Eleanor Campbell

Student, Columbia University
  • Columbia University
  • People
  • United States of America

About Eleanor Campbell

Hello! My name is Eleanor Campbell, and I am a 2021 Laidlaw Scholar. I am a student at Columbia University in the City of New York, and I am originally from Raleigh, NC, USA. I major in Economics, and I am particularly interested in Behavioral Economics and the intersections between Economics, Neuroscience, and Psychology.

During my first year with Laidlaw, I worked with Professor Hitendra Wadhwa of the Columbia Business School in developing a leadership fellowship for aspiring young changemakers.

For my Leadership in Action project, I will be traveling to Ghana to work on WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Health) guidelines with World Vision in partnership with Columbia University Undergraduate Global Engagement.

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Economics Leadership Social Sciences

Research Topic

Education Health

Laidlaw Cohort Year

2021

University

Columbia University

I am from:

United States of America

I speak:

English

My hobbies/interests are:

Cooking/Baking Dance Gym Hiking/walking Running/jogging Travelling Volunteering

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes

Yes

Influencer Of

Topics

Channels contributed to:

Leadership

Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

Comment on Opportunity!!!
Mar 05, 2022

Thank you so much for sharing this, Inkindi!
Yes, anyone with questions should feel free to contact me, and we look forward to reading your applications.

Nov 05, 2021

I love this beautifully designed poster and your lovely artwork!

Jun 03, 2021
Replying to Avi J Adler

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 challenge I have faced over the past weeks is time constraints. My project requires protocols that can sometimes take three to four days to carry out. Considering the limited timeframe of the Summer A semester, fitting in all the data collection that needs to be accomplished has proven to be challenging. This has forced me to focus the scope of my project. In addition, it has forced me to be highly organized and forward thinking about when experiments will be started and carried out. In addition, taking clear and useful images of my samples has proven to be a challenge. By the nature of the samples (often only a few microns wide) generating intact samples with correct fluorescence and morphology is arduous.

These challenges, among others, only enhance the ambitions of my project. Thinking about the bigger picture, the time constraints and technical challenges have only furthered my conviction that more work is needed on this topic. Although this is not surprising to me, I am more convinced now of how crucial it is to keep learning, working and progressing. I hope to be a part of future studies of this nature.

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

Online databases and websites devoted to academic sources have been crucial to my research. Even though my work does focus on researching databases, they have proved to be an invaluable resource. These sites give me insight into what is known in my field, what work others have done, what techniques have proven successful, among many other things. Overall, probing these websites has provided a framework by which I can begin to ask questions.

I'll second Jacqueline's agreement with your feeling time-constrained, Avi. It's hard to believe we're already 5 weeks in! I can see how the two main problems you're facing exacerbate one another. It's difficult to keep moving forward when images that you need to collect along the way don't turn out, and it's difficult to get exactly the images you need when you feel the pressure to keep moving. It's great to hear that you've been devising strategies to plan ahead, and I hope they've smoothed the somewhat hectic nature of research on a timeline. If you have any organizational and forward-thinking tips, I'd love to hear them sometime! 

Jun 03, 2021
  • 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?
  • At first I was really looking at the market for gap years: what educational experts had to say about them, what students had to say about them, what a gap year looked like. Now, however, I'm looking at broader educational transformation and changemaking, so I've been reading pieces by spiritual leaders and activists, as well. At first this transition in research was tough because I got caught up on researching the specific age group and only focused on university-level reform. But this meant that I started reading more about logistical problems with academia rather than systemic ones. Now I've started thinking more about the big picture again and am not so caught in the weeds of the university environment.
  • What research resources have proven particularly useful to you as you continue your research?
  • Google Scholar has proven particularly useful to me. Although at first I found myself struggling to find scholars who were talking about exactly the sort of educational transformation I was interested in, once I found even just a couple, Google Scholar made it easy to find many more who had similar messages by showing whom they'd cited and who was citing them. 
May 28, 2021
  • While all Laidlaw Scholars will be presenting their research at the Columbia Undergraduate Research Symposium in the fall, what are the more immediate expectations that you have for your research? Are you writing a paper you hope to get published? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Is your research now the first phase of a project you’ll continue to work on throughout the year, and/or next summer? Now that we are nearing the one month mark of the program, please write about your expectations for your research.

I plan on writing a preliminary paper by the end of this research period. I do hope to get published, but I am also considering working on this project next summer and maybe refining my essay. There are definitely more avenues that I want to explore that surround my topic, and I am not sure if that is the most conducive to writing one paper or several. Regardless, I definitely want to have at least a rough draft and sizable bibliography by the end of the six weeks. 

  • Why does your research matter? Explain the significance of the question you are investigating, and why you are interested in it.

I believe that museums serve a critical function in projecting a sense of identity and solidarity to a larger community. Through the careful preservation, study, and presentation of important cultural objects, we learn more about each other and humanity as a whole. As a result, museums retain pretty revered positions in our society and are often seen as reliable sources for academic inquiry. However, as numerous studies over the history of museology have shown, museums are much less unbiased and unproblematic than we would initially expect. Museums have actively benefitted from or perpetrated imperialism, racism, sexism, etc. Recently, calls for social justice within museums have been amplified, and I believe my research is illuminating yet another avenue that museums can improve on. Due to the aforementioned influence of museums, these institutions have a social responsibility to grapple with the ethical issues that underlie their collections.

So cool that you're likely continuing this research next year, Jacqueline! I'm interested to hear what your plans with it are and if you're planning on traveling to do fieldwork related to your repatriation work. Hopefully you'll get some on the ground experience with museums that are consciously grappling with systemic imperialism, racism, and sexism or even the opportunity to help reform those that aren't.

May 28, 2021
  • While all Laidlaw Scholars will be presenting their research at the Columbia Undergraduate Research Symposium in the fall, what are the more immediate expectations that you have for your research? Are you writing a paper you hope to get published? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Is your research now the first phase of a project you’ll continue to work on throughout the year, and/or next summer? Now that we are nearing the one month mark of the program, please write about your expectations for your research.
  • I may continue with my research after these 6 weeks, as this is a big project that will require ongoing commitment to bring the final product to fruition. We're still in more of the research and development phase of the project, but eventually my faculty mentor would like to create a pilot fellowship program, so there is a lot more content and logistical research to be done before then.
  • Why does your research matter? Explain the significance of the question you are investigating, and why you are interested in it.
  • When I first applied to the Laidlaw, this line in the project description caught my attention: "Universities have excelled in teaching liberal arts and STEM curricula. A critical need today is to also teach life and leadership skills to students to prepare them for a world that is transforming around us in an accelerated manner." This idea still motivates me as I research. I think we, as Laidlaw scholars, are uniquely attuned to the necessity of learning these soft leadership and life skills even as we study more traditional academic disciplines. Young leaders who are both knowledgeable and passionate about sharing themselves and their ideas with the world in a way that benefits the public good are invaluable, and hopefully this fellowship would help craft those leaders.
May 21, 2021
  • What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?
  • I think the main ethical issue with my project is making sure this gap year program is accessible to the people who would benefit from it the most. I was reading something the other day about how we should view gap years in relation to the college admissions scandal from a couple of years ago. Paradoxically, the people who needed entry to college the least--those who already had money and connections that would allow them to be successful even without a college degree--were the ones most likely to game the system and to gain entry to college. A more effective market instead would reach the people who needed college degrees the most. We need to think about gap years this way, as more often than not, they are taken by wealthy kids who would get by just fine without them. For now, the most common way of doing this is through need-based scholarships, but it's worth thinking about how we could re-design the system at large.
  • As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project?
  • Yes. At first I was very focused on researching the current gap year market in the US, as that's where I have the most knowledge. But my advisor encouraged me to look to the international market, especially India. This caused me to realize just how narrow my worldview previously had been and how much there was to be gained in getting a little out of my comfort zone and listening to other voices I had overlooked. 
May 21, 2021
Replying to Joanne Park
  • What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research? What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

One ethical issue that comes up in philosophy of education is the exploitation of minority/marginalized voices as objects of study. As in, academia has a tendency to take the experiences and viewpoints of people who do not necessarily have access to power and privilege, and study it disrespectfully with the intention of personal gain. Given that my project analyzes the teaching of philosophy in difficult circumstances (e.g. prisons), it seems necessary for me to help strike a balance between effective teaching of material and seeing the imprisoned individuals as "test subjects" to be studied for my own good. To prevent dehumanization, I'm primarily focusing on the interviews and testimonials from Prof. Mercer's students, understanding that material as an authoritative source/something to teach me what happens in prisons, rather than something I personally should be "improving".

  • As you continue your research, have you considered alternative viewpoints in your investigation? If so, how have these alternative viewpoints enriched or changed your project?

Yes, something that's come up for me a lot is the functionalist, career-focused model of education, which rejects the teaching of "soft", humanities disciplines and emphasizes the need for people to build career skills. Given that philosophy does not always directly translate into money making skills, it seems prudent for me to identify why learning and working with philosophy can produce portable skills. However, this opposing viewpoint has also compelled me to justify why it is valuable to learn things that may not always directly translate into a career; for example, certain philosophers might help someone better understand the conditions under which they've been imprisoned, while others may help build moral virtue. 

Hi Joanne, 

I really like how you're considering the ethical issues at play in your work. It seems like such a tricky line to walk: making sure that underrepresented communities aren't overlooked in education while also making sure that they don't simply become objects in our educational practice. On either extreme we're doing a disservice to them and to ourselves, but it's so hard to stay in between. You seem to be having all the right thoughts on this, and I hope you're able to bring them into fruition.