Field Journal, 2022 Scholars, Week 5

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  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?
  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

Please answer BOTH of these questions by creating a post of your own! Remember that you also should read your colleagues’ posts and write a response to at least one of their posts. Both posts should be completed by the end of the week.

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Go to the profile of Denise Taveras
7 months ago
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

I've been struggling with parsing through the police reports and documents that I was able to access. Not only has it been a lot of information that's been really overwhelming but interpreting some of the information has been a challenge that I didn't foresee when doing this project. I currently have thousands of crime scene photos on my laptop with varying degrees of clarity and censorship. At first, I couldn't even imagine what I could possibly do with pictures in which you can't see anything recognizable but after speaking with my faculty advisor and graduate mentor, I started to lean into what we can learn about what isn't being said/shown. What does this overwhelming amount of censorship show about policing and what police feel like people are entitled to know? My project centers the people who have been harmed and killed by the police but these documents also bring in an illustrated conversation of the relationship between police and the communities beyond their surveillance and beyond their control. I don't have a lot of time to explore this part of the project but it is one that is important nonetheless. 

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

My graduate student mentor has been really helpful in giving advice. Especially as it pertains to looking at social media as my archive.

Go to the profile of Fatima Ahmad
7 months ago

Hey Denise! I definitely feel you on the feeling of being overwhelmed. Your research sounds very interesting and I'm glad you were able to take something out of what you initially thought would not be helpful. I guess a big part of research that I've come to realize is the change in perspective and the angles in which you look at things. It's still cool that you came to this finding despite it not being immediate to your own work!

Go to the profile of Yoni Kurtz
7 months ago
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

During the course of my project, I ran into the issue of finding quantitative data regarding participants in youth baseball. Though this was initially frustrating, it forced me to reconsider my research question, and move in a direction that focused more on media perceptions of youth baseball and race, through looking at newspapers and magazines. This helped give me a concrete place to look, as well as a firm research question that could be analyzed in any era for which newspapers are available, which is a much broader range than any of the limited qualitative data that I had found. 

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

I have found ebscohost's newspaper archives particularly useful, as I have been able to do advanced searches for certain keywords like "baseball," "little league," "youth," "people of color," and more relevant phrases to find newspaper articles in ebsco's vast archives that show the growth and decline of youth baseball in different communities over time.

Go to the profile of Sylvi Stein
7 months ago

It's so interesting to me to consider how all the research that has ever been done is entirely reliant on a) what traditional resources are available and b) whether or not a researcher is able to be incredibly creative. I think that it's amazing you were able to rephrase your question to focus on utilizing the newspapers and other tools open to you, and I appreciate your use of the phrase "qualitative" to describe data. I always thought of research as a qualitative process, but I am realizing it is almost entirely a quantitative one, a creative one.

Go to the profile of Denise Taveras
7 months ago

Hi Yoni, I think your new approach to your research is really cool and highlights how although quantitative is very helpful, it might not be what we need in our research. At the beginning of the program, I had the opposite issue and could only find quantitative data which didn't help with the overall goal of my project. I'm glad you were able to make the adjustment in your research and I hope it goes well!

Go to the profile of Fatima Ahmad
7 months ago
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

The biggest challenge I faced was that of specificity. Manto's literature is endless and what can be sought from his Partition stories is immeasurable. To narrow this down became difficult because along the journey of initially looking at what we can learn about the Partition from his literature, I began to criticize his works and writing, comparing the story of "Noor Jehan" in particular and the representation of women to his stories of Partition and how women were described differently then. As I approached my fourth week of research, I took a step back to analyze my methodology and what I had learned thus far. Shortly after, I came to the realization that in these past few weeks, I was engaging in an internal dialogue of sorts, a seminar that kept going and going with each new piece I read. My initial purpose for studying Manto was to showcase the importance of literature, and as I sat thinking about the past few weeks, I understood this point myself: the engaging of various texts, connecting ideas, criticizing whilst also appreciating, all of this his literature allowed me to do, and what the history of Partition could not- the humanizing of experiences. As such, my research took a drastic turn in these last 2 weeks. I began to look at my research on Manto as a case study of sorts in the larger question of how Pakistan's education system can be reformed, particularly in the way literature is taught and the types of literature schools choose to engage in. I have taken a look at the Single National Curriculum, still being developed by the government. It is my hope to continue doing research on education reform and its implications on Pakistani students to highlight my own research done on Manto and propose the benefits of engaging with, not only Manto's texts, but with a diverse array of literature which could allow students to have meaningful discussions, question specific ideas they hold, and progress as future leaders of a nation. I will also have the chance in the following week to interview the Minister of Federal Education, Shafqat Mahmood. I am skewing this research to moreso result in a newspaper/magazine article rather than a journal article. 

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

When first researching Manto, the stacks and Butler library were very helpful. As I began to narrow my topic, my graduate peer mentor was insanely helpful in making me think about what I am researching and how I can be more specific. She was also extremely encouraging and went above and beyond with also providing me with resources when my librarian was out for the summer. As I transitioned to the educational end of my research, CLIO and any other online database access has been great to read up on what reforms need to take place and what has already been done. 

Go to the profile of Charlotte Hoskins
7 months ago

Hey Fatima! 

I love seeing your updates on your research as someone else looking at what literature can teach us about history. Your shift in focus seems really interesting - literature is so often placed on a pedestal of reverence that it becomes so critical in the academy to really consider what these texts are really doing and how we should best approach them. 

Go to the profile of Wena Teng
7 months ago

Fatima! Seeing how your project has shifted as you dived more into the world of Manto reminds me how applicable so much of our research can be. You narrowed your project from a broad interest and goal of proving the importance of literature but are now using that preliminary research to engage with the Single National Curriculum and literature in classroom settings. Being able to turn an abstract research question into something more concrete and attainable is very exciting -- best of luck with your interview!

Go to the profile of Yoni Kurtz
7 months ago

Fatima,

I really sympathize with the feeling of having an internal dialogue as you encounter more and more text. For me, the process is reading through newspaper articles with shifting perspectives on youth baseball, and I find myself continuously asking whether there really can be a central narrative that unites these perspectives or not. It seems like when reading literature, which is usually even less objective than newspapers, you have run into similar issues. The way you chose to navigate these tensions by viewing yourself as part of them is fascinating. Good luck!

Go to the profile of Charlotte Hoskins
7 months ago
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

The biggest challenge I have faced with my project was the scope I could research, and the ways I wanted to approach it. When speaking to my faculty advisor about using this one book as a primary source on Australia's Stolen Generation and White Australia Policy, she proposed the idea of looking at literature itself to frame my research and the questions I had. I definitely ran with this idea, and by selecting a few literary works, I was able to narrow my research. Rather than focusing on imperialism in a broader sense, I have shifted to focus more on settler colonialism itself. 

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

CLIO and Columbia Libraries more broadly have been so helpful for my research. There are so many books (including Australian literature and history texts!) that I didn't think I would be able to get my hands on for my project, but through CLIO I was able to obtain them. 

Go to the profile of Harrison Gerson
7 months ago

That's amazing you are able to get so many Australian resources from the Libraries, Charlotte! It sounds like a good idea to further center your research within imperialism. I look forward to hearing about your progress!

Go to the profile of Elianna Lee
7 months ago

Hi Charlotte! I love how you narrowed the scope to settler-colonialism by interacting with the literature. I feel as though its common to realize the true scope of your research after engaging with the materials themselves.

Go to the profile of Sylvi Stein
7 months ago
  • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

I am writing a paper about art history, and I have come to assume it would be published in an art historical journal. This means the target audience is art historians, and in the future, those in the academic world of art history will be the people who are gleaning anything of relative importance from my work. In discussion with the other students in my graduate student group, I came to realize that this is not what originally drew me to my project - the idea of contributing a sliver of information to the art world. I am more interested in the actual concepts i am studying, and how they affect the public's understanding of contemporary art. I might care about what a famous art history professor thinks of my work, but I also care a good deal about what my younger brothers think about the art I enjoy so much. I want to focus more on writing a paper that includes both sides of the issue, not just a bias towards one or the other. There is no "side" to take, actually; I am just presenting the facts as I see them, and I hope that, in doing so, I can learn more about what causes people to say "that famous work is ugly," or what causes museums to decide when one kind of art is better than another.

  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

I have mainly been using Google Scholar and JSTOR, but I have also reached out to a lot of people via email. So I suppose my most valuable resource comes from public firsthand accounts.

Go to the profile of Harrison Gerson
7 months ago

Thanks for sharing, Sylvie! It sounds really interesting to appeal to both the public and academic communities! It must be really nice to look at something locally and access it with your prior knowledge of the community and the academic lens of the community and the artwork. I'm excited to see how you present different perspectives!

Hi Sylvi! As someone who is interested in research and the transmission of knowledge but not necessarily all the "stuffiness" that can come with academia, I can definitely relate to wanting your work to be accessible and interesting to more than a specific niche, and I think the goal of expanding beyond that audience is a commendable one and one I'll also find myself striving toward.

Go to the profile of Andreas
7 months ago

With regards to reaching an academic audience, I have in my thinking/writing surrounding my project strived to really see what jargon is a practical necessity and what can be replaced by more direct language. This has actually been a good exercise for testing whether I truly know what a term means—if I can explain it in concrete, non-technical language, I probably have a pretty good grasp of what the term means. Of course this is not a perfect test, but working to remain conscious of my academic register and fighting the tendency to reflexively use certain jargon has helped me to better define my audience.  

Go to the profile of Harrison Gerson
7 months ago

My research mentor mentioned to me the idea of promoting ecotourism education in schools, which is an exciting way to engage the local communities of NYC in ecotourism and regenerative tourism. I think my research scope has become a bit more grounded with individual locations and experiences to contribute to a larger ecotourism project about NYC and urban ecotourism. I also realize that there are endless avenues (no pun intended) to which my research can apply, so it is important that I make a commitment to focus on specific avenues as I complete my project within the scope of our time.

As I continue my research, the Library’s digital scholarship resources and conversations with ecotourism professions have been helpful. The library has provided me with support with my mapping and recording, The librarians are helpful in all sorts of ways beyond the books and papers, and I really appreciate it. They have helped me find tools and other contacts.  Many professionals have given me more names and resources to explore online and in-person. I'm looking forward to my progress.

What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

A few weeks ago, we discussed interdisciplinarity; while then I reveled in it, the monkey's paw has curled and I've realized that being properly equipped to discuss an interdisciplinary topic means doing a lot of reading. I'm having to become a relative master of topics like land reform, indigenous rights, common pool resources, and nahua ethnographies, and that's only to get started! I need a solid base before I can continue or posit new ideas, since I don't want to risk missing something crucial that fundamentally pulls the rug out from under any model or claim I stake. Overall, doing this preambulatory research has shown me that I'll be entering not one conversation but many, even though my project is relatively specific, due to its interdisciplinary nature, so I need to be relatively well-versed in the language of every conversation I'm joining. So the scope of my project has changed in terms of time: this will likely have to continue throughout the year (something I've already discussed with my faculty mentor), and this summer (which I foresee continuing past the six weeks...) I'll really just focus on developing a theoretical framework or solid basis from where to depart as the year continues. The "problem" with just reading, however, is that it's not exactly productive—on Tuesday, I spent about three hours combing through books on land reform, but from their relation to my project and what I can extrapolate from them I will likely only be able to yield a paragraph. So one of the challenges will definitely be to stop equating productivity with advancement: my research is progressing, even if there isn't a paper by the end of summer to speak for it. 

What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

I truly can't sing Zotero's praises enough. I've been using it as pretty much my foremost tool in organizing and annotating my research—I haven't opened a Google Doc in weeks. It's easy to use, has an incredible amount of functionalities, and helps me keep everything in one place. If there's anything concrete to have come from this summer, is that I am now STRONGLY a Zotero convert.

Go to the profile of Noah J Bergam
7 months ago

First off, I want to say that I have never heard the term "the monkey's paw has curled" but I will now probably be using it on the daily. Secondly, I'd like to echo the point you make about interdisciplinary work. It's hard! It's like learning two different languages and then finding a way to write poetry with both of them. You find that there are conflicts and disconnects and different ways of expressing the same key idea. Different fields have different priorities, sometimes for good reason, sometimes quite arbitrarily. 

I am also surprised but glad that you have used Zotero so much. I have mostly stuck to Google docs and LaTeX to record my citations as I write my paper, but I find that might be more a product of habit than of true ease. 

Go to the profile of Elizabeth Carpenter
7 months ago

I so agree with you about Zotero. I never used it during the year and now I use it every day and will continue to for the rest of my academic career. I also relate to the productivity and advancement idea. I spend a lot of time with spreadsheets without seeing some sort of tangible result but we just gotta persevere because our work is valuable and we are doing great. 

Go to the profile of Jonathan Truong
7 months ago

Echoing the obstacles you've faced with interdisciplinary research! I, too, have spent many hours doing readings that will ultimately appear in only a paragraph of my project—if at all. The challenge I've faced with an interdisciplinary topic is that it's difficult to determine which conversations require more attention. I can't help feeling, for example, that I've wasted time in the media/communications domain of my research; though as you put it, this kind of thinking really requires a disentanglement of productivity and advancement. 

Go to the profile of Noah J Bergam
7 months ago

    Q1: One sort of embarrassing roadblock was that I had this idea for an experiment that wasn't exactly possible. I had written the idea down and developed preliminary tables for how to show the data, but then I realized I had not quite fleshed out the specifics, so come time to write the code, I realized there was a flaw in my understanding of how large language model pre-training actually works. I adjusted, and luckily I was able to salvage an analogous experiment that would essentially test the same idea. 

    I have also recently been bouncing between the appeal of writing and coding as I try to wrap up my experiments. I tend to be much more engaged in laying out my ideas in theory––most of the time, I find coding to be quite tedious, as it comes down to me looking up specific keywords and libraries to implement relatively simple ideas that come to mind. However, I need to code. A lot. And this was the first week where I really spent substantial time training models and running experiments. It is hard. It pushes me out of my comfort zone. At the same time, it really has influenced my theories and hypotheses. It's made my technical writing more precise.

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Q2: Honestly, I think rereading some of the papers that I read earlier in the program has been a very useful exercise. There tends to be this desire to look at new material as you delve deeper into a subject, but I think that desire tends to run contradictory to the fact that you need to review and check your baseline understanding of things. It really helps connect the dots and make you realize that you're perhaps not as lost as you thought––that you're making progress in your understanding.

    Go to the profile of Neha Mani
    7 months ago

    Hey Noah! I really empathize with the struggle of having to go through tedious work which is actually vital for the success of the project—sometimes I feel that way when carrying out the same experiments over time that are required to get an optimal protein purification. I'm glad you're reaping the benefits of that hard work in the culmination of your project. Best of luck and I look forward to hearing more about it!

    Go to the profile of Julia Goralsky
    7 months ago

    Hi Noah and Neha! I can definitely relate as well to the tedious nature of experimentation, and it often feels that a lot of work goes into obtaining minimal results (I have definitely been feeling this way as I have transitioned to clonogenic assays). I also think you have a valid point about reviewing the original papers your project has been founded upon. I keep finding myself checking my original notes when attempting to understand the results of a new study or even the evidence derived from my experiments. I'm super excited to hear more about your projects! Good luck!

    Go to the profile of Ashwin Marathe
    7 months ago

    Hey Noah! I definitely agree with you about re-reading material. I found myself doing this too and learned new information the second or third time that I initially missed. I also think it really helps you internalize the information so you remember it, much more than if you only read something one time. The things I miss I then include in my notes. 

    Go to the profile of Neha Mani
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    I froze my protein on a grid last Friday, so I will be using the Glacios microscope to see if my particles are good—if they are, I'll use the Titan Krios electron microsccope but if not, I'll modify my protocol to optimize my prep. I've learned that the detergent digitonin/GDN has been used more recently to solubilize/purify membrane proteins for structural elucidation. I have been using DDM-CHS for my purification, so if this screening doesn't look optimal, I may try to use a different detergent! This small idea has the potential to optimize the purification drastically and lead to better data collection on the microscope if needed. My project has changed since my proposal because I had originally proposed to work on Wnt/WLS but sadly, a lot of that work would have required the HPLC which has been having issues in the lab as of late. Since my work on PORCN has been promising recently, my mentor advised me to focus on trying to get a structure for the enzyme (and hopefully of the complex with Wnt). 

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    This week, I have volunteered for and attended the Center on Membrane Protein Production and Analysis (COMPPÅ) Symposium led in part by my lab's Principal Investigator. I've been attending conferences all throughout the day and I've learned about different purification and imaging techniques: in particular, I learned about a cross-linking assay to tell if a protein is dimeric or not which I'd want to try out for my protein. 

    Go to the profile of Kelly Warner
    7 months ago

    Hi Neha! Your research sounds really interesting and it sounds like you have a clear idea of your next steps. The COMPPA Symposium sounds really interesting as well! My lab also offers additional opportunities for research assistants to attend conferences and hear from researchers in a similar research area. I find these opportunities incredibly helpful in directing my own research and providing an alternative perspective that may inspire me to view my research differently, which it sounds like has happened for you as well with this conference! 

    Go to the profile of Julia Goralsky
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    One of the major challenges with my project has involved collecting experimental data. Throughout the first couple weeks of the program, I was primarily learning the protocols my project required even as I was completing my initial data trials. This often made collecting the information difficult, given that as I was still learning how to complete the protocols, I made a lot of mistakes. Ultimately, this has led to a fluctuation in experimental results that so far has prevented me from drawing definite conclusions. Furthermore, given that I am working with cell cultures, the protocols often take at least a week to complete, which makes it difficult to correct errors that occur during the process. That being said, as I have continued to refine my technique, I have been able to set multiple trials into motion that will hopefully allow me to get a better idea of my research project. Dealing with these longer protocols encouraged me to adjust my project to focus on how the variation in cell type could impact the cell’s susceptibility to the specific drugs I am examining. I can run multiple cultures at the same time and plan to have about 3-4 trials completed this summer before I continue my research in the fall. Ultimately, this focus has provided me with a small niche within which to understand a specific mechanistic aspect of the drug’s effect (particularly as they are involved with DNA damage repair pathways) instead of just more broadly understanding the effects of drug concentration on cell viability.

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    The CLIO database, especially its connection to a variety of journals, has been particularly useful for me in organizing information for a literature review that can provide the background information necessary for explaining my project. I have also been mainly reviewing online articles through the National Library of Medicine.

    Go to the profile of Peter McMaster
    7 months ago

    My situation has been similar in that in the beginning I was attempting to collect new data while still learning the basics. Now that I have some experience under my belt, I've realized that I was somewhat sloppy in my initial data analysis, so I've definitely noticed some improvement in my technique as well. As we both continue our work we'll definitely be able to juggle multiple tasks as we improve our knowledge of our respective projects and our methodologies. 

    Go to the profile of Wena Teng
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    Pedagogy -  Researching Imperial China has forced me to remove my Eurocentric and Western approaches and methodology; for example, an argument I hope to push is that despite a Confucian family-state paradigm, the "victimized Chinese women" trope is one that masks the heterogeneity presented in  As Dorothy Ko writes, "although women [of Imperial China] could not rewrite the rules that structured their lives, they were extremely creative in crafting a space from within the prevailing gender system that gave them meaning, solace, and dignity." These spaces stemmed from their inner chambers, where with the emphasis on somatic individualism, they used their bodies and minds as instruments of intervention; I hope to connect this, hidden yet powerful, history of Qing women poets/writers to contemporary activists who also use their bodies as instruments of protest, given China's specific public policy. Being able to understand that "Late Qing reforms were far more than a simple and straightforward cultural conflict between Chinese 'tradition' and western-style 'modernity," has also allowed me to dismantle distorting binary lenses. Viewing history from a revisionist perspective redefines contemporary activism and public dissent.

    Accessibility - Navigating databases on Chinese public policy and legislation has been very difficult, especially when the original sources are not very accessible. In addition, I intended to analyze and organize my data using data science, but I am not sure how feasible it would be considering the short time of the program and the scope of my research that attempted Chinese legislation is characterized by legal jargon, as the poetry of Qing-Ch'ing and Late Qing women is characterized by "Old Chinese" and specific references to classical Chinese literature. Nevertheless, it was been an exciting process. 

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Resources like JSTOR, the bibilography of publications, and WorldCat. Yet, while the archives, published work, and databases have been helpful for providing me with preliminary knowledge, the most substantial resources have been the networks I was able to surround myself with to improve my research. Professor Ko recommended countless papers, books, and journals, and answers all of my questions. She provided follow-ups with every connection I made, every contradiction that confused me, and every audacious claim I wanted to make. Her warmth, care, and expertise gifted me a space to be a critical historian, simultaneously reminding me to remove my Eurocentric views of Imperial China while guiding me to create my own conclusions and great conversations of joy/laughter. My graduate mentor Miguel has also been great with engaging in conversation with us on the ethics of research, translation, language, and media. With the guidance of Miguel, my research cohort and I also explored intersections of all of our interests, allowing me to realize how seemingly niche projects are so interdisciplinary; for example, recently, we had a stunning conversation about the ethics of translation, in relation to the Chinese room/natural language processing. Beyond activist literati, through trips to helpful resources like the Interference Archive, my research cohort and I are able to converse about research beyond the bounds of academia. 

    Go to the profile of Asher Baron
    7 months ago

    Given yesterday's Supreme Court ruling, I think we have a lot to learn from your study of women in Imperial China crafting spaces of their own within an overarching system of gender. It has become clear that we are living in a repressive state on many levels, with gender being one of them, and we should not underestimate the power of maintaining meaning, solace, and dignity by ourselves without relying on institutions. I think this takes the form of mutual aid networks today and I'll be curious to see how your historical study connects to contemporary activism. 

    Go to the profile of Peter McMaster
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?
    I have been looking at different gravitational wave events and developing methods of identifying signature halos. Since there is no accepted procedure for this kind of analysis, I have had to get creative and think of ways to identify a statistically significant difference in the number of recorded photons. Given the pace of this project, my scope has definitely changed. I have realized that my work will have to continue throughout the rest of the summer, due in large part to the uncertainties in methodology and all the problems that will likely arise while we try to identify a strong search method and then prove that it is a reliable method of detection.
    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Resources like the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center and the Astrophysics Data System have both been very useful resources, as they have provided me with the data and papers necessary to my project. 

    Go to the profile of Dave Banerjee
    7 months ago

    I've had a similar experience where my project's methodology has been in flux. This affected the timeline, and so I won't be done with my project by the end of this fellowship. I'm looking forward to continuing my project throughout the school year.

    Go to the profile of Peter McMaster
    7 months ago

    Very interesting, Dave. What plans do you have for continuing your project in the fall and spring semesters?

    Go to the profile of Dave Banerjee
    7 months ago

    Thanks for the question Peter!

    I have not fully planned out how I'm going to continue working during the school year given that juggling coursework and research is quite the challenging task. What about you? How will your summer schedule look like?

    Go to the profile of Peter McMaster
    7 months ago

    Well Dave, given my project is rather quixotic and gargantuan in nature, some would say that the monkey's paw has curled; I am attempting to approach my project through both a utilitarian and pragmatic approach, however recently, the idealistic approach has been piquing my interest.

    I'll keep you posted!

    Go to the profile of Elizabeth Carpenter
    7 months ago

    1. One thing that was difficult for me to comprehend was the application of my seemingly tedious spreadsheet work to the larger project. I was also being ask to create a lot of visuals and diagrams for processes that I didn't actually understand. A recent meeting I had was very helpful because my faculty mentor really liked the work I'd done and explained that it was making tons of data into something comprehensible to non-researchers. I now better appreciate my contributions to the team. 

    2. I have mostly used resources provided by my mentors like project briefs and surveys they've done. Linkedin learning has also been very helpful in learning new Excel and Powerpoint skills.

    Go to the profile of Dave Banerjee
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    I didn't realize how much time it would take to get trained on the instruments I need to complete my project. Because of this, I've had to narrow the scope of my project significantly.

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Arxives and science direct have been especially useful for finding papers to study the past literature.

    Go to the profile of Kelly Warner
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    Oddly enough, the study I am working on within the Social and Moral Cognition Lab has had issues with the inference of automated bots on data collection. The study relies primarily upon interviews with children for data collection. However, there have been several occasions when "children" will be signed up for an interview via zoom and no one will show up to the zoom because it was a bot that signed up. While the rest of the research assistants and I laugh about the absurdity of bots interfering with a study on children's moral cognition, it also causes us to use our time inefficiently and hinders data collection. As a result, we have started to adopt some additional steps in our pre-interview procedure that will decrease the likelihood of bot-interference, such as direct emails back and forth between the child's parent and researcher prior to the interview.  

    • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    The lab that I am working with gets its data primarily from interviews, so I haven't had to rely on any archival resources or libraries. If I am ever interested in any of the other studies in the lab I am working with, then usually I consult the other research assistants that work with that study or my lab manager for additional information. My lab also brings in different researchers across the nation that have conducted similar research to present their findings, so if I ever have an interest in any other aspect of the field of psychology or morality, then I am also able to confer with those other researchers. 

    Go to the profile of Ashwin Marathe
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    Since this is my first time conducting an oral history project by myself, I have faced the challenges of each step in creating an oral history project. When I first began, I didn't realize the numerous details you have to flesh out before starting one. I had to locate an archive, which meant finding archives that house similar projects to mine and then contacting them. It was stressful not knowing whether or not I would connect with one. Luckily, two of them have been willing to work with me and house my interviews. I then had to find individuals to interview, which was a challenge as a lot of these protests are organized by local citizens who aren't necessarily famous or easy to contact. I was on Facebook looking at protest "events" and read local news articles from cities in the US about protests that took place there. I made notes of any names and then looked those up—and repeated the process. Now, I have a list of individuals I want to contact to interview. I also had to make the consent/release forms for my interviewees which was interesting to put together. I have to figure out the tech details of it, as the interviews, this summer will be online—so I am meeting with some researchers at the Columbia Center for Oral History to get their input/advice for conducting Zoom oral history interviews. One challenge I am working through right now is finding a translator for next summer when I go to India. 

    What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Columbia's Oral History Center has numerous guides for conducting oral histories, which have proven quite useful as I design mine. I looked at a lot of guides from universities across the US. For research about the protests, I used JSTOR/CLIO/Google Scholar and then Zotero for taking notes. News sources like AP, Reuters, and local news sites were useful for finding info about protests in the US. 

    Go to the profile of Rosie Zhou
    7 months ago

    Hi Ashwin, really enjoy reading about your process of starting and developing this oral history project! It's awesome how you directly reached out to organizations and individuals. I look forward to learning about your interview process, and ultimately listening to your project.

    Go to the profile of Asher Baron
    7 months ago
    • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

    Since one of the organizations I was assigned is a very new one, started in April 2020, it has been difficult to find much information at all on it. I found myself relying almost entirely on the organization's website, which is not always the most objective source to find a good historical narrative. However, what I did find in regards to this second organization was a huge focus on a "chosen family" network in the form of a village setting, with "village stewards" and other caretakers forming a sort of mutual aid village. The lack of outside information combined with this novel organizational structure encouraged me to change the focus of my topic away from a comparative study! (It would have been impossible to compare the first organization with the second when I have so little info on the second). So now I plan to write a research proposal about how harm reduction organizations fit into the broader framework of "chosen family", often present in queer circles.

    What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

    Now that my focus has switched slightly, I've been exploring literature relating to chosen families and drug user networking. What has been really useful to me is citation mining, where I find one good article and then go through the citations to find other relevant articles! This has led me in a bunch of different (helpful) directions as I shift my focus and try to get some background information on chosen family networks. 

    Go to the profile of Rosie Zhou
    7 months ago

    Q1: One challenge I've encountered with regard to my project is combining many different facets and interests. I've been struggling to figure out a way I can combine historical instances of environmental injustice (EJ), the EJ movement, paths forward to advance EJ, and legal challenges surrounding EJ, in a way that is concise and engaging. Because of this, I've been forced to think about how I can best focus on one particular aspect and have that be the basis of my final project. I've also come to realize the importance of local governments in carrying out environmental justice policies, especially in terms of being able to access federal funding, so I'm thinking about providing some sort of resource to my local government in Spokane.  My research has really opened my eyes to how nuance issues relating to environmental policy really are, and the necessity of bringing a variety of stakeholders into the conversation in order to have effective policies and actions. Speakers who have come speak to us at the Sabin Center have really enriched my understanding of environmental justice and careers in environmental protection/advocacy. Through listening to speakers and reading online sources, I've really come to understand that any federal policy relating to environmental justice must involve direct outreach to community members. Further, environmental justice doesn't just mean making sure that certain communities don't face disproportionate amounts of pollution and hazardous waste - it means involving communities in the transition to clean energy and ensuring that all communities have access to clean energy. I've learned about this aspect of environmental justice through Revolutionary Power by Shalanda Baker, a truly revolutionary and eye-opening book.

    Q2: I've found that JSTOR, Zotero, and CLIO have been particularly useful. I was able to access several books related to environmental justice through Columbia libraries, and I'm super grateful that we have such an amazing library system. Papers that my faculty mentor sent me have also been really helpful.

      Go to the profile of Aryan Ghotra
      7 months ago

      Hi Rosie, I also found that Clio has been helpful in finding science-related articles! I also often use PubMed and Google Scholar to find articles that have cited the article of interest. This has led to me to a wide array of sources I have originally did not have access to like manuscripts and doctoral dissertations. 

      Go to the profile of Aryan Ghotra
      7 months ago
      • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

      One new issue that I face is that when three-color imaging, the images of the vacuole are often shifted between the channels suggesting that the channels are not aligned with each other. This makes sense from the double-slit experiment as varying wavelengths of light refract differently. Oftentimes, biologists use beads allowing them to correct the registration. However, for some odd reason, the light shift is not linear rather it is affine and radial making it incredibly difficult to correct the registration. I have been facing this problem for the past couple of weeks and I haven't been able to resolve it. I think that I may instead simply do two-color imaging as the shift is often linear and easy to correct. My project scope has not really changed as I am still interested in microautophagy and Lipid droplet synthesis.  

      • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

      I have used a lot of imaging software like ImageJ and Volocity as these allow for some very powerful image analysis including skeletonization, segmentation, intensity profiles, and colocalization. 

      Go to the profile of Akshay Manglik
      7 months ago

      Hi Aryan, 

      It was really interesting reading about your experience with analyzing cellular and microscopic imagery. I've done image analysis in the context of organs and organ systems, and never considered the physics challenges that one would have to deal with when trying to image at much smaller contexts. I hope you have more success with two-color imaging!

      Go to the profile of Jonathan Truong
      7 months ago

      What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

      As I came to realize last week, I’ve (unintentionally) spent the duration of the program disproving the applicability of my theory readings to the story I’m studying. To contextualize this: Existing scholarship on Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box” and similar works of digital serial fiction have focused on the narratological concept of “concurrent narration,” a term which refers to the concurrence of the narration and the narrated events. As I’ve investigated these past few weeks, this term has been stretched to accommodate—in the case of digital fiction—the transmission and reception of the narrative as it occurs concurrently with the narrated events. But this elastic definition of concurrent narration focuses on the medial and distributional level of the Twitter medium—a level which Egan makes minimal use of in her story.

      From this understanding, I’ve come to shift my research on “Black Box” from its transmission to the act of narrating itself. Thus, my original intentions for the project have collapsed, and under the auspices of my faculty mentor I’m returning, line by line, to the text of the story to redirect my research. While it feels like pedaling backwards, this work has been by far the most generative in guiding my investigation. 

      What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

      Zotero, Zotero, Zotero. Like others, this platform has allowed me to more efficiently manage and catalogue digital materials for my project—which range from Genette’s literary theory to archived Tweets—while making use of its tools for organization, annotation, and citation.

      Go to the profile of Akshay Manglik
      7 months ago
      • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

      One aspect of data collection that was challenging was having to annotate recordings of subjects' memory retrieval. As part of the study, we record subjects during their MRIs as they talk about their memory palace and what they are visualizing, which provides a reference point for what portions of the MRI correspond to specific items and locations. However, in order for this to happen, I needed to listen to all of the recordings and note down the timestamps for when each subject changed topics during their retrieval (which happened 40 times per recording for 3 different sessions). This in and of itself was not too hard, but there were several gray areas that I only realized were issues when actually annotating the recordings: what happens if a subject remembers an item but not the location (which they are supposed to know); what happens if a subject skips an item-location pair; what happens if a subject's recollection is off by one, rendering the entire retrieval sequence technically incorrect? Communicating frequently with my grad student mentor in the lab was helpful in clarifying what to do in these scenarios, and it gave me a deeper understanding of the challenges in analyzing and classifying people's memories. Some of these errors also open up new avenues for research: for example, we might be able to compare the situations in which people misremember or misconnect specific items and locations to understand if there is something specific about the content of a memory that makes it more or less likely to be remembered with the method of loci technique.

      • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

      Most of my research focus has been computational, so online resources dealing with specific programming libraries and packages (such as documentation, online forums, etc) have been especially helpful in conducting my research. 

      Go to the profile of Elianna Lee
      7 months ago

      What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

      Coming into this research project, I had made a plan to solely focus on children and teen's media and products, however, as I came to do more research I realized that the scope of my project must broaden in order to fully realize why some of the products I was looking at came to be. So, in doing my research, I began focusing on bigger pop culture events of the early 2000s in order to more thoroughly understand the relationship between pop-culture and children's media.


      What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

      Toy collector blogs and videos have proven particularly useful, as they are often made by those who track the production of dolls in detail, and they have also been useful in finding other sources that were not available on proquest or clio.

      Go to the profile of Peyton Barsel
      7 months ago
      • What new ideas, challenges, or other issues have you encountered with regard to your project (this might include data collection, information that contradicts your assumptions or the assertions of others, materials that have enriched your understanding of the topic or led you to change your project, etc.)? How have these ideas or challenges shaped the bigger picture of your research? Has the scope or focus of your topic changed since you began this project? If so, how?

      Truthfully, my biggest challenge has been battling the urge to give in to hopelessness. My project deals with the Culture War and watching Roe v. Wade be overturned in the last week of my research project has been nothing short of devastating. I have to remember that all knowledge is good knowledge, regardless of the political atmosphere at the moment. I am so grateful I've had the opportunity to be on a research team that is interacting with topics that are so relevant. 

      • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?

      Proquest Congressional has absolutely been my greatest tool during these 6 weeks. The databases available are so expansive that they can be overwhelming but it is truly wonderful how much information it contains. Sometimes I take for granted how revolutionary technology is to my research but I could not have done it without these online databases. 

      Go to the profile of Andreas
      7 months ago

      One thing that I did not really anticipate being so difficult was confirming the authenticity of texts and learning to acknowledge the contributions of their subsequent compilers/editors that fundamentally alter their structure and content. I have had to work to better understand the processes underlying the transmisison of texts and reframe the received text as a partial and precarious product of multiple exchanges in potentially very different moments in time. I have sometimes struggled to evaluate secondary sources that deal with only a limited part of text's passage through the hands of multiple publishers, editors, compilers, etc.—how does one sensitively approach the received text when it is not always clear what ammendments have been made along the way? Questions like these have forced me to reevaluate what I as a researcher can really verify about a text, sort of like a sense of negative capability. 

      I have used Zotero over the course of these six weeks and I find it to be a useful tool. JSTOR, Google Scholar, and ResearchGate (their reading suggestion algorithm has proven to be particularly helpful) remain my main sources of secondary literature. I hope to continue to expand the sources from which I draw secondary literature to include more specialized databases, but for now these have provided me with more than enough guidance.