Field Journal, 2022 Scholars, Week 1

  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 meet!

Comments

Go to the profile of Wena Teng
about 1 month ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

       Engaging with new leadership models has allowed me to deviate from the conventional and mainstream understanding of leadership. In many professional spaces, leadership is assumed through a hierarchical lens or through one rigid model. However, this week's leadership workshops -- on navigating leadership through horizontal collaboration and different forms of leadership -- allowed me to envision the possibilities for radical leadership, communication, and efficiency. Leading with empathy, managing criticism, and celebrating joy are skills any leader needs, beyond delegating or spearheading a project.

  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: Considering the short 6-week research time, I am conflicted on whether or not to make my project more specific. In doing a comparative study on China and US's public dissent, I intended to analyze three areas -- language presented in public policy, legal cases, and historical movements/figures -- and how they influence public dissent manifested through art, poetry, and performance. However, I need to hone the focus of my study by possibly just picking one area to study. 

First Steps: I am in conversation with my faculty advisor, Professor Dorothy Ko, about finding material and resources that would allow me to specify my area of research. I am currently doing some readings relating to public policy, legal cases, and historical movements in China, which would hopefully allow me to see which areas are more accessible for research.

Go to the profile of Denise Taveras
about 1 month ago

Hi Wena! 

I feel like cutting down a research topic is one of the hardest parts of the process for me. It's really difficult to have something that you are really passionate about but not be able to share all of it. Even so, I'm sure you can do it and I'm wishing you a lot of luck! 

Go to the profile of Elianna Lee
about 1 month ago

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

This week's workshops expanded my own understanding of leadership as a multi-dimensional effort, and I really like the concept of the 5 different types of leadership. This allowed me to more precisely pinpoint the areas which I needed to grow my own leadership skills. Additionally, I became more aware of how important communication is to basic leadership and professional relationships. Though having the quality of leadership is not unique to each person, how one chooses to lead is a reflection of their character.


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 think one of the challenges to my project is observing cultural reception of certain products, as products may have drastically different impacts on different groups of people, collecting precise data on this might be difficult. The first steps I intend to take with this project are making a list of popular toys during the early 2000s aimed at girls; from there, I will narrow my list into those who project an image of a "diva".

Go to the profile of Alejandra Díaz-Pizarro
about 1 month ago

Hi Ellie! 

I had a very similar experience with my awareness of growing leadership skills and areas of development, so I could definitely relate to you in that regard! I also like your reflection that leadership is not a unique trait or quality, but something you can have some more say in.

As for your project, I'm really excited to see how this develops—I think the 2000s are an area that receives a lot of social discourse and attention, so to see that transition into the academic arena is exciting. I'm also interested in the definitions of 'diva' and 'girl' that will arise from your project, can't wait to see!

Go to the profile of Yoni Kurtz
about 1 month ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

The workshops this week expanded my view of leadership from one that was mainly about top-down leadership done with care to a broader understanding of leadership that encompasses those who seek to lead in ways that are less frontal. I have come to understand that being a leader is not just about being the most visible, and is not even about one thing specifically, but rather is a wide-ranging mode of behavior that positively moves action forward.

     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?

For me, the greatest challenge to my project will be determining the scope and historical perspective that I choose to use in examining my topic. I hope that through the research process I will be able to determine the sport for which a discussion of youth sports demographics is most relevant, as well as a specific time period or place on which I want to primarily focus in on. I plan to start by determining which sport has the most available data and information, and then continue narrowing in on the other factors as compelling patterns emerge.

Go to the profile of Harrison Gerson
about 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing, Yoni! I would think about non-tradition methods to think about scaling your project. Talk to sports fans, speak to an athletics coach at a high school or at the Y.  Also, look into Sports Museum information... perhaps a sport has a specific exhibit? Thinking outside the box might get you hook on a specific sport/time.

Go to the profile of Noah J Bergam
27 days ago

Hi Yoni, I think I'm contending with similar issues in terms of finding the right data and framing it. I find that it's useful (in an approximate, idea-framing sense, since these are very interdependent problems) to consider each side of the issue, the empirical and the theoretical, separately. In one sense, I think about all the data I could possibly want, and what I can do with it, and what kinds of analyses I would want to make if I had all the resources. In a separate set of work sessions, I find myself scouring the Internet for what data I can find or strategically combine. 

Go to the profile of Denise Taveras
about 1 month ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

My understanding of leadership hasn't really changed, but I learned a lot about my peers through our discussions throughout the week. It's really great to see other people's perspectives on leadership and how we can help our communities with it. 

  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 first challenge I will face with my research is figuring out what communities the people I will be focusing on in my research belonged to. Music is shared not only by who you surround yourself with but also by the trends and priorities set by social media and online communities. I will have to look beyond the physical spaces that people occupy which is something that I am kind of worried to do. To do this right, I have to get comfortable with various social media platforms and look at what people felt comfortable sharing on social media and extrapolate information from that. 

Go to the profile of Harrison Gerson
about 1 month ago

Thanks for sharing, Denise. That makes a lot of sense with social media platforms. I wonder if you could get into analytics with them...  I know you can see trends with words in Google Searches for instances. Counterintuitively to many projects, spending time on TikTok/etc. is a great way to think about how your project impacts the public. Very cool! I'm really interested to hear about your research!

Go to the profile of Harrison Gerson
about 1 month ago

 

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

I've learned more about how to work with different perspectives of leading. I also found it interesting to acknowledge things going on in life before starting a meeting. A lot of what we discussed felt natural; I just never had a word or phrase to describe it.

  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 want to think about my audience as I begin my project. I am not sure if I should be educating businesses, policymakers (gov't), investors, neighborhood members, the general public, or ecotourists. I want to reach out to some experts in the ecotourism field to hear about the current faults in the system and where the help is most needed.

Go to the profile of Wena Teng
about 1 month ago

Hey Harrison! 

I'm glad you were able to conceptualize the intuitive aspects of our leadership and research workshops. I found that very helpful as well.

As for your challenges, I think that's understandable and a challenge many of us have. However, it's a good challenge to have because it's also a great way to specify your research project through reflection on your priorities through specific stakeholders. I would suggest talking to neighborhood members first because they are the ones directly impacted and starting locally can be a great start to specification. 

Go to the profile of Aryan Ghotra
about 1 month ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

I always thought of leadership from the "leader in front" perspective in which a leader delegates tasks to the members. These seminars really made me realize the subtle complexity of leadership and how it does not follow a top-down model; rather, everyone exercises leadership in some form. The discussion about compensation and how leaders are often compensated more than others simply because of a title was interesting and made me internally question whether the current workplace settings are truly justified. Oftentimes, leaders are less qualified than the people whom they lead, yet they are paid more. Although the element of risk enters into the conversation, the difference in compensation between a manager and an employee is completely disproportionate to the difference in risk between the manager and employee. I think that this is a very provoking question and would be interesting to investigate further.  

  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?

Currently, I am struggling to quantify my images for my research project and I am wondering whether the method I am using is entirely accurate? I believe that reading more papers on Endoplasmic Reticulum expansion through DTT-induced stress will improve my understanding of the quantification methods and will help me optimize the results.

Go to the profile of Elianna Lee
about 1 month ago

Hi Aryan! I really enjoyed reading your reflection on this week's workshops. I think that we are often taught or shown that leadership must come from the front, but in reality, there are so many different ways to act as a leader. Trying to unlearn the need for a "hierarchy" is very hard in a world where getting to the top is highly valued. I'm so excited to see the outcome of your research project!

Go to the profile of Julia Goralsky
about 1 month ago

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

I have always comprehended leadership in terms of collaboration, especially how an individual can inspire and uplift others in the pursuit of their respective goals. Participating in the workshops this week solidified this idea for me, yet it also nuanced my understanding of how a leader can relate to other individuals within their immediate team and more broadly within their field. For example, discovering the varying motivations that can encourage people has enriched my understanding of how I can uncover the individual purposes that inspire each team member and use that knowledge to facilitate a productive, driven environment. Furthermore, analyzing the different personalities that can typify certain leaders will also help me to further relate to those I lead and those who lead me in the future. 

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?

As I begin wet lab work in the coming weeks, I know one of my biggest challenges will be the isolation that often accompanies projects within the lab. Thus, I am very excited to have met some wonderful people this past week through the Laidlaw program and am eager to get to know them better moving forward. Aside from this, I think another challenge will be deciphering the sometimes complex content of medical journals, so I will definitely look forward to making the most of connecting with the libraries.

Go to the profile of Neha Mani
about 1 month ago

Hi Julia! I totally agree with the purpose of understanding other people's purposes for pursuing a research project in order to most effectively work with them. I also share the feeling of isolation that comes with lab work, especially at the Medical Center which is a bit further away from the Morningside campus. But, I'm excited to learn new skills and ideas from everyone in the lab. 

Go to the profile of Andreas
26 days ago

I definitely agree that research can feel isolating, even if you are physically around other people. Pursuing an original research project can be daunting for the simple reason that it may sometimes force you to retreat from others into a space of personal, creative production. On the other hand, the people around you can also be your greatest resource, but I do think it is necessary sometimes to find that feeling of being alone in one's research and feeling comfortable in that isolation before consulting with others or asking for help. 

Go to the profile of Kelly Warner
about 1 month ago

1. My definition of leadership has evolved past the stereotypical mental image of someone being at the forefront of a club or an organization to expanding to all dimensions and levels of a community. Leadership can also exist through supporting teammates or through self-acceptance and reliance, which is something that I didn’t previously realize. 

2. The main challenges I believe I will face with my research is collaborating with other people, especially since my research is a part of a preexisting research project. As a result, I feel like my initial idea of what my research would entail slightly differs from the actual work I will be doing, so I am in the process of coming to terms with that and moving forward with the project! 

Go to the profile of Peyton Barsel
about 1 month ago

Hi Kelly! I really appreciate you separating your images of leadership in clubs and other standard formats from what we are doing here through our research projects. I think it's daunting to imagine what we will be doing over the next five weeks but I really like conceptualizing it as a new challenge that will help us develop our leadership skills in an untraditional way. I look forward to how our concept of leadership keeps changing. 

Go to the profile of Neha Mani
about 1 month ago

1. My understanding of leadership has changed to encompass more facets of what it can be. For example, I have typically thought of leadership as being more along the lines of the "leader in the front" role — a driven, more stereotypically "actionable" form of leadership where someone takes charge of a task or assignment and steers a group towards completing that goal. I've learned over the course of this week that leadership can include so many other facets. For example, a "leader from behind" can support their project team by providing opportunities for certain members to contribute and a "leader from beside" can foster a sense of collaboration amongst a group of people to complete a task. A "leader in the field" often requires a strong sense of self-confidence and gut instinct that can be fostered by honing a "leader within." This multidimensional model of conceptualizing leadership, while not perfect, has a lot to offer in the way we can assume leadership in the ways most useful in our academic pursuits. 

2. My research poses quite a few challenges since the field of structural biology is very new, rapidly changing, and highly specific to each protein of study. I think I'm most struggling with the challenge of protein aggregation—a phenomenon where proteins lose their shape and denature (usually because of a sensitivity to the environment or purifying conditions). Aggregated proteins are not able to be structurally analyzed, so even though I may be able to have a clean purification, I may not get a protein in its non-aggregated. I'm working on modifying my methodology to use different buffers with different salt concentrations to be a bit more "gentle" on my protein of interest.  

Go to the profile of Sylvi Stein
27 days ago

Hi Neha!

I thought your response was very interesting - it makes me consider the ways in which different fields define leadership. We discussed this a lot in one of the workshops, the idea of whether leadership values can be translated into other fields, and I would love to hear what you thought of it. I wonder if there is any field in which "leading from behind" is thought to be the primary method of leadership...

-Sylvi

Go to the profile of Fatima Ahmad
about 1 month ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

My understanding of leadership has definitely expanded. Whereas previously I only looked at leadership through a hierarchal lens, assuming that a leader could only be a leader at the front, I now understand that a leader could work from any position. Rather than giving importance to a specific role, importance should be delegated to the traits and values that leaders possess, such as good communication and empathy. 

  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 I am currently facing is how I want to present my research because depending on that, I need to plan out how I will actually conduct the research. For example, I was thinking of writing an academic paper or making an interactive website, two completely different end results. However, the first, immediate steps I need to take are picking out my source materials such as finding Manto's stories and gaging a good understanding of larger themes. After that, I will organize the stories based on themes. These are first steps I will be taking (also staying in Butler for a while).

Go to the profile of Kelly Warner
about 1 month ago

Hey Fatima! Following our leadership workshops, I too expanded my idea of what leadership means. Often I think we view leadership as communicating what people perceived to be under our leadership should do, instead of communicating within a group.

Go to the profile of Aryan Ghotra
about 1 month ago

Hi Fatima! Prior to the seminars, I too looked at leadership from the top-down structure. However, these seminars made me realize that everyone exhibits some type of leadership whether it be the leader within or the leader behind, or the leader to the side. I think that this new idea of leadership is more inclusive and in this way, anyone can be a leader.

Go to the profile of Rohan Soni
27 days ago

Hello Fatima! I completely agree with your first point. I think that in order to be effective leaders we have to delegate the importance of roles. By doing so we will be able to get more done as well making the project more successful. Great point! 

Go to the profile of Rosie Zhou
about 1 month ago
  1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

The workshops this week made me think critically about my previous beliefs about leadership, and I now feel like I have a more nuanced understanding of leadership. Like we discussed, leadership can be manifested in so many different ways, and style of leading also differs among individuals. I really like the idea of "leader behind", because I think supporting others and uplifting their voices is not commonly thought of as a form of leadership, but it really is and is equally important as leading in a more traditional sense. 

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?

As I move forward with my research project, one question that I will continue to struggle with is how to best present my research and write-ups. I hope to eventually decide on a format that allows for some creativity and visual components. As I've already started helping out on a project at the Sabin Center (helping to check citations for a book), I feel that I've somewhat gotten the hang of things, and since that project is time sensitive I'm focusing on it for now. Once it's complete, I'm going to focus completely on my main project, and my first step will be reaching out to WE ACT For Environmental Justice to learn more about current environmental justice efforts in NYC.

Go to the profile of Julia Goralsky
about 1 month ago

Hi Rosie! I'm excited about seeing where you go with your project especially in terms of the creative/visual components you mentioned above! The idea of leading from behind also resonated with me and ultimately helped me understand how I could still demonstrate leadership in my own surroundings even though my project has an already established hierarchical structure within the lab setting.

Go to the profile of Alejandra Díaz-Pizarro
about 1 month ago

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

    This week has transformed my understanding of leadership into one that encompasses greater flexibility and versatility. For example, when we learned about different motivators or different communicator styles, the results were presented not as strict categories ("you're a driver," or "you're motivated by status"), but rather as an interacting, interconnected system of traits from which you can not only pull but can also learn to develop. So often, I think, leadership workshops are geared toward helping you develop "your particular style" after having shoehorned you into that definition; after this week, my nondominant styles feel not like something unattainable but rather like a muscle that can and needs to be exercised. In terms of potential or even just considering what I am capable of doing, this definitely has felt like it has opened many doors!

    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 principal question for me is how to balance conventional economic theory with the indigenous perspectives I will be bringing in, especially as they begin to arrive at contrasting or clashing conclusions. The balancing act of "legitimacy" vs. "innovation," or "tried and true vs. fresh and new," is something made especially tricky by the way in which indigenous knowledge is treated in academic settings. The challenge is how to provide an "objective" analysis that nonetheless still accurately encompasses and reflects the indigenous conception of land management. I think this first summer, as I will not be doing field research but rather staying in the library, the challenge for me will be reading sources without the Eurocentric model in mind, and I will have to be careful that my interpretations actually match how nahua communities view their own governance and not how I have learned to view systems such as it.

    Go to the profile of Rosie Zhou
    about 1 month ago

    Hi Ale! I love your project and I'm super excited to learn more about it by the end of the summer :) I really resonate with your insight about trying to read sources without the Eurocentric model in mind - it's a difficult thing to do, especially given how prevalent Eurocentrism is in systems of education, but it's so important to think critically about our own views and how those views have been influenced by larger systems and societal norms. I admire your passion for this topic and desire to shine light on indigenous voices regarding land management. Best of luck moving forward!!

    Go to the profile of Ashwin Marathe
    26 days ago

    Hey Ale! I have similarly faced challenges with presenting an "objective" view of my project. I have found it hard to do since at times, I want to mainly focus on one perspective. However, I think it will be very educational to learn about other perspectives different from my own, and I am sure you will also experience something similar!

    Go to the profile of Peyton Barsel
    about 1 month ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    My understanding of leadership has shifted from being more of an individualistic definition to a more significant group effort. Before, I felt like my ability to be an effective leader fell squarely on my shoulders. Now, I feel like leaning on my fellow peers as we embark on this research journey together will make my time at Laidlaw more enjoyable and improve my leadership skills. Learning and listening to others is a key component of leadership and I'm excited to exercise that further. 

    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?

    Currently, I'm working to delineate how I create a project for myself while also providing insightful information to my faculty mentor and his project. I will begin with collecting data but am trying to determine how I will use that data to further my own research and interests. 

    Go to the profile of Fatima Ahmad
    about 1 month ago

    Hey Peyton! I definitely agree with your comment regarding the transition from more individualistic leadership to utilizing our peers more. I am also excited to develop my communication skills and learns from those around us. Although I'm not contributing to my mentors research in any direct way, I'm also facing the challenge of how specifically I will use my research to highlight what it is I'm interested in. The path seems a bit unclear but looking forward to moving forward! 

    Go to the profile of Jonathan Truong
    about 1 month ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    Too often, definitions of leadership trade on an ambiguity; a leader, for example, has influence, exceptionality, charisma, etc. Because of this, much of our workshops focused on approaching a definition of leadership through negation, speaking only in terms of what a leader is not—seniority, position, title, authority, power. It is uncomfortable to disentangle leadership from these signifiers; it is often, as I experienced over the past few days, frustrating. Perhaps the most valuable lesson from this week has been inhabiting this state of discomfort, where no singular definition, pathway, or style can be fully true. Leadership, then, has stopped being an adjective to me, and become instead an exercise in flexibility and adaptability.

    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?

    Developing a methodological approach to my research has proved challenging, especially I’ve only recently been exposed to many of the relevant theoretical frameworks: reader-response theory, cognitive poetics, narratology, etc. As I discovered in a meeting with my faculty mentor, this has led me to imprecisely use terms like “immersion,” “attention,” and “cognition”—each of which belongs to a particular disciplinary context. The challenge for this week, then, is identifying and developing a comprehensive theoretical approach to my research before I think about methodology. 

    Go to the profile of Charlotte Hoskins
    about 1 month ago

    Hey Jonathan! I really liked what you wrote about leadership no longer being an adjective anymore. I think that the way you have framed leadership as being more of a state of being rather than a label/attribute enables a more inclusive, representative vision of what leadership actually is, which really resonates with me. I'm also nervous about my methodology and establishing clear definitions for my research. My faculty advisor has told me to just follow my readings and let the definitions come after that... kind of counter-intuitive but a great way to approach a new topic! 

    Go to the profile of Charlotte Hoskins
    about 1 month ago

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

    My understanding of leadership has not really changed that much from our workshops, but I have gained a greater sense of who I am as a leader and where my strengths/weaknesses lie. I have grown up with a non-conventional idea of leadership as a form of empathy and compassion, choosing to be brave rather than taking complete control, which is a belief that was consolidated over the leadership workshops we did at Columbia. 


    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 that has been on my mind as I begin my research project is where to start. I'm considering a very broad term, imperialism, within a historical context it is often not applied. Creating a definition of imperialism that fits the content matter of my research is probably a good place to start, but there are so many factors to consider that it is a little daunting still. My first steps will definitely be to talk to my research advisor and carve out a clear, concise definition that can serve as a building block for my research. 

    Go to the profile of Asher Baron
    about 1 month ago

    I like the framing of leadership as a form of empathy and compassion and would love to hear more about how that was instilled in you growing up and how the workshops contributed to that belief. I'm also curious to see what you end up coming up with as a definition for imperialism, which seems like quite the daunting task. I think both of our research projects concern the framing of history, and I'm also working on constructing some definitions for myself -- could be a skill we could develop together!

    Go to the profile of Asher Baron
    about 1 month ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    I was out of town on a trip this week and did not attend the leadership workshops, but I do think that my trip taught me about leadership in new and exciting ways. I spent ten days traveling through the American South on a "Justice Journey" with a program called Sankofa Tzedek, which was a year-long cross-cultural dialogue group and social justice education series with a focus on solidarity between Black and Jewish students. This week, I had the opportunity to meet with some leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including former Freedom Riders Hank Thomas and Charles Person. These two speakers in particular surprised me and changed my understanding of leadership: both of them were quiet and understated individuals. This was not at all what I expected from Freedom Riders, who quite literally put their lives on the line in the name of justice and thus exemplified leadership. The quiet grace with which they reflected on their stories made me realize that I don't need to be an overwhelmingly loud voice as a leader. Instead, I can be a leader by gently but firmly asserting myself, my story, and my ideals, and encouraging others to do the same. I am grateful for my discussion with Mr. Thomas and Mr. Person and I hope to continue to understand leadership as a sort of gentle assertion. 

    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 challenge is becoming generally acquainted with the work of harm reduction activists so I can accurately begin constructing historical accounts. There is a lot of niche vocabulary inherent to this work, so it will be a journey of understanding that language and how it fits into the narrative of history. My first steps are to tackle the readings that I have been assigned by my professor. These will hopefully give me a wealth of background information to draw from. Repetition really helps cement ideas in my head, so I hope to repeatedly read and engage with the important events of harm reduction history and start to develop my own working vocabulary. 

    Go to the profile of Jonathan Truong
    29 days ago

    Hi Asher! Your trip sounds like it was an incredibly valuable experience, and indeed the two former Freedom Riders' quiet leadership style seemed to embody some of what we discussed in workshops this week. I, too, have felt somewhat daunted by the vocabulary for my project, especially because understanding it means interrogating its use (and subtle distinctions) among my target sources/readings. Excited to see what comes of your readings this week!

    Go to the profile of Sylvi Stein
    27 days ago

    Hi! Sorry this is late - I couldn't figure out how to work the site...

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

    I feel as though the workshops didn't really teach me much about the concept of leadership. Since we were young, I was taught that leadership is something that should be shared and the leaders from behind are just as valuable as leaders from the front. A lot of these ideas were not new to me. The main statement that caught my attention was about criticism - which is that the criticism that is most powerful is the criticism that hits on something that you consider to be true. I thought this was interesting to me, and something that I believe but had never articulated.

    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?

    In my research, I want to be able to consider the community applications of my project, not just as a research paper. I will plunge into research through news articles before I look more deeply into the events and debates that they cover.

    Go to the profile of Peter McMaster
    27 days ago

    I found the discussion about criticism to be very interesting as well. I enjoyed the fact that everyone was open about their aversion to criticism, but it was also agreed that criticism is an essential part of growth. Challenges to our beliefs about what is true and false about ourselves is critical to self-improvement, so I share your sentiment about the value of criticism. 

    Go to the profile of Peter McMaster
    27 days ago

    1. I certainly see leadership in a new light, specifically through the lens of a multi-dimensional approach to leadership. Prior to our week of leadership training, I had the stereotypical view of a leader as being a strong, domineering presence that entirely controls the work environment. However, I now view leadership as an act that everyone is capable of engaging in, and in many situations it can be more valuable to have empowered, competent leaders at every level of a project rather than one leader in total control. 

    2. Data analysis will be critical to my project, so becoming familiar with the software and tools I will be using is the biggest challenge to be overcome in the coming weeks. It will be essential to spend time both picking apart the different functionalities of the software as well as critically analyzing the data available to me in order to determine which data points are most likely to be fruitful avenues of research, and which data points are likely to be dead ends. 

    Go to the profile of Noah J Bergam
    27 days ago

    I think the workshops compelled me to consider some of the more internal, personal challenges of leadership––for instance, being in touch with one's own communication style, the different ways one can think or act like a leader, and contending with confidence in the face of criticism. This contrasts with my more gut-instinct perspective on leadership, which is much more concerned with practicality and incentive. I usually classify leaders based on how they are labeled, what they accomplish, or how others perceive them. Surely, I think some of Pamela's models challenged that definition, though I'm not sure they entirely changed my mind. For instance, I thought the one-versus-multi-dimensional leadership picture was quite interesting and spurred great discussion, and I think I came to appreciate the potential of multi-dimensional in certain scenarios, but I think my general preference for one-dimensional leadership stayed constant throughout the discussion.

    The main challenge I am confronting is collecting information, on two levels: previous research, and raw data. In this early phase I think my main focus is to get my feet wet through broad reading of the literature as well as directly working with and combining existing datasets. Both of these are starting to give me an impression of the previously unexpected limitations––for instance, I thought finding a dataset of op-eds or scraping a specific section of a webpage would be relatively straightforward, which has not really proven to be the case. As such, many of my next steps are quite logistical, which is a blessing and a curse. I hope in the meantime I can read and understand how other researchers have overcome these roadblocks.

    Go to the profile of Rohan Soni
    27 days ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    Leadership to me has always been about leading in front. My conceptualization of being a leader was aligned with the concept of leading in front. One person helping a group of people and being predominantly in charge. However, after this week's leadership workshop I realized that there are so many different forms of leadership. In order to be the most effective leader I would have to utilize all the different aspects of 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?

    One of the largest challenges that I find in my project is narrowing the scope. The field of studying caste discrimination is extremely broad. I could study it from a religious lens, a modern perspective in India, a modern perspective post-diaspora, or look at it legislatively. My first step is to talk to my advisor and get some guidance on where to start

    Go to the profile of Akshay Manglik
    27 days ago

    Hey Rohan - I thought the different lenses you suggested looking at caste through were really interesting. I've thought about caste before but never considered the different contexts it can manifest, especially in terms of the unique impact felt from it today compared to in the past. I hope your advisor helps you decide on an interesting and nuanced lens to focus on!

    Go to the profile of Akshay Manglik
    27 days ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    The workshops helped me understand how important understanding the motivations of people you're working with is for effective leadership. On face this seems pretty straightforward -- you have to know what people want to persuade them to take an action -- but some of the exercises we did this week, like the self-values exercise, drove home how people interested in similar things can have different values driving those interests.

    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?

    An important part of my research is analyzing activity in different parts of the brain (as visualized in fMRIs), but I don't have a deep background in what different parts of the brain are and what they do (e.g., the posterior medial cortex). As I start my project I plan to look through past publications in memory research that help me build some background knowledge on psychology and the brain. Our lab has a page with recommended readings in psychology that will help me with this. 

    Go to the profile of Dave Banerjee
    26 days ago

    I've been struggling on where to start. I feel like the background information necessary is astronomical. But I agree with you that starting by reading the recommended readings on the research group's page is a good way to start gaining the necessary background knowledge.

    Go to the profile of Ashwin Marathe
    26 days ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    I think my understanding of leadership has mostly changed as a result of listening to my peers. There are a lot of experiences that I heard that informed my view of what leadership means and I would not have been exposed to them without listening to them. Hearing their stories of challenges they faced in being a leader has helped me be more cognizant of the way I lead. 

    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 have been working to categorize my research into different stakeholders/groups so that I can understand the full picture of how the protest took place. That has been going well and I have been reading a lot of journal/newspaper/books to understand specifics of the protest. I think my biggest challenge will be the interview process—reaching out to individuals, finding connections in India, and navigating how to organize an Oral History. 

    Go to the profile of Elizabeth Carpenter
    26 days ago

    -How has my understanding of leadership changed?

    I think that the major change that has happened for me from these workshops was understanding that there isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to lead. In media, we see a lot of leading from the front and that is usually what is taught as the best way to lead. A lot of my natural instincts encourage me to lead gently rather than loudly which I always thought meant I was not a "born-leader." This week I learned that my leadership strategy is valid and effective just like anyone else's but that it doesn't hurt to try out different approaches and see which ones you prefer.

    Challenges and first steps:

    The project that I joined is a massive effort that works with many organizations and has been going on for several years. As a result, a main challenge for me will be trying to grasp the many different components of this project so I can better figure out where my part fits in. Therefore, first steps for me will include tons of reading to get up to speed and coming up with concrete, specific questions to ask my mentor during zoom meetings.

    Go to the profile of Dave Banerjee
    26 days ago
    1. One thing I learned about leadership is that "Kind is Clear." This phrase really resonated with me because oftentimes, we think that the nicest thing to say is to not say anything at all, especially when the comment is possibly negative or constructive. But the phrase "Kind is Clear" helped me realize that being honest is sometimes better than remaining quiet. Sometimes my critical comments about someone else can be super helpful to them. It could help them on their journey of self-development.
    2. I want to build a better relationship with my postdocs. The people who I'm working closest with are much older than me and from very different backgrounds from me. As of right now, we only talk about our research with each other, but I want to get to know them better. I'm not sure what I should do.
    Go to the profile of Andreas
    26 days ago
    1. How has your understanding of leadership changed from our workshops on this topic (or has it)?

    I think it is really hard for me to consider myself a leader at this stage of my research and academic career. Pamela's lecture on multi-dimensional leadership showed me that I could lead in other ways even if I am not an expert yet in my field of study, but it also made me question the validity of "trusting my instincts" or acting "without evidence"—in other words, "leading in the field"—when I as a researcher have not yet accumulated the experience necessary to cultivate instincts that I can always rely on. I think one thing that will be on my mind for the next six weeks is how my research instincts develop as I build a broader foundation of knowledge in my area of study. 

    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?

    One big challenge I know I will face is accepting the feeling of being lost at first, but also enjoying those moments of clarity and letting them guide me throughout the research process (in contrast to my response to the first question, I guess this could be called following my instincts). In addition to spanning a large geographic area, my project draws on material from moments in history that are quite spaced out chronologically. On the other hand, I will be analyzing very specific documents that are products of a particular place and time. Navigating and negotiating between the aspects of my project that are diffuse and those that are concentrated is something that I am excited to start to figure out in the next few weeks.