About Kate Marsh
I am a student at Columbia University studying Political Science and Statistics. I am interested in the intersections between data, people, and the environment.
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I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes
Week Five: What new skills and/or knowledge have you gained from your summer experience? Have you met anyone who has been instrumental in shaping/helping you conduct your project? Briefly, how has this person impacted you? What have you learned about leadership from this individual, and how might it influence your actions, work, and self in the future?
My research mentor, Hina, has been instrumental in shaping my research experience. She is definitely someone who I look up to— she has one of my dream jobs and is highly dedicated, hard working, and passionate about protecting human rights in national security law. She is also a fantastic leader. Something I’ve learned about leadership from her example is that leaders have a vision. Leaders have a vision for what they believe to be a better future.
When I think of a leader, I usually think of words like “delegating,” “strategic thinking,” “communication,” or “innovation.” All of these ARE characteristics of a leader, but they leave out the passionate part, the core motivation that keeps leaders up at night— the vision that a leader has for how the world could be better, and how to get there.
Hina works tirelessly to represent and advocate for those who have been wrongly detained by the U.S. government, those who have been presumed to be terrorists or disloyal, and those who have been targeted, with their constitutional rights violated. This is because she views the U.S. executive branch’s actions since 9/11 as expansive and ultimately harmful, especially for communities of color. In her leadership, she is guided by the belief that things should change, that Americans must have their rights protected, and that endless war-making and war-based measures will degrade democracy and inclusion at home. I am inspired by that vision and I hope that I can take after her when I enter my career.
I also found my supervisor to be incredibly inspiring but for different reasons. I think it is so amazing that your supervisor gave you a lot of passion for your work and helped you find a vision for your future. Hina sounds like an amazing leader and role model who we should all aspire to be similar to.
I have learned a lot of new skills and knowledge during my summer experience. In particular, I got to solidify a lot of the skills I've learned doing the classes for my concentration in statistics, especially the coding skills in R from my data mining course this past spring. I also have learned a lot about manipulating spatial data and the issues/hardships that come along with using geographical data.
One person who has been instrumental in helping me conduct my project was my supervisor Paulina. She is such an amazing person and scientist, and she has definitely helped shape my relationship with science. I think it can be hard to find role models in stem fields, but she has been such an encouraging boss. In particular, she does a great job of letting me learn on my own but also reinforcing my skills with difficult tasks and showing me how something is done in the end. I think I've learned a new level of leadership from her. I think in the past, I've mostly done very structured jobs where my tasks were clearly given from a supervisor, but this summer I have only really had a supervisor as a knowledgable partner. Instead of telling me exactly what to do or what my tasks are, she would help me figure out generally what was needed for my project. I think her leadership style showed a lot of trust, and I hope to emulate something similar in the future. She was not very tied down in the details, and instead she tried to help me help myself.
For week four, I am discussing the difficulties I have encountered this summer. One stand-out difficulty for me was the isolation of working virtually and from home. While I also had an experience like this last summer during Laidlaw, I found the isolation to be much more frustrating this summer, while things were opening up and some of my friends did have in-person opportunities. For this summer in particular, I found it isolating that I only had one meeting a week with my supervisor and did not get the chance to meet any of the other interns. This has helped me decide that after college I would like to work in a collaborative environment and in an office or work environment. I have tackled the problem by communicating with my boss more frequently and talking to friends more outside of work, although I just do not think that this type of independent research is a field I would like to continue longterm.
My work has narrowed significantly since the beginning of the project. Originally, my role was part of a team working to predict water contamination issues; however, I was moved to an independent research project about just Texas, which then I narrowed to an independent research project about how extreme weather events affect the public water systems in Texas. This project fits my interests in climate change and the effects of weather/nature on human life.
Week Four: What challenges and/or difficulties have you encountered and how did you go about resolving them? Speak to a specific challenge you have encountered and some of the ways that you tackled the problem.
One of the main challenges I’m dealing with is learning and familiarizing myself with a new landscape of scholarship— legal scholarship. There are unfamiliar terms, rules, doctrines, etc that I’ve encountered and had to teach myself about. It’s difficult to dive into a field that you do not have experience in, but it also serves as an opportunity to widen your breadth and knowledge. Usually what I do when I am stuck on a concept is I reach out to my research mentor and ask. But I also think there is something special about finding something out on your own. For example, last week I was reading an article about the sentencing of those convicted of material support offenses, and I didn’t really understand what “material support” meant. What qualifies as “providing material support to terrorist groups” and how can it lead to a sentence from thirty years to life, for a crime that would otherwise result in a sentence of around five years? These questions prompted me to extensively research and teach myself about material support offenses and the Terrorist Enhancement sentencing guidelines, as well as the Treasury’s role in designating certain entities as terrorist groups.
Has your research or work in a community to this point introduced you to any new fields or topics that are of interest to you?
This research experience has interested me in the field of national security law. I’ve known for a couple years now that I want to pursue a career in foreign policy. But I’ve thought that I would do foreign policy analysis (i.e. doing research and writing and advocacy in a think tank or other kind of non-government organization). Now, with this project, I’m realizing that there’s an entire field of national security law that uses law as an instrument for arguing certain national security policy changes. I didn’t know that I could actually *practice* law in a way that would intersect with my interests. I am now considering going to law school because of this research experience. I would love to use a law background to analyze the legality of certain measures (for example, indefinite detention, torture, war crimes, extrajudicial killings), or even have a direct impact on the victims of these policies and work towards accountability.
Hi Beatrix! I also worked within the legal research field last summer, and it was a large learning curve for me, too. The legal jargon often was very confusing, and I even found myself googling symbols I couldn't understand! Doing legal research also showed me the breadth of the legal field and the possibilities someone has with a law degree. Thanks for sharing!
For week three, a typical day on the job starts with logging into my email and checking to see if my supervisor has given me any tips on things I need to work on for the day. Then, I go back to my notes from our previous meetings (every Friday afternoon outside NoCo!), and I open Rstudio. I often find myself overwhelmed with tasks, and I like to write down a few to do for that day. Today, I gave a presentation on the models I had made previously, and I spent a lot of time making a powerpoint presentation for the scientists at my research center. Then I typed up the notes from the meeting and made some adjustments to my models before I have my Friday meeting tomorrow. I am working from my apartment in New York, so I like to take a walk sometime during the day, catch up with a friend for lunch, or go on a quick run!
A typical day of my internship starts with logging onto the editor's meeting, where we talk pitches, current events, and SEO for about an hour and a half. Next, my primary editor will email me an assignment for the week, on which I'll try to start preliminary research. This involves looking through other publications, scanning what's already up on the Honeysuckle sight, and just a simple Google search. If the piece requires interviews, I'll research the interviewee extensively beforehand and make a plan of interview questions.
If this doesn't fill my day, I'll start writing the piece and email a draft to the editor. Typically, a piece undergoes three to four rounds of editing before the final draft is published to the website, and then further publicized on social media. For the multimedia element of this ost, I've included a link to my most recent article for Honeysuckle's Pride Issue: https://honeysucklemag.com/7-lgbtq-comedians-snl-crashing/
Sounds like a fun day! I really enjoy when I have morning meetings to set the tempo of the day in front of me. It sounds like you have a lot of guidance at your job, which I've found essential to growing in a position. I look forward to reading your article!
What new skills and/or knowledge have you gained from your summer experience? Have you met anyone who has been instrumental in shaping/helping you conduct your project? Briefly, how has this person impacted you? What have you learned about leadership from this individual, and how might it influence your actions, work, and self in the future?
This summer, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work in-person in the lab, broaden my horizons and learn new lab techniques. I have been working with a postdoctoral researcher in the lab, who has helped advise and guide my project. From sharing/discussing published literature to learning how to image with confocal microscopy, I have learnt more about how to lead a project and the planning that is required with lab bench work as the plants take time to grow during their individual cycles and we must account for how we can alternate with imaging and analysis to maximize our research efforts and manage these time-sensitive tasks.
Hi Scarlet! It sounds very rewarding to have the chance to work in-person. I hope you get the chance to continue your research and have a leadership role in the lab!