. I personally loved collective leadership where every single person is in charge of making sure the final project is a success. I feel like it is so easy to look at the person who best fits the traditional "leader role" and feel like if the project fails the blame will fall on them. Now I have found an alternative that allows everyone to have a stake in the game, thus making it less likely that someone would do subpar work. 

         2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are at the forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I feel really overwhelmed at the prospect of undertaking this project. I am going to immediately start looking at the assignment my graduate school mentor gave me to see if it helps put me on the right track towards furthering my understanding and capabilities of conducting research. I will meet with my professor to check-in to see if he has any further advice for the beginning direction of my research project. I am going to struggle to stay focused because I don't like working at home and still haven't completely adjusted to it. To fix this I am going to sit in my yard to make sure I still have wifi without feeling as restricted as I do in my house. I am going to do all I can to ensure that I stay motivated and focused during the crucial beginning of my research project. 

Go to the profile of Carolyn Martinez
over 1 year ago

1. My perceptions of leadership have changed significantly following the workshops. Like most, I had the traditional idea of leadership that was challenged in the workshops. I think the multidimensional leadership model helped me understand my style of leadership, I tried so hard to disingenuously conform to the traditional model at the expense of the project I was leading. It was also impactful for me to understand different communication styles, and how they function in leadership. Continuing to interrogate these ideas will enhance my leading abilities and my understanding of leadership in different contexts.

 

2. I think the idea of designing an independent project is daunting for me and will warrant a lot of leadership and the employment of different communication skills, especially with it being in an online format. However, I am concerned with the idea of having to spend so much time in front of a screen to make this all happen, my work is humanitarian and I tend to thrive with face to face interactions especailly with my topic of interests 

 

 

Go to the profile of Scarlet Au
over 1 year ago

Hi Carolyn! I definitely agree with how these workshops introduced and provided insight into new multidimensional leadership models. I have found them very refreshing and enlightening, as they have provided me with new ways to view leadership. I hope to incorporate some of these principles and put them in practice next time when I work with others in a collaborative setting as well. 

Go to the profile of Elina Govil
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

My idea of leadership changed by realizing that everyone has the capacity to be a leader in a certain sense but it looks different to every person. As someone who is not always seen as a "driver leader" I was encouraged to know I can still lead by other actions. 

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

Some challenges will be engaging with a schedule despite being at home. I will try to combat that by making myself accountable and setting up a routine. 

Go to the profile of Jaala Alston
over 1 year ago

I have not been present for many of the Zoom seminars Dean Lang is referring to, but I can say that considering I have an upcoming meeting with a Nobel Prize winning economist, my consideration of leadership has changed to consider strategic instances of bravery. 

I believe that as a Black woman in this moment, who is organizing for political change, leadership means a commitment, in every walk of life, to my ideals. It can be hard to make such commitments because we want to think about self-sustaining career planning and other road blocks that may come, but it is my job to stand up for the communities that have nourished me and continue to support my critical development as a person and consequently a leader. 

My issue right now is figuring out a measurable way to approach my research question. The general idea is exciting, I have gotten much support from a variety of people, but the issue right now is very squarely "how do you measure a phenomenon that it is directly against the interest of a nation/government to gather data on?" 

Go to the profile of Devyani Goel
about 1 year ago

Hi (ex) roomie!

1. I miss you.

2. You've managed to put into words something I too have been struggling with–how to operationalize the broad phenomena I'm passionate about into researchable variables. As a social psychology researcher, I often find myself frustrated with the inability to directly measure human biases and instead having to design more and more creative ways to have people share parts of their consciousness that they aren't incentivized to.

Wishing you the best of luck in your work–I'm so excited to learn about all the groundbreaking things you do in your academic career. 

Go to the profile of Helen Ruger
over 1 year ago

Hi! I have not be present for these leadership seminars, but one aspect of my understanding of leadership that has evolved from last summer (and continues to evolve), is my consideration of personal growth and reflection as fundamental to successful leaders. I feel as though often we see leaders externally, and the performative nature of being "determined" "smart" or any other leadership words people often use. However, I think that when one steps into a leadership role, as we are all doing this summer, it is also important to consider one's own critical thinking, reactions, feelings, and allow space to understand a personal relationship to oneself as being equally important to the external interactions. 

The first steps in starting my project were narrowing in on a select set of primary and secondary literature to delimit my initial reading and reactions, before potentially going broader.  I also found it useful to attempt to generate many different subquestions that allowed me to see the different tentacles, as it were, of my thinking. I began very broadly with "how was the female body constructed in ancient Greek medical literature," but began turning up themes of sexual difference, nature, reproduction, medical subjectivity, and others. 

Go to the profile of Yaxin (Cindy) Gao
over 1 year ago

Hey Helen! I can't agree more with your point about how we too often see the external, performative aspect of leadership and tend to ignore the internal experience. Best of luck with your research!

Go to the profile of Yaxin (Cindy) Gao
over 1 year ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I really enjoyed the workshops and they have been informative in helping me understand the different aspects of leadership. Prior to the workshop, I had seen leadership as a single-dimensional skill that one either has or has not. The workshops made me realize that there are different styles of leadership, and that leadership involves various different scenarios, such as leading in complexity and leading in uncertainty. I learned that one may be better at one aspect of leadership and weaker than another, and the workshops have helped me tremendously in reflecting on my own leadership skill and finding the aspects that need most working.

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I am working on a faculty-lead research project, and most lab members are in a time zone that is 12 hours later than mine. Thus, the challenges at the forefront of my mind is keeping up with all the lab work while working remotely. To start my project, I will first create a schedule that allows me to communicate with the lab to the best of my ability, and to read academic papers listed on the lab website to familiar myself with the topic of memory segmentation. 

Go to the profile of Devyani Goel
about 1 year ago

While I haven't attended this year's seminars, looking back, it is quite interesting to think about how my own ideas of what effective leadership is have changed since my first summer when I answered the same question. Last year, I had just started work at a lab with no previous experience in long-term research. From that vantage point, it was easy to view leadership as essentially individualist, where my actions were always most important and deserved to be the focus of my attention.

However, in the past year, as I've grown both as a researcher and as an individual, I've learned that effective leadership is often taking a step back and simply listening. I have had the immense privilege of being surrounded by individuals who are infinitely smarter and more qualified than me, and to be able to just listen has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Beyond just research though, as I've taken on more leadership roles at student organizations on campus, I have learned the true value of letting others speak, of taking a moment every now and then to genuinely reevaluate your own views of the world and, if needed, to comprehensively restructure how you interact with the people around you.

tl;dr: listening is a more important part of leadership than it is often given credit for, and I thank the Laidlaw program for equipping me with the space and the resources I needed to learn that for myself.

Go to the profile of Faith Andrews-O'Neal
5 months ago

I agree that listening is so integral to leadership! When we took the leadership tests and my top two were driver and analytic, I had to take a second and come to that realization myself. While it might be the most "efficient" way of going about things, there is definitely still a lack of listening and open collaboration that is essential to being a part of a team in any context, but especially research. 

Go to the profile of Avi J Adler
6 months ago

1.    How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

This week my understanding of leadership has been reinforced and expanded in numerous capacities. First and foremost, my definition of leadership has broadened to include varying types of leaders. On a similar note, I have also expanded the traits I use to describe leaders. One can lead from behind, the field or from the front, for example. This has deepened my understanding of what it means to be a leader. Furthermore, it has allowed me to see leaders hidden in the daily course of life. In addition to expanding my definition of a leader, this week I have learned how other factors, such as our motivations and biases, play into our varying roles as leaders.

2.    As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

This summer, I am excited to face the many challenges that await. These challenges include understanding the basics of my research topic (such as genetic crosses and Drosophila morphology), keeping data and information organized, and learning lab techniques and protocols. These are not just test of knowledge or thought, but rather opportunities to learn. Although opportunistic, these challenges are nevertheless ominous.

Looking forward to my research and the inevitable challenges, I know I must begin by learning. I will be looking too past experiments, literature and reviews relating to my topic to gain an understanding of what is already known in the field. While doing this I hope to also gather resources that I can turn to when I hit a wall. In addition, I am planning on reaching out to and working with people with varying expertise that can help guide me in my research.

Hey Avi,

Thanks for sharing! I do agree that the multidimensional leadership workshop really transformed what I'd view a leader as. 

Your research sounds extremely fascinating and I'm excited to see where you go with it :)

  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

The recent workshops evolved my perspective of leadership from something hierarchical to something that can be manifested within each individual in order to optimize a group's performance and effectively remove groupthink.

Furthermore, it also reminded me that it is important to consider different personality types within groups when leading.

One small qualm I have: I feel that the leadership workshops are a bit too theoretical and I think that, once the program is in person again, it should have more hands-on activities to apply leadership in.

  1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

Challenges: I have 2 professors I'm working under and one of them is based in London, so there may be difficulties in arranging meetings due to timezones. 

My job while working under these professors is to search for media coverage on the hundreds of case studies listed in their database—a concern for me would be that, due to the mundane nature of this task, I may struggle to see the bigger picture of their research.

As for first steps, I'm meeting one of the professors on Monday and I'm going to email him and schedule a meeting once the Laidlaw schedule for the second week has been finalized.

Go to the profile of Suan Lee
6 months ago

Hi Joachim! I appreciate how thoughtful and honest you were in your post. I agree that a lot of what we learned would benefit from some hands-on practice and can't wait for more opportunities to do that (hopefully!) in the fall. And I definitely hear you on your concerns about losing sight of the bigger picture—that's something I'm keeping in mind for my own research too. I'd love to hear about how you work through that as the summer progresses. Good luck! 

Go to the profile of Eleanor Campbell
6 months ago

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Joachim! I like your referring to groupthink because I think it's a big issue we only got to scratch the surface on in this first week. When we saw the slide with two organizational models, one with a single leader at the top and one with a number of leaders at all levels, I found my first instinct was to defend the traditional model. It seems having only one person designated as leader would be more efficient, especially given my experience in group projects in which no one wants to seem bossy, so no one takes the lead and nothing gets done. But as we talked more, I began to realize that I was thinking of a situation without any leaders, whereas Pamela was talking about a situation with all leaders. There's still a way to be efficient here, as people realize their strengths and how those strengths complement one another. And it is so powerful to have thinkers at every level and to prevent groupthink because that really can lead to all sorts of creative solutions that a traditional approach might block.

Go to the profile of Ariella Lang
5 months ago

Thank you for your suggestion, Joachim, to consider leadership in both theoretical and applied terms! I look forward to the time when we can return to experiential leadership workshops in the fall/spring! 

Go to the profile of Suan Lee
6 months ago

1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

Our workshops this week have expanded my understanding both of what leadership can look like and the personal qualities conducive to good leadership. The "Leader Behind," for example, is a role I previously understood as that of a follower, and one I expected to overlook in a program like Laidlaw that invests in "leadership potential." But of course, knowing when to support from behind rather than initiate in front is not only compatible with good leadership, but an absolutely critical skill. Similarly, the "Leader Within" is a concept that resonated especially with me, as I had always considered leadership to be interpersonal—something I could only enact and improve by engaging with others. In fact, my capacity for leadership is something I can practice and refine everyday in my own company.

2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

I'm keeping a meticulous eye out for any unconscious or anchoring biases that might tinge my work. Because I'm quite new to the topic I'll be researching, I'm worried I might be particularly prone to simple stories and will need to deliberately counter that inclination. While the RBML has been preparing the microfilm reels I need (it takes about a week!), I have prioritized reading primary documents—i.e. the writings of B.R. Ambedkar himself—so as to gain a working knowledge of his ideas from the original source rather than other mediated interpretations.

Go to the profile of Alisha Arshad
6 months ago

Hi Suan,

I admire the initiative you've taken in maximizing your research time. It's great that you have been reading primary sources (and that you have access to them!). I'd love to hear more about what you've learned through Ambedkar's writing. I hope you receive the reels soon and I can't wait for more updates about your project!

Go to the profile of Adina Cazacu-De Luca
6 months ago

Suan, 

I also saw previously saw leadership as inherently interpersonal. I appreciate your positive outlook on the "leadership within" category as something you can work on independently. Although we're working in separate fields, I'm also worried about anchoring biases (and may already have had to redirect my research because I fell-down a rabbit hole caused by my own anchoring!). I'd love to hear more about how you plan to use the microfilm reels, as well as what you've learned from your primary source work. 

Excited to see what comes next!

-Adina

Go to the profile of Alisha Arshad
6 months ago

    1.

    Before the workshops this week, my perspective on leadership was quite shallow, with me largely associating it with “leading from the front” and certain professional titles. However, with these leadership workshops, I was able to expand my definition to different models of leadership that I had never considered before: leading from behind, leading from beside, leading from within, etc.

    I am now able to take a new approach to leadership and have learned that everyone can be a leader in some way, regardless of their status in a hierarchical structure.

      2.

      I recently met with my faculty mentor and his research partner. My primary focus will be analyzing bills introduced in Congress (beginning in 1950) concerning the social issues the project covers (abortion, LGBQ+ rights, etc.). One challenge I have to tackle (essentially my first steps in this project) is figuring out how to access congressional journals. They don’t seem to be as easy to find as state records, so I will soon reach out to my personal librarian for help!

      Hi Alisha!

      What you said about your understanding of what a "leader" looks like having expanded to include hierarchies where anyone, including people traditionally seen as "followers," can demonstrate leadership, has really resonated with me. That's such an interesting take-away from the workshops this week, and the chance for our cohort to discuss them even as we go on to work on 25 different research projects and with different teams/advisors in the coming weeks. Your project also sounds incredibly fascinating! I had also been thinking about reaching out to my personal librarian to get some advice on finding resources—hoping it all works out well, and looking forward to hearing how this develops!

      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      I think the workshops this week furthered my understanding of the relationship between being a ‘leader’ and the amount of control one can have over one’s surroundings. Generally, I think we get exposed to the idea that ‘leading’ means being able to develop and execute some kind of agenda in a group setting; however, as we talked about this week and have seen over the last year, we often cannot control whether a project is executed as we thought it would be, even within a group, because of all the external factors that can affect it. As a result, I found the leadership workshops’ emphasis on understanding our individual selves—our motivations, goals, modes of communication, attitudes to leadership—meaningful. It seems like an important way to shift focus to what is in our power to comprehend and shape, and to how, with this knowledge, we can collaborate and learn from others meaningfully in group settings—in a sense more empowering and useful as a kind of ‘inside-out’ approach to leadership.

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      My first steps include becoming familiar with the primary sources for my research, and honing in the methodology I seek to use. For the first part, I am working to identify and access the poetry and essay collections I will be focusing on, since this has expanded somewhat from my original Laidlaw proposal to include other women poet-activists in India, such as Mahadevi Verma. One challenge I think I may face here is language accessibility, as there are often limited English translations for these works. I have been using Columbia Libraries to access the English translations available, and also think expanding to Verma would help as she wrote in Hindi, a language I can read/write (unlike Roy’s writings, in Bengali); I also think another conversation with the South Asia librarian, Gary Hausman, can offer some insight into approaching this challenge.

      The other “first step” I’ve been working on concurrently is developing my research methodology. To this end, I am going through my faculty advisors’ writings on women poet-activists in 1960s Greece, which serve as a kind of exemplar for my own project and research interests.

      Hi Mrinalini! Your comments about the leadership seminar are incredibly insightful, and I 100% agree. I was trying to figure out why leading from within felt so comforting to me, and I believe it is that control factor that you mentioned. I had never conceptualized leadership as this heavily internal experience, and knowing that there is a concrete way for me to improve my leadership without being beholden to outside factors is very meaningful.

      In terms of your second response, I am also struggling with language barriers. I am looking into Chinese history, and there is this phenomenal book on an individual I want to research. However, it is in French/Chinese, and I am not adept enough in either language to read a complex art historical text. Hopefully, I can find an English translation or another source that is equally as in depth. 

      Go to the profile of Bryley Williams
      6 months ago

      1. One of my main takeaways from the leadership workshops is that the act of being aware of the self, of others, and of things like mind traps can go a long way in improving leadership abilities. I was not expecting to do as many self-assessment activities as we did, but I now recognize that through identifying social styles, motivations, and our "leader within," we can better understand how to develop ourselves as leaders and collaborate with others in a meaningful way. Similarly, when we are aware of our tendency to fall into the traps of control or rightness, for instance, we are able to actively oppose these mind traps and better confront complexity.

      2. This week I have really realized how short the time frame for this summer of research is! I am going into my project with a lot of big ideas, but after meeting with my faculty mentor, I now see that not biting off more than I can chew this summer will help me in the long run. I've decided to work on an annotated bibliography that will delve deeply into the context of my research so that I will have a solid foundation for a future research paper and field work.

      Go to the profile of Avi J Adler
      6 months ago

      Hey Bryley! I couldn't agree more, I found it so interesting how much of our leadership training was devoted to being self aware. I really like the connection you draw between the different activities and traits of leaders. It is interesting to note how much can be summarized in the idea of just being aware of oneself. Also, I am thinking the same! The timeframe feels so short. A solid foundation sounds like a great place to get started.

      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      Prior to this week, I had a very limited understanding and conception of leadership. When thinking about a leader, I had always thought of the traditional "Leader from the Front" image. However, now, I understand that there are a variety of ways to be a leader that can involve extensive cooperation and introspection. Leadership is much more broad, internal, and amorphous than I realized. As someone who has never been the most adept at being a "Leader from the Front," the existence of other leadership styles is comforting to me, and I can't wait to enhance my skills by applying the various habits that I learned. 

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      I am primarily concerned about how much information already exists about my research topic and how I could possibly tackle all of that complex academic labor in such a short period of time. In order to start my project, I plan on making a more detailed research plan and discussing with more experienced art historians about the sources I should prioritize. 

      Go to the profile of Eleanor Campbell
      6 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      I've realized that leadership can be conceptualized via certain parameters (social styles, motivation styles, types of leadership) that instead of constraining leaders can instead expand their potential. In a way it's liberating to know that you are analytical, or expressive, or security-motivated, or achievement-motivated because then you can know where your strengths are and where you might have room to grow in working with people of different leadership styles. 

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      I know I'll be helping my faculty advisor collect research over the next few weeks, but a question at the front of my mind is what form that research will take. Should I be writing a paper as I go along? Starting my poster for the presentation in the fall? I want to make sure I'm being diligent in documenting my research!

      Go to the profile of Adina Cazacu-De Luca
      6 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      Previously, I've seen self-care as something important but separate from my academic life. Now, I see the two as more intertwined. We've been reminded repeatedly that prioritizing wellbeing allows us to do our best work (as opposed to centering the work and hoping to keep wellbeing above a baseline). Also, considering wellbeing as a subcategory of leadership was new for me. Then again, "take a break in order to be the best leader you can be," sounds more convincing than "take this break because you're tired."

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      My initial exposure map idea will probably be unfeasible/not actually helpful for NYC parents. I've learned that lead is so spatially heterogeneous that giving an entire park one lead level wouldn't be accurate. That said, a large amount of lead measurements are available, and there is spatial statistics work to do, it'll probably just look different than I originally thought. For the upcoming weeks, however, I'm going to focus on a more chem-lab look at lead. How can the structure of different commonly-found compounds containing lead be measured (perhaps using solid-state NMR)? How do differences in structure affect the bioavailability of lead? Once considering these questions with model compounds, we might test field sites with known high lead levels to see which species are most present. How can this work still serve NYC parents and limit children's lead exposure? 

      Go to the profile of Angel Rose Latt
      6 months ago

      Hi Adina!

      I was in the same boat as you in terms of separating wellbeing with other aspects of life, but instead I've learned that it is intrinsically incorporated into our work, academics, and self. Oftentimes, I too find myself prioritizing my wellbeing in times of stress and anxiety (such as around midterms/finals) rather than 24/7. I like your thinking of framing self-care to be a better person and leader instead of doing so simply because you're tired, love that mindset! I also like the more chemical approach you're starting with. Getting a feel for and better understanding of the natural forms of what it is that you're working with will definitely give you more nuanced and deeper insights. Looking forward to hear more about what you find and best of luck!

      Go to the profile of Chloe Gong
      5 months ago

      I love that you are already adjusting your research plan to make it more practical--it seems that you've given it a lot of thought and have some interesting ideas on how to start your project. I think it's great that your research combines lab science techniques with tangible implications in the real world. Wishing you the best of luck!

      Go to the profile of Angel Rose Latt
      6 months ago

      1. Upon entering the virtual workshops, my understanding of leadership was from a more top-down perspective, with singular or multiple entities being at the top giving guidance and instruction to the majority and a trickle-down system of leadership. However, I recently learned from the workshops about the diverse nature of leadership and how one can participate in being a leader from different perspectives. The typical idea of a leader comes from being a leader in front.  Yet, we can be a leader from behind, within, in the field, and still be able to give our voice, support, and presence. Furthermore, the workshops rid me of the idea that only certain personality typed leaders exist. As a more expressive, driver, and analytical individual, I now see the pros and cons to my drive and work ethic and the contributions I provide as a leader. Leadership is a collaborative effort both internally and with others. 


      2. A few of the challenges I am facing currently is learning to take up new research tools to utilize as I begin my project. This summer, I will be learning and using data visualization tools using programming, all of which is new to me. With the guidance and support of my PI and lab members, I hope to be able to learn more about the intersection of data science, neuroscience, and psychology. I intend to learn some Python specifically for psychological scientists and play around with data visualization. I also hope to take advantage of the plethora of study spaces on-campus since my PI allowed me to have a flexible and self-paced schedule. Overall, I am excited to see where these first few weeks of diving into my research will take me.

      Go to the profile of Joanne Park
      6 months ago

      Hi Angel! I definitely agree with the first thing you said about the diverse nature of leadership: it was really illuminating to start to think of leadership as a malleable form, instead of just something certain individuals—of a certain personality type or even position in society—intrinsically are born to take on. I've found myself getting too hung up on this idea of a "natural born leader", growing frustrated with myself when I feel as if I don't "naturally" take on traits that leaders have. It's relieving to see that, because leadership is so collaborative, the people whom I am working with can supplement the personality traits that I have to create an effective team.

      Go to the profile of Rizwan Kazi
      5 months ago

      I completely feel for your second point: I feel grossly unprepared to take on the research project I'll be working on for the next couple weeks. But I'm not worried: I'm actually really excited as you are to be taking on the challenge of fluency in so many novel methods of research.

      Go to the profile of Joanne Park
      6 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      I think my perception of what it means to be a leader has shifted from a result/end oriented mindset to a more process oriented one. The first workshop, where we learned about several modes of leadership (leading from the front, back, and the sides), radically changed my previous view of leadership—which was that leadership is only ever "from the front". Furthermore, the thought of leadership as an act of taking responsibility means that your work as a leader is never really over, even if it is the case that you have been designated the "highest" leadership position. 

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      The biggest challenge for me is the thought of having to both self-direct and self-guide my work. Though I'm working with a professor, I also plan on pursuing a research question that is analogous to but not part of the work I'm doing with Prof. Mercer: exploring philosophy of education, and finding pedagogical tools to make more ideal theories accessible. However, I find that—due to my inexperience in this field—I'm not sure how to begin going about researching: there isn't necessarily a set of materials for me to browse, or a dataset that I can rely on. The first steps I intend on taking are, in addition to doing some of the tasks set out by Prof. Mercer, doing some reading from various authors who have thought about pedagogy/philosophy of education to get a better grasp on the field.

      Go to the profile of Bryley Williams
      6 months ago

      Hi Joanne!

      I really relate to the shift from a result-oriented mindset to a process-oriented one—this week provided a really valuable reminder that it is important to focus on the act of leadership itself rather than exclusively looking at a goal or end point. I also love what you said about how the work of a leader is never over, and I think that learning about different perspectives of leadership helped me to understand this. I have also been grappling with the challenge of self-directing my work this week. It sounds like the first steps you are planning on taking will be really fulfilling, and I'm so excited to hear how your research goes!

      Go to the profile of Jeffrey Xiong
      6 months ago

      1) How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      The workshops gave me a solid foundation for thinking about leadership more complexly. Prior to the workshop, I generally thought about leadership as one concrete skill, rather than the accumulation of different abilities. From this, I have learned how to think about the aspects of leadership I'm weak in and the ones I'm stronger in, which has given me a new direction towards improving as a leader.

      2) As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      Currently, my main challenge is finding people for oral history interviews and conducting these interviews in a sufficiently detailed manner. Since I haven't done them before, I plan on reaching out to other researchers undertaking similar projects and learning about how to interview most effectively

      Go to the profile of Dennis Zhang
      6 months ago

      Hey Jeffrey!

      As someone who is also conducting research with qualitative methods (that I have not experienced before), I definitely relate to the challenge of trying to ensure my methods are carried out efficiently and effectively. I was lucky to find a supervisor who graciously provided me with several foundational readings that taught me not only how I could carry out certain methods, but also why we were using them (in the context of the overall research methodology and goals). I think your plan to reach out to experienced researchers doing similar work is a really good first step!

      Go to the profile of Dennis Zhang
      6 months ago

      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      Our workshops challenged my preconceived notions of "good" leadership as a monolithic set of behaviors and traits. In particular, the workshop on our different social styles (e.g. analytic, driver, etc.) prompted me to think more intentionally about effective approaches to collaborating with people who differed not only in interests / expertise, but also in the fundamental nature of their personalities. Through exercises like these, I learned to appreciate how manifestations of "good" leadership often differ from scenario to scenario, and to adopt a more flexible approach moving forwards.

      2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      The major challenge in the forefront of my mind is familiarizing myself with the various jargon and moving parts associated with my research project on precision medicine. Given my limited exposure to this field so far, it's definitely challenging to connect certain ideas right now, but I feel myself making progress as I parse through the current literature. I have already met several times with my research supervisor to go over our research methods and the projects I'll be taking on, but the first steps I need to take next week are to simply get started and begin collecting interesting sources to analyze/close read later.

      Go to the profile of Simon Ogundare
      6 months ago

      Hi Dennis!

      I definitely agree that it's important to recognize that the ways leadership manifests is often different in different scenarios. I think that's it's also extremely helpful not only to recognize one's own capabilities as a leader, but also to figure out how to "slot in" with others, and how complement others' skills. On an unrelated note, I'm really excited to see where your project goes from here! Precision medicine is such a fascinating topic, and I'm curious about some of the literature you've discovered so far!

      Go to the profile of Simon Ogundare
      6 months ago

      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      When I've been asked to describe it in the past, it's been challenging trying to explain exactly what leadership is. The workshops we've had over this past week have both helped me come closer to a more concrete definition, and also existed as an important reminder of the variety that exists in terms of leaders, leadership styles, and strategies.

      Even now, it's so convenient to assume that all "good leaders" (however we choose to define good leadership) fit a particular mold or follow a specific pattern to success. At least, in popular media, these kinds of pathways are much more prevalent than others. I think the first workshop on a multidimensional model of leadership was extremely helpful in breaking this popularized idea. In reality, holding to these stagnant characteristics of leadership can sometimes eclipse the more dynamic roles that leaders today tend to take, which personally I think make them much more resilient to changes when they come about (and they often do)!

      2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      I've definitely been considering how I'll adapt my method and materials based on what my preliminary results look like. On these lines, I've planned with my mentor and designed up a very preliminary experiment just to confirm that what's happening with my CO2 scrubbing structure performs exactly (or similar to) how I've hypothesized. Once that's underway and more or less confirmed, I've developed a more comprehensive method which will be the primary focus for the next couple of weeks.

      Go to the profile of Nicole Wolff
      5 months ago

      Hey Simon, 

      I completely agree that we do not fit into clear-cut roles as leaders. Even though I received results as an amiable/expressive leader, I definitely associated myself with some characteristics of the analytical and driver types as well. It seems that we've collectively learned that good leaders are flexible and adaptable, which is crucial during such uncertain times. It also seems like you're taking things one step at a time with your research plan, which is very smart! Best of luck with your project! 

      Go to the profile of Chloe Gong
      6 months ago

      I am working in an immunology research lab this summer, and one of the challenges I anticipate facing is experiments not going according to plan. In scientific research, we almost always start with a hypothesis of what the results of the experiment will be, but very often, there can be factors (either known or unknown) that lead to unexpected outcomes. I've learned that it's important to be flexible and think of ways to continue/improve the experiment, whether that means adjusting your research timeline or testing different conditions. Either way, failures can be just as valuable and informative as successes!

      Go to the profile of Nicole Wolff
      5 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      These workshops have emphasized to me how important each different method of leadership is. I previously criticized myself whenever I had difficulty with leading in front, but now I've learned that the other four leadership styles are equally beneficial. These workshops have taught me to appreciate the leadership qualities which come natural to me, particularly leading from beside and being an amiable/expressive leader. I'm learning not to be so harsh on myself regarding the leadership styles that aren't as natural for me, especially because it is efficient to work on a team with people of different leadership styles.   

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      I know that teaching myself how to implement code to search through data will be difficult, and I am still unsure how often to ask my mentor and other students for help. I plan to work through as much as I can before getting stuck, and make a thorough list of questions to ask the other students in my lab before meeting with them on Zoom. I also plan to use a paper notebook to organize myself, especially as I am relearning Python. 

      Go to the profile of Jeffrey Xiong
      5 months ago

      Hi Nicole,

      I definitely agree that the change in mindset and approach to leadership has been helpful! I used to be disappointed that I wasn't able to "lead" in the traditional sense, but learning about different aspects of leadership has helped me appreciate my efforts more and also learn more from other leaders more effectively. I also think your plan sounds very effective! Learning from others is always great

      Go to the profile of Roberta Hannah
      5 months ago

      Hi Nicole! I definitely relate to learning to value the different leadership styles and working to be less hard on myself. Something that has been helping me is thinking about how any difficulties I realize I have or critiques I receive help push me forward. By making note of how these realizations are preventing me from messing up really bad or taking even longer to reach the same conclusion makes it feel less like a mess up and more like a progress. Our projects are pretty different, but if there's anything I can ever help with, you can ask me as many questions as you need! Good luck this week!

      Go to the profile of Roberta Hannah
      5 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      Going into the workshops, I knew that leadership came in different forms without valuing them all. Leading from the back felt as less influential than leading from the front. This thought process stems a lot from how I was raised, which was being told that if your name was not the one in big gold letters, you were not "in charge." Now, after hearing the stories of other scholars and with Pamela's workshops, I realized the value of every type of leader. That ultimately caused me to rethink my desire to lead, how I want to lead, and even my feelings towards becoming a researcher full-time in the future. Knowing that I am still a valuable leader in the back, side, etc., I feel more confident in my work.

      2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      I began my research last week, but my work was mostly finishing the work on her chapter that was already started. This week, I will be starting working on the other 2 chapters completely from scratch and having to trust my own intuition. That part is a little bit challenging because I want to work to the level of Dr. Moore's previous research assistants. My plan is to just be very attentive and ask a lot of questions if I have them so that I can do what she needs me to do. 

      Go to the profile of Mia Richmond
      5 months ago

      Hi Roberta, I completely agree with your comments about how leading from the back can sometimes feel less influential than leading from the front, even though the work done is just as valuable. In some cases, leading from the back reminds me of the importance of leading by example, as sometimes you can contribute the most to the team by doing your part with passion and commitment. I think it can be difficult for those who lead from the back when they perhaps don’t get as much recognition or credit, however, it can be just as rewarding if they are going in-depth and working towards something they care about. Since I am a new research assistant this summer, I think a lot of my work will involve leading from the back and learning from more experienced lab members, which I am very excited about!

      Go to the profile of Mia Richmond
      5 months ago
      • How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      Throughout our various workshops and group discussions, my understanding of leadership and leaders has shifted from a more traditional/hierarchical position (defined by authority or title) to something more collaborative and relationship-oriented. I really enjoyed the communication style self-assessment, as it provided me with the opportunity to reflect on how my communication style shifts depending on whether I am in a professional, academic, or social setting. Additionally, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of drivers, expressives, amiables, and analytical allowed me to see that all types are valuable and essential to teamwork. Although my highest scores were for Driver and Analytical, I had points in all four categories, which made me realize that nobody is just one style, which can allow us to adjust our communication depending on specific circumstances. 

      • As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      So far, I have attended lab meetings, zoom training for the new RAs, and observed three studies to familiarize myself with the zoom interview procedures. I also completed the ethics training on CITI for human research, human subjects protection, and research with minors, as well as the IRB conflict of interest disclosures. At our lab meeting on friday, it was fascinating to hear from senior lab members about their specific areas of study, procedures, and results. Although I had been familiarizing myself with past papers and pre-existing literature in the field, hearing directly from researchers provided great insight and context. At the moment, I am working on data entry and am practicing conducting studies on other new RAs.

      Go to the profile of Evan Li
      5 months ago

      Hi Mia, I agree with your point on how everyone has their own unique leadership and communication style. In my past experiences tutoring K-12 students, I've found myself adapting my teaching methods for each particular student/class. This implies that leadership frameworks should be flexible. 

      Go to the profile of Evan Li
      5 months ago

      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      Initially, I thought that leaders required a special type of personality with a specific set of skills. However, the workshops taught me the diversity in leadership. Leadership is not a monolith, and people with different personality types lead in different ways. In the future, I think it will be fun to simulate these ideas in the context of mini-games/team sports.

      2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      Challenges: I am unsure on which models I should use to tackle my research problem. I have some in mind, but it is only because I am already familiar with those models. I do not want my approach to be biased towards technologies I am already familiar with.

      First steps: I have been reading a lot of papers that tackle similar research problems as my project. I hope to reproduce the results in those papers, see the advantages/flaws from their algorithms, and then develop my own approach. I have met with my research mentor to discuss some preliminary experiments I should try.

      Go to the profile of Ava Sanjabi
      5 months ago

      Hi Evan, I definitely relate to the feelings of being biased toward technologies that you are familiar with. I think it helps to speak to mentors and professors who are experienced in technologies that you are less comfortable with to see how they approach experiments. Using their expertise often helps me develop my own plan.

      Go to the profile of Hassan Javed
      5 months ago

      Hey Evan, I completely understand your point of realizing that leadership is not a monolith through the workshop experience. I came in associating the word leadership with "power," a word I had viewed with a negative connotation. But similar to you, I came to realize that leadership does not always mean a cult of personality - it means an opportunity to serve. And as you mentioned, this opportunity to serve - regardless of whatever position - carries a tone of teamwork and selflessness.

      Go to the profile of Faith Andrews-O'Neal
      5 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

      I think the most prominent ways my understanding has changed has been by the fact that I now understand in a more tangible ways the differences in leadership. While I, on some level, understood that people can lead without being the most extroverted or assertive, seeing the ways each model of leadership brought different strengths to the table made me gain a stronger appreciation for those in my teams (and friendships) whose styles of leadership are more understated, or driven by a consideration for others as opposed to simply getting a goal done.

      1. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      The main question on my mind is how can I best contribute to the project? As the book project (The American Diva) is in its final steps, I want to make sure that I am able to be productive and add to the discussion being had as it is an important one. The biggest challenge I've had thus far is unlearning the idea that, because my work isn't necessarily tied to health sciences or the most pertinent social issues, that it isn't as important as some of my peers. However, having the time to talk to the graduate student mentors about being a part of a larger historical conversation is helping me realize that everyone's work is important and valid and part of a larger intellectual arc.

      Go to the profile of Ava Sanjabi
      5 months ago

      1. The models of leadership that we discussed during the workshops provided concrete titles for aspects of leadership that I was already familiar with, and it taught me new facets of leadership that I had never thought of before. My understanding of how to be a better leader has greatly expanded, especially in regards to the mindtraps that individuals must overcome. 

      2. The greatest challenges relate to the "thinking" part of my research. Creating a detailed plan of action for how to approach samples and testing in the lab is the most significant part of conducting the actual experiments. To do this, I will meet with lab leaders and discuss the routes I can take for a successful project.

      Go to the profile of Hassan Javed
      5 months ago
      1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?
      2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project?

      Through our workshops, and particularly through learning about leadership styles, my understanding of the space leadership occupies has fundamentally changed. I think that over the course of my schooling, I came to understand leadership in a negative light - one revolving around the abuse of power. From the experience of my parents who came from lands of military dictatorships to the classic textbook examples of leaders having a cult of personality surrounding them, I viewed leadership as anything but constructive.

      But, through my workshops, I came to understand that leadership - or power for that matter - is constructive. It is not in a vacuum and nor is it zero-sum, such that anyone can create it without impacting the share of power another person carries. This is what gives rise to leadership directions, such as leading from behind and from the side.

      As I begin my research project, I am faced with the challenge of narrowing my research question. I plan to study how developing countries can escape debt-traps like China's BRI as they install infrastructure, but my first step is to narrow in with a disciplinary focus. Right now, I need to decide whether I need to approach this topic from a political focus - one which studies the dynamic between the developing and developed nation - or one from an economic focus, one which focuses within the developing nation itself and sees what resources it has available.

      Go to the profile of Rizwan Kazi
      5 months ago

      This week's leadership workshops brought out the various styles of leadership that come together for better practices. I found it really interesting that there are so many specific ways of being a leader, while not necessarily presenting oneself as one.

      With these workshops, I'm left with one greater question: how do I adapt to use the different forms of leadership, working from behind as an RA but also in front in performing novel research?

      Go to the profile of Grace Lim
      4 months ago

      Hi Rizwan, I think the two scenarios that you mention in your answer to the second question are really important to consider! I hope that you will be able to take the flexible attributes of a good leader and apply them to your work as an RA and also as a researcher. 

      Go to the profile of Grace Lim
      4 months ago

      1. One aspect of leadership that really stands out to me is how communication-focused a good leader has to be. Oftentimes, leaders are thought to be individuals who are at the very front of the team, somehow standing out from other team members. However, the communication that is required of a good leader reminds me that a necessary requirement for leadership is cooperation and collaboration, which cannot exist without the entire team. 

      2. As I begin my internship, one question that stands out is: how can I develop my communication skills on a completely online format? What aspects of working online should I be wary of as I fine-tune my leadership skills this summer?