Harrison Gerson

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

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Business and Management Diversity and Inclusion Economics Entrepreneurship Environment Languages Leadership Politics Science Social Sciences

Research Topic

Climate Studies Ecology Regional & Area Studies Society & Culture

Laidlaw Cohort Year

2022

University

Columbia University

I am from:

United States of America

I speak:

English French German Spanish

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes

Yes

Influencer Of

Topics

Channels contributed to:

Social Sciences Scholars' Stories Research

Rooms participated in:

Columbia University

Recent Comments

Jun 24, 2022
Replying to Charlotte Hoskins
  • 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. 

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!

Jun 24, 2022

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.

Jun 24, 2022
Replying to Sylvi Stein
  • 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.

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!

Jun 17, 2022
Replying to Harrison Gerson

One of the biggest issues in the ecotourism sphere is green gentrification, which is when the development or greater use of a green area increases the value of local communities and often displaces them. This process has happened along the High-Line for example. Similarly, ecotourism may not best serve the people who live in the area as well as the environment. I am responding to these issues by educating myself about the current state and history of ecotourism and critically viewing “developments” before assuming that green equals good.

As ecotourism can be controversial, I am considering alternative viewpoints. I am interacting with professors and businesspeople. In both groups, some people feel more positive about ecotourism, even if it may change the environment, caring a lot about the profits and efficiency. Others feel very critical of engaging with new developments and see tourists as less likely to care for the environment on vacation. I want to consider differing viewpoints so that my product presents a nuanced perspective.

Thanks for your interest, Julia! I am considering doing interviews. I will likely do key informant interviews rather than do interviews for quantitative results since making large-scale predictions from interviews may be out of the scope of my project. I am considering speaking to key informants about green gentrification. We will see where the next weeks bring me.

It is inevitable my research will contain bias. My goal is to highlight sustainable tourism in the city environment. In the case that I write a non-academic piece, I hope to use my perspective to emphasize the need for more sustainable and regenerative tourism. I hope to be critical of different entities in the field.

Jun 17, 2022
Replying to Julia Goralsky
  • 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? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Do you hope to produce an annotated bibliography that you reflect on down the line? 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 do have the eventual goal of creating a paper to present the project I have been completing this summer. Yet, the timeline of this mode of presentation will depend on the results my experiments produce within the next 2 weeks. While at the conclusion of the program, I will likely have enough data to begin to construct a general outline, I will likely need to continue my execution of trials into the fall semester. My independent project is also a part of a larger scientific study, and while my own portion of the project is more independent, the work I am ultimately completing will be utilized by the lab to determine the course of future experiments/projects.

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

I am investigating the mechanism of interaction between Wee1 and PKMYT1 inhibitors and ALT positive cancer cells. This involves determining which cell types are more susceptible to the effects of these therapeutics, imaging the process of cell destruction that results from these treatments, and understanding the efficacy of specific drug concentrations. This research can ultimately contribute to the body of knowledge supporting current clinical trials for both Wee1 and PKMYT1 inhibitors, as well as suggest a combination of treatments that could be used in the future. Furthermore, observing the broader effects of drug treatment can help us understand more about the mechanism of the ALT pathway in cancers, which in turn can lead to the development of specific cellular targets and more successful treatments for those suffering from these cancers. My interest in this research thus largely stems from its ability to make a direct, positive impact on those who are diagnosed with cancers that often become resistant to drug treatment. 

Wow,  Julia! The research you are doing in the lab sounds really exciting! Have you had the opportunity to share your progress and connect with other academics in the field from other universities? I'm sure they would love to hear and provide their thoughts! Perhaps, there are some conferences which you could attend which relate to your research!

Jun 17, 2022
Replying to Kelly Warner
  • 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? Will your research be part of a larger scientific study? Do you hope to produce an annotated bibliography that you reflect on down the line? 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.

Since my research is working with a preexisting lab, the study I am currently working on contributes to the findings of the Social and Moral Cognition lab as a whole. Additionally, since the study I am currently working on is the third version of that study, it also contributes to the progression of the individual study. I hope to continue working with the Social and Moral Cognition lab throughout the rest of the year and potentially next summer. Even though the current study I am working on is on track to end at the conclusion of the summer, I hope to continue working with the Social and Moral Cognition lab throughout the rest of the year and potentially next summer on other studies in the lab. However, I look forward to learning about more second summer opportunities and am keeping an open mind!

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

While I think that the importance of anything is relatively subjective, I find significance in my research because it sheds light on to what extent is morality a result of our environment and to what extent is it intrinsic. Also, from a developmental standpoint, it reveals when children start developing a moral system, and in that system what is important? Is intention important? Or action? The exploration of the origin and nature of our morals serves to provide insight into human behavior, which I find incredibly interesting as a potential Human Rights and Psychology major.

Thank you for sharing, Kelly! I find it really interesting to think about how many questions your research brings up. It sounds like an endless field, which leads so much opportunity open! The connections with Human Rights and Psychology seem evident, and I hope you will be able to apply the skills to your major.

Jun 16, 2022

For the immediate future with my research, I am proposing a new interactive Green Map of NYC that expands what people see as ecotourism in an urban environment. I am also thinking about doing a project similar to a literature review, when I will compare different locations of ecotourism and perhaps the people or marketing aspects of them. I am thinking about using Singapore (a model city), Costa Rica (a model traditional location), Puerto Rico (an intermediary for tourists of the United States, since the territory is “national” but also very tropical), and NYC. I might compare them in an academic review or public review to influence the decisions of ecotourists. I might consider applying my research abroad next year in another ecotourist location.

My research matters because it provides a critical lens toward what sustainable tourism looks like. My question on how we view urban ecotourism allows tourists to lower their environmental impact with an urban, perhaps more local trip. I'm interested in the question because it allows us to critically view recreation and develop tourism that can improve the environment (perhaps with restorative tourism) rather than harm it.

Jun 10, 2022
Replying to Fatima Ahmad
  • 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?

The ethical issues I am grappling with in my research mainly concern the breadth of knowledge out there on the Partition and my limited time. I am having to question the "analysis" and "conclusions" that I come to after doing readings since I need to be certain that I am not mis-reading or construing what the academic paper is actually saying. My focus is on the literature of Manto specifically, however, in order to contextualize and analyze these stories, I need to have a good historical understanding of the Partition first. Since this is technically our second week doing research, I have had to shift some of my goals and schedules to accommodate for this additional reading since it is so important to my project as a whole. Furthermore, although I do understand that the purpose of research is to discover something new, give a unique take, uncover something that has been missed, it feels wrong (as in I feel I do not hold the authority to state some of the things I write). However, after speaking to my graduate mentor, this is simply the world of research and a feeling that remains, but one which should not hold you back!

  • 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?

I actually began to realize that my initial research question may have been too vague- after all, I'm looking at a body of literature and seeing what I can extract from it regarding the Partition as a whole. The lack of specificity resulted in me feeling that my research was all over the place and that I was holding on to threads that always cut short. I needed a focus point, and I guess this "general" research has allowed me to begin thinking of a few ideas. One detail that I have started to explore more in depth includes the representation of women. Manto gives a lot of agency to women in his stories and I find this intriguing, considering the cultural and societal norms of a newly formed Pakistan in 1947. This take was inspired by a journal article I read which compared the role of women in the literature of three short-story writers at the time, one of them being Manto. 

Thanks for sharing, Fatima! What your research mentor said seems really helpful! Research is unlike our typical academic training, but it is really amazing to take this new perspective! I think it will come more naturally with a bit of letting go of the traditional course atmosphere. I'm really excited to see where your new depth into the representation of women takes you. So much to explore!