Field Journal, 2023 Scholars, Week 1

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  1. What do you hope to learn about leadership--your leadership, leadership in general, etc.-- through the Laidlaw program?
  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!

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Go to the profile of Kelly Aika Yoshimura
about 1 year ago
  1. What do you hope to learn about leadership--your leadership, leadership in general, etc.-- through the Laidlaw program?

I hope to learn how to approach leadership by combining different perspectives on community-building and ethical research methods. I enjoy communicating with people from diverse backgrounds and through Laidlaw's network I will be able to take advantage of a broad range of ideas as well as understand how I can maximize my platform/voice. 

  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 my first steps is to develop a schedule and set up a meeting with my faculty advisor. Some of the challenges that come to mind include the methodology of research-- being able to reach out professionally to people, set up interviews, questionaries, etc. I would like to better explore my options within my topic, as well as make a reasonable and specific research question that can be achieved during the program. 

Go to the profile of Daniela Palacios
about 1 year ago

Kelly I really liked your answer for the first one because I also would like to do some interviews and gather testimonials from formerly incarcerated individuals. Some things like informed consent, sensitivity to trauma, and validating experiences can definitely be key.

Go to the profile of Sively de los Santos
about 1 year ago

Kelly, your challenge of being unsure of how to properly conduct the research resonates with me. Right now, because I haven't had an official meeting with my faculty advisor/leader, there is a lot of ambiguity as to what the specifics of research will look like for me. But, I hope your meeting goes well!

Go to the profile of Rojeh Dayan
about 1 year ago

I found your second answer particularly interesting Kelly! I think your first step is very similar to mine, where I will be creating a schedule with my faculty advisor to develop a structure. I also enjoyed the first part to your post, especially where you mentioned combining different perspectives because I believe that learning through others is how we become better leaders.

Go to the profile of Kashish Kumar
about 1 year ago

1. I would love to learn about how I can use my strengths in communication to create a positive, collaborative environment in a leadership setting.

2. I anticipate that my primary challenges will be more technical (statistical techniques) and learning and applying pathways I am unfamiliar with. 

Go to the profile of Cady Chen
about 1 year ago

Completely agree with your answers Kashish! It's interesting to consider how the leadership skills we learned about today manifest in a research lab setting, and it seems to me that clear and accessible communication comprises an important component of ensuring that productive collaboration is possible and that science is approachable to a broader audience than a few infield experts. As for your response to the second question, I have a feeling that designing and learning the appropriate computational techniques to analyze my data will be a large challenge for me too in the coming weeks!

Go to the profile of Kelly Aika Yoshimura
about 1 year ago

Kashish,

I appreciate you sharing how one of your main challenges will be more technical, similarly, I will have to work harder in the statistical and quantitative aspects of my research. 

Go to the profile of Daniela Palacios
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn how to lead in a way that creates a sustainable impact in the intended community and also within the team I am working with. 

2. Some questions I have regarding my research project is how to extract relevant information from legal documents and policy, as well as how the reliability of data and considering policy changes in New York State. I intend to do a general research on NYS and focus on existing education policies that are targeted towards my population of interest. 

Go to the profile of Kira Ratan
about 1 year ago

I think your questions regarding sorting through legal documents and assessing the reliability of policy data are really important ones, Daniela, and a really great first step in going into your research with a critical eye, understanding what you need to be looking for, but also having some familiarity with the context of the work you are looking at, especially given variations in the political climate of NYS, let alone the country as a whole. I think as long as you are able to include any external factors that may have been relevant in shifting certain outcomes/data sets, it will be beneficial for your project as a whole. 

Go to the profile of Cady Chen
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to develop my voice as a more confident leader. Moreover, I hope to learn how to connect with people who have different perspectives from me and to cultivate a team environment that empowers everyone to share their unique experiences and ideas. 

2. My first step is meeting with my mentor to identify my research priorities and design an experimental/analysis schedule, as well as immersing myself in background reading on my research topic! As I get started on my research project, I anticipate having to adapt and shift my research questions as I learn from my mentor what technologies and softwares are available/feasible for me to use in the next six weeks. 

Go to the profile of Kashish Kumar
about 1 year ago

Hello Cady! I think seeking diverse perspectives is a great way to grow as a leader and better understand ways to reach out collective goals. I would love to continue being in an inclusive and open environment in the future so I really agree with this aspect of leadership! I also will need to get aquatinted with unfamiliar technologies and/or methodology in my analyses pipelines and being open to a new way of learning and processing.

Go to the profile of Kira Ratan
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn more about how to apply leadership skills to different peer-to-peer situations and environments, given that we are transitioning to a future where we will work more in teams on projects and tasks created for and by ourselves, and less on tasks assigned by teachers/professors with that hierarchical structure firmly in place.

2. As I look to begin my research, I am thinking a lot about creating a timeline and setting realistic goals in order to be productive in these six weeks and accomplish something that will be fulfilling and aid in my growth as a researcher. My research involves both work in the archives as well as work compiling archives and building a website from there, so I think my first steps will be to plan out specific tasks so that I ensure both sides of the project are addressed fully. 

Go to the profile of Lucia Victoria Enriquez
about 1 year ago

I definitely resonate with the goal of being realistic! It feels really easy to set broad, ambitious goals for a research project, especially when being excited about the project at hand, but I believe that learning to set feasible boundaries for myself and others really helps. I also believe that making leadership skills applicable helps us connect the program more to our everyday experiences - something I want to try out myself. 

Go to the profile of Erica Lee
about 1 year ago

I definitely had very similar reflections on applications of leadership skills! I think it's really challenging to balance hierarchical structures in academia with other social structures.

Go to the profile of Nina Kornfeld
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn about different kinds of leadership and how I can use them to contribute to the communities I am a part of, as well as further develop my own style of leadership. I also want to learn more about utilizing leadership skills in different environments.

2. I think the first challenge on my mind is just getting started on my project. I think looking at what I want to achieve overall is a bit intimidating, and I do not quite know where to start. But breaking down my goals into clearer tasks, and having more conversations with my faculty mentor will probably help me get started. I have already run into some difficulties with the parts of my project that I have started, but I think that is all part of the research process, and I am working to find alternative methods I can use.

Go to the profile of Manan Vij
about 1 year ago

I found your response to question 2 very interesting because it resonates with a lot of the challenges that I may face in my project as well. I like your recommendation of breaking down the overall project into smaller goals, because often times the project can seem very large, until the smaller steps are written down. I will definitely implement this strategy for my project as well, because often the hardest part of a project can just be starting it! 

Go to the profile of Manan Vij
about 1 year ago

1. I would like to learn about how leaders manage conflicts in the research setting, especially when it comes to working with large teams and managing different individuals conflicts within an academic setting. I also hope to learn about how I can use my interests and new skills that I will learn to make a larger, impactful difference on the world, so as to make my research meaningful. 

2. One of the first steps I intend to take to start my project is that I will get very familiar with the documentation and scientific theory behind the concepts I will explore within my project. I would also like to learn how to do a thorough literature search to ensure that I am keeping up to date with the latest advancements in the field.

Go to the profile of Nina Kornfeld
about 1 year ago

I think your answer to the first question points to a really important aspect of leadership. Conflict resolution is a critical part of working with others, and since conducting research is not a solitary pursuit, even though sometimes it may feel that way,  it is an important skill that can be applied to the projects we are working on right now. Also, going through some background information about your project is really great way to get started- after all in order to conduct meaningful research, it is important to first understand what you are trying to find. I think it is definitely a good idea for me to do as well!

Go to the profile of Lucia Victoria Enriquez
about 1 year ago

1. As our panels have already prepared us to do, I hope to learn effective ways to lead a diverse range of people and how to cope with different tasks and scenarios given to me in a smart way. I also hope to continue finding ways to improve my communication skills with research and participating in team projects. 

2. My biggest question is what're the best tools to use for my project and how can I best aid my professor in his aims. I am also hoping to learn about the technical tools I can use to make the process easier and what organizational tools I can use as well 6to schedule my time wisely. 

Go to the profile of Sively de los Santos
about 1 year ago
  1. What do you hope to learn about leadership--your leadership, leadership in general, etc.-- through the Laidlaw program? I hope to learn about the different styles of leadership and different ways leaders interact with their peers. I hope put into practice the novel idea of leadership that there isn't just one leader and everyone else follows or is idle; every person is an individual and community leader. 
  2. As you consider your research project, what questions or challenges are forefront in your mind? What first steps do you intend to take to start your project? For my project, I will be faced with information about names and properties of drugs and medicines that I'm not familiar with. One of the challenges that I anticipate is remembering to differentiate and access understandable information about these medicines. But, I anticipate that my faculty leader will be able to answer any questions I have or guide me to more support. 
Go to the profile of Grace Kaste
about 1 year ago

I feel like I'm in a similar position as you for question 2 - as I'm trying to do background research for the specific topic my faculty member assigned me, I keep getting sucked down rabbit holes and overwhelmed by academic lingo. As you said, I think it's important for me to pace myself by focusing on the more understandable/comprehensible information that's out there, and also to ask my faculty member for guidance.

Go to the profile of Benjamin Oren Goldman
about 1 year ago

1: I hope to learn how to reach a wider audience and communicate my question, results, and methods to a variety of people from all scientific levels. By becoming a better communicator and educator, I can lead in front by contributing to the ecosystem of scientific study at all levels of scholarship.

2:

Questions:

- How does one measure kinetic energy of fluid motion?

- What methods do researchers use to simulate physical systems?

- What is the theoretical understanding of stellar turbulence systems?

Challenges:

- Getting the code to run on my computer

- Understanding how to use the software libraries and write my own analysis code

- Approaching the mathematical equations/theories that I aim to test

Steps:

- Read textbooks on the mathematics of fluid flow and turbulence.

- Look at the source code of my tools to understand how they work.

- Extending upon example simulations to address my own research questions.

Go to the profile of Sarah Bryden
about 1 year ago

Your answer to the first question was very interesting to me, because I'm already finding myself in a similar position. I know that I want to share the results of my research with a variety of people in my personal life, but I think it will be hard to gauge who will be interested in which aspects of the project. 

Go to the profile of Grace Kaste
about 1 year ago

1. As I start my research with faculty at the law school, I want to learn how to maintain the confidence and competence of a leader while working in an environment where I'm surrounded by people who are much more advanced and expert than me in their knowledge of the research topic. Hearing from Pamela about balancing your inner leader with a dynamic of leading from behind or beside feels really relevant here and I'm excited to practice these different styles of relationships. 

2. My biggest challenge is that, although I'm familiar with my research topic, I'm much less familiar with the research community and rhetoric that has formed around this topic. My first assignment from my faculty member is to compile an annotated bibliography of academic literature, so my goal is to apply the skills we've learned with Zotero, as well as the tools from the digital humanities workshop, to make this task less daunting. 

Go to the profile of Karen Zhang
about 1 year ago

Your answer to question 2 really resonates with me, especially because I'm also quite new to research and the anthropological research community as well (for my specific project). Perhaps it starts with breaking down the rhetoric and taking small steps to fully understand a certain topic before approaching the more complex academic literature, though it can definitely be challenging. 

Go to the profile of Rojeh Dayan
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn more about the different aspects of leadership, such as leading in front, leading beside, etc., and how to best implement these different types of leadership. I also hope to learn more about how to build trust and inspire others through leadership. 

2. Organizing my research and creating a structure are forefront in my mind. One first step I intend to take to start my project is to meet with my faculty mentor to establish a structure. Meeting with someone with research experience would allow me to gain new perspectives that I may have not considered beforehand for my project. 

Go to the profile of Karen Zhang
about 1 year ago

I agree a lot with the leadership answer, especially when it comes to the different roles of leadership that one could take (in front, besides, back, or even within!). I also hope to build those as well and know when best to use which one depending on the situation.

Go to the profile of Aleena Garrison
about 1 year ago

I also agree with your answer to the leadership question. The workshop that taught us about the different kinds of leadership was the first time I was introduced to leadership in that kind of way. It would definitely be interesting to see what kinds of situations would be the best to implement each kind of leadership methods.

Go to the profile of Karen Zhang
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn more about using my leadership to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all team members and make sure that everyone's voices are heard while also improving my own communication skills. 

2. Some questions I have as I consider my research project mostly revolve around the ethnographic research methods I will be using, especially with human subjects like conducting interviews. My first step will definitely be to get in contact with my faculty mentor to discuss the research methods and what ethnographic fieldwork research entails specifically. 

Go to the profile of Sarah Bryden
about 1 year ago

Your answer to the second question resonated with me, because I am also trying to learn about the existing research methods and which ones I would find most helpful. For me, I'm expecting there will be some trial and error involved, especially with figuring out what approach to take with the lyrics I'm looking at. 

Go to the profile of Sarah Bryden
about 1 year ago
  1. I hope to learn how to adapt my communication style based on the situation, the goal, or the people I'm working with.
  2. My goal for the first week is to build up background knowledge in my topic, and so the first steps have been reading relevant articles/papers and setting up a meeting with my faculty mentor. My research involves several different areas of study, and I doubt that I will be able to do in-depth background research on all of them, so I anticipate that it will be difficult to know when I have enough foundational knowledge to start the more analytical parts of the project.
Go to the profile of Benjamin Oren Goldman
about 1 year ago

Your answer number one really resonates with me because I also want to improve my adaptability when it comes to communication and collaboration. I also find myself in a similar situation to the one you posed in answer two because I'm slightly daunted by the number of skills and details I will have to figure out. I agree that our faculty mentors will greatly ease this process though.

Go to the profile of Krishan
about 1 year ago

Your second answer about the initial challenge of setting up background research in different disciplines resonates with me, because it is often a difficult first step for me to get used to new fields and new scholarly backgrounds. I usually struggle with being confident enough to move on to the main analysis because sometimes it feels safer to just keep working on background. I think our faculty mentors and grad students might be able to help with propelling me forward into the other stages of my project.

Go to the profile of Aleena Garrison
about 1 year ago
  1. Through the Laidlaw program, I hope to learn more about how to lead effectively for a greater mission rather than for something that is self-serving. Throughout high school and even at Columbia, I’ve noticed that people who are “traditional” leaders (like the president of a club) tend to only pursue that leadership opportunity for a resume filler or networking connections. Not that anything is wrong with that, I understand it completely since we attend a competitive and elite institution. Connections mean everything in a cutthroat environment. For me personally, I find it more fulfilling to lead with purpose and passion for a mission that benefits the people I lead rather than myself. I think that kind of genuine leadership is what I’ve been trying to work towards for myself, and I believe that Laidlaw can equip me with the skills necessary to achieve this. 
  2. I can think of a lot of challenges that will arise for me because I’ve never completed a research project like this, but I think most of my preconceived challenges were just my nerves getting to me. I was able to meet with my faculty advisor yesterday, and a lot of my fears/challenges were settled. I wasn’t sure what my research was going to look like, especially because I wasn’t sure if I would be using traditional research materials or websites. The first step I will be taking to start my research project is to read a portion of my faculty advisor’s forthcoming book. This will help me get a sense of what stage the project is at and give me information to help me get started on my research for my faculty advisor.
Go to the profile of Joseph Karaganis
about 1 year ago

I think that your first answer is really insightful, and it resonates with me a lot. There's a big difference between superficial forms of leadership that aren't purely focused on improving the projects carried out by a group (e.g. leadership roles that are assumed for resume-building) and leadership that exists solely for that purpose. The "genuine leadership" you talk about can be more personally fulfilling and effective than positions focused on developing "connections." But "genuine leadership" also brings its own set of challenges--it forces us to become more committed and invested in the success of our work and it sometimes makes setbacks (regardless of their causes) much more disruptive and discouraging. My hope is that the Laidlaw training sessions can help up overcome some of these challenges and become "genuine leaders" who can actively engage with our teams and our communities. 

Go to the profile of Joseph Karaganis
about 1 year ago

1. I want to learn how to harness my leadership abilities in difficult and adversarial environments. I think that it is very easy to be a passive leader when groups are working together productively, but much harder to be an active leader when situations call for tough decisions and compromise. It's those situations in which effective and thoughtful leadership is most crucial. Through Laidlaw's leadership training programs and involvement with NGOs, my hope is that I'll become better at navigating these leadership challenges when they arise.

2. I have a range of substantive questions about my topic (how will newsrooms handle AI, how could AI be used to fuel misinformation, how will AI impact incentives w/r to media) but also a lot of methodological ones, which may be more pressing during the first few days of my research process (How will I conduct interviews ethically and objectively? How will I manage to avoid bias in my research? How will I incorporate fieldwork and archival research into a cohesive research program?). I plan on creating a more comprehensive and well-thought out research program over the next few days so that I am prepared to begin tackling my project.

Go to the profile of Kayla Pham
about 1 year ago

Hi Joseph,

I appreciated what you said about creating a thorough research plan. I also feel that making sure to plan ahead - and maybe even anticipating things not going as planned - can be incredibly helpful in organizing the ways in which we go about researching. Though I am creating a research plan, I am also leaving buffer time and space to be flexible as research is dynamic and I can imagine it taking us places we perhaps didn't intend to end up at. Thanks for your answer!

Go to the profile of Kayla Pham
about 1 year ago

I hope to learn about aspects or methods of leadership that cultivate inclusivity. More than ever, inclusive leadership is critical for creating positive change that everyone has in hand in creating. A challenge that is at the forefront of my mind is the unintuitive nature of the work I do. It's hard to grasp onto particular topics - similar to learning about new concepts in class that don't quite make sense yet. As I navigate trying to learn more about my topic, I'll be open to asking for help and explanations from those around me and my mentor. 

Go to the profile of Dongfang Linda Qu
about 1 year ago

I resonate with your emphasis on cultural inclusivity in leadership - it is only when we invite people from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of life experiences to the conversation that we can generate fresh perspectives to move society forward. I also resonate with the unintuitivity of research in my work since I also have to familiarize myself with a foreign field of knowledge. I'm inspired to actively ask for help because I'll definitely need it :)

Go to the profile of Krishan
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to expose myself to different leadership styles, by working and learning from my Laidlaw peers that may have strengths in different areas of leadership than I do (for instance those more confident in leading from the front). Taking inspiration from others, I can learn how to be a better leader myself.

2. The first steps that I have started to take in my project, which is the way I usually begin research, is developing a strong background. In this project, this means making an annotated bibliography of sources that are useful in terms of contextualising my project. This of course will be a continuing process, but I am happy that I've so far found some good sources. The challenge for me is always deciding what sources to include and when to move on. 

Go to the profile of Erica Lee
about 1 year ago

During ethnographic fieldwork, I hope to be both a leader and a follower by respecting the authority of the community members I observe while pursuing my own research questions and engaging with members of the research team to hone my ideas. I am really eager to learn more about cultivating and preserving these relationships which balance multiple leadership styles and modes of engagement with others. 

As I consider my research project, I am most concerned about finding a topic that is interesting. During the faculty panel yesterday, I began to reflect on what makes research interesting (popular, innovative, informative for policy, personally resonant). I think that figuring out a bit more about my values and what I hope to accomplish through my research will certainly help me create an interesting project, but I know that this is a massive and challenging undertaking. 

Go to the profile of Dongfang Linda Qu
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn to lead in academia and other spaces where people tend to work in isolation, forging communities with trust and beneficial symbiosis. I also want to take lead in making research more accessible to the public and inviting them to either join the discussion or see the world through another lens. 

2. The scope of my research project requires me to engage with many medieval and ancient primary sources, and manuscript reading is a skill that I've not had much practice with. I will first be familiarizing myself with existing scholarship on these sources and their historical contexts before analyzing the documents myself; having a general understanding would help. 

Go to the profile of Rolihlahla Nyirenda
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn more about the practical application of different styles of leadership and navigating what type of leadership would best serve each situation.

2. The first step of my project involves me setting parameters for my research. My topic (intersectionality) is ver broad and I believe narrowing it down and being more specific would best serve me and what I hope to achieve in these six weeks.

Go to the profile of Ariel Yu
about 1 year ago

1. I hope to learn about how we can change/better our leadership skills when cooperating with different people. As we learn more about styles like leadership up front, leadership beside, and leadership behind, I hope to practice them in real life and make more contributions to the project I'm working on.

2. A challenge for me is to gain a sufficient understanding of criminal justice in Oklahoma, which I had very little knowledge of. This will serve as the foundation for my research in the Justice Lab when I go on researching the impact of previous initiatives and how our project can fill in the gaps. I intend to ask my mentor for more resources and readings to have a grasp of the current situation. Then I will do more online research with the information from CLIO to prepare myself for cleaning the transcripts.