Mia Richmond

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

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Humanities Law Social Sciences

Research Topic

Philosophy Psychology

Laidlaw Cohort Year

2021

University

Columbia University

I am from:

Canada

I speak:

English French

My hobbies/interests are:

Cooking/Baking Crafts & DIY Hiking/walking Podcasts Reading

I am open to participating in mentoring/buddy programmes

Yes

Influencer Of

Recent Comments

Jun 03, 2021
Replying to Joanne Park
  • 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 run into a lot more pushback on the value of teaching philosophy than I expected I would. Initially, I was thinking that the majority of those opposed to philosophical pedagogy would be so because of its lack of direct applicability to a particular career (e.g. those working in technical fields who think philosophy is less portable). However, I realized many critiques were much more nuances—such as Charles Mills's critique of ideal theory as under-analyzing (especially racial) structures of oppression. As such, my project has shifted to be less of a defense of "how" to teach philosophy, and more of an exploration of why it might still be valuable to teach ideal theory, despite its shortcomings in considering systems of oppression. In a way, the scope of my project has narrowed down, especially as I observe the teaching of philosophy in my work transcribing Prof. Mercer's lectures.

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

I've mostly relied on CLIO's research tools and peer-reviewed papers to do research. I've found that it's useful to take some of the basic papers available on CLIO to narrow down search terms, and, if I don't see the precise thing I'm looking for on that database, using other databases or search engines like Google Scholar. I've also gotten a lot of insight on what bodies of literature may be helpful to me from both my graduate mentor and my professor. 

Hi Joanne! Your post was really interesting to read because as a prospective philosophy major I also tend to assume that people raise concerns over its lack of direct applicability to a particular career or the "real world." I will definitely read into Charles Mills' work on philosophy and racial structures of oppression -- it sounds very relevant! I also agree that in my personal experience, CLIO and Google Scholar have been very useful resources for finding papers. Thanks, Mia

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?

Since almost all of the lab’s work is virtual due to the pandemic, one of the challenges I have faced with regards to running participants over Zoom is having kids get easily distracted and bored given how young they are. I have mostly been working on the RELCU study, which is around 30 to 40 minutes long and the kids involved are aged 5-8, so sometimes they can get impatient or inattentive. I have learned different strategies that help keep them engaged, and it is really rewarding when the participants enjoy the study too! The scope and focus of my topic has changed significantly since my original Laidlaw proposal. I had originally intended to focus on incarceration and criminal justice, but since all of the participants I have been running over zoom have been for RELCU and most of the recruitment/data entry I have been doing is for RELCU I will be focusing on religious curiosity.

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

My mentor, lab manager, and other research assistants have been amazing resources thus far and have been able to provide a lot of insight and advice with regards to my research. So far, I have been primarily using Qualtrics for collecting demographic information, the REDcap database for scheduling and recruitment, and psychological journals.

May 29, 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.

My immediate goal is to write a paper that expounds on the conclusions that I have been coming through during this research project, which I am hoping to be able to submit for publication. Based on my graduate student mentor's advice, I've been looking at submission guidelines at some undergraduate journals to get a sense for the length I could aim for, which has given me some structure to write, even though this of course is not for an actual class. My hope is to be able to finish this paper by the end of our six-week research period, though I am really keen to build on this work over the course of the next year, and eventually, I hope, move into the space of public humanities, to make Mahadevi's writings more accessible to broader audiences.

To pursue this, I realized I would like to be able to strengthen my own Hindi background, so that I am more comfortable engaging with her writings in their original form and with the Hindi scholarship on her literary contributions. For the second half of this summer (after getting advice from Professor Rakesh Ranjan, who runs the Hindi-Urdu Language Program in the Columbia MESAAS Department), I will be taking an intensive Hindi course at the American Institute for Indian Studies, housed at the University of Chicago (virtually, given the pandemic!); after that, I hope to take Professor Ranjan's Hindi seminar next year, which offers students a chance to bring their own Hindi-related research interests into the class and work on them with faculty guidance. I think this could offer me a chance to engage more closely with Mahadevi's poetry (since my work this summer has been more focused on her essays), and also on the connections between her poetry and that of the 16th Century Indian female poet-saint Mirabai, which was something that has intrigued me during my readings this summer, but that I haven't been able to fully explore as it fell outside of my current research question. I'm definitely hoping that spending this time focused on studying Hindi formally again (after many years of not being able to do so!) and engaging with Mahadevi's work will allow me to extend this project on her into the second summer of Laidlaw!

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

I think my research offers a chance for us to reconcile two 'sides' to a rights debate that seem to be often pitted against one another by present-day activists and scholars: the cause of anti-colonial or racial justice — i.e. dignifying a non-white, non-western community — and the cause of equal rights for marginalized communities, such as women. Mahadevi was an individual who was a staunch activist for both causes, the cause of Indian independence and of women's rights, and in her essays, both in her political work and in her personal life. I think her arguments are incredibly compelling, and demonstrate why voices like hers are needed to truly grant Indian women equal rights and dignity: she has pointed out that these two 'sides' that have been the most prominence — Westerners advocating for colonialism to 'protect Indian women' and orthodox nationalists opposing any reform to 'undermine colonialism' — reduced Indian women to 'objects' and 'symbols' within Hindu marriages, when instead they should have been allowed to develop individuals with agency. As a result, I think she has powerful ideas to offer to us in the present-day (this point about treating those at the intersection of two marginalized identities as individuals, not symbols, I think can certainly apply outside women in Hindu marriages in early 20th C. British India), and that these should not be overlooked solely because the majority of her writing was in Hindi, or because she was one of the few Indian women of her time who was able to claim a place in the public sphere.

Hey Mrinalini! I am also thinking about submitting a different piece to an undergraduate journal as most of my current work is part of a larger project in the lab that might not have a concrete outcome within the 6-week time frame of the first Laidlaw program. Taking a Hindi course for the second part of summer sounds like it will open up a lot of doors to engage with Mahadevi’s poetry, especially given that you are planning on continuing this for the second summer of Laidlaw. I completely agree that Mahadevi’s individuals should not be overlooked, and believe that your project is incredibly important in making her writing more accessible. Looking forward to following your work!

May 29, 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.

So far, most of my research has involved recruiting participants from the REDcap database, scheduling studies, running studies with children (aged 5-8) over Zoom, and entering and checking data. Although the lab has several ongoing projects, I have been primarily involved with a study examining children’s responses to people who are curious about religion versus science. This study takes approximately 30 minutes to run over Zoom and involves measuring the child’s attitudes about the character (consisting of questions about whether a certain character is good or bad, nice or mean, and whether their behavior is good or bad and right or wrong). The study has six different conditions, which vary depending on science vs. religion and curious vs not curious and knowledgeable vs not curious and knowledgeable). I am hoping to continue working with the Social and Moral Cognition Lab throughout my time at Columbia and am interested in pursuing my interest in moral psychology in my own time as well. As my primary research interests involve perceptions of punishment and applying restorative justice principles within the criminal justice system, I have been doing a lot of reading in my own time to deepen my understanding and am planning on getting in contact with digital scholarship services at the Columbia Libraries to talk about the possibility of creating a website or starting a podcast. After the presentation in our first week of the program, I have been thinking a lot about how to make research findings engaging and accessible to the public. I will also be participating in a summer program with the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding that begins mid-June which involves group research projects and learning about different research processes and methods specific to moral psychology. As an undergraduate, the opportunity to hear from the guest lecturers is very exciting and I hope it will allow me to explore possibilities within the field of moral cognition. I will also be attending a crash course in R workshop in June to learn skills important for data cleaning that aren’t covered by traditional statistics courses as well as Tidyverse and language-based methods.

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

The Social and Moral Cognition Lab conducts a lot of research with children to investigate how different age groups reason differently, make moral decisions, and think about people who are different from them. Childhood is an incredibly important phase in human development and research can provide great insights about how cultural and social rules are absorbed and learned by children. For example, research shows that children can actually display a sophisticated understanding of moral transgressions and punishments, and studying how children think about those administering these interventions can reveal how our conceptions of justice and fairness are rooted in ontogeny as opposed to which beliefs are learned. As a psychology and philosophy major, I am fascinated by moral change, perceptions of punishment, and the psychological roots of inequality. More specifically, I am hoping to pursue research on how to apply moral psychology to implement restorative justice principles within American jurisprudence. If we learn about children’s perceptions of incarcerated individuals, we can examine how social psychological processes contribute to inequality.

May 21, 2021

What are some of the ethical issues that you are grappling with in your research?

Some of the ethical issues in my work involve research with minors and ensuring human subjects protection. Oftentimes, social and behavioral research can carry serious risks and harms when it comes to psychological health as well as autonomy and privacy. The Belmont Report lays down the foundation for federal regulations and outlines the primary ethical principles when it comes to research with human subjects: respect for persons, justice, and beneficence. More specifically, when using children as research subjects, it is essential to ensure that there are protections in place and that we account for parental permission. I also completed the CITI training modules in which I learned a lot about federal regulations in an adult consent process as well as factors that ought to be considered when developing child assent processes. 

What are some of the ways in which you are responding to these questions?

This week, I conducted my first zoom session with a six year old. We ensured that the parent filled out the consent form, but also had to double check with the subject that he wanted to play the games. Furthermore, we do not record the studies unless there is explicit consent and we also take measures to protect the subjects’ privacy by only using subject ID numbers instead of names (we only use names for recruitment and in the database) when entering and checking data.

May 13, 2021
Replying to Suan Lee

1. It was a privilege to hear about everyone's vastly different projects and learn about a variety of research methods from last week's workshops. They've encouraged me to think bigger and more creatively about the way I might present my own work and make it widely accessible. For example, I am now considering how digital initiatives such as podcasting or creating an online exhibit might be a more compelling final product, as opposed to the traditional academic paper that often culminates from historical/archival research. 

2. I've already had a bit of a setback with the microfilms I was relying on for my research not arriving at Butler in time. I have had to identify other preparatory research to do in the meantime which, thankfully, was not at all difficult, but it's been a disappointment nonetheless. Lesson one of doing research, learned: plan ahead for the things you can't control going a bit off course!

Hi Suan! I also really enjoyed the digital scholarship services workshop and am thinking of engaging ways to present research. Let me know if you want to discuss podcasting, I know Luiza is also thinking of that so maybe we can share tips and collaborate. I agree that these initiatives require more creativity so it would be nice to have people to discuss ideas with. Best of luck with the microfilms!

May 13, 2021

Field Journal 2021 Scholars - Week 2

Last week the training and discussions we had cut across the disciplines. How does the interdisciplinary nature of this program, the fact that students are focusing on such a diverse range of projects, help you think about your project and/or your academic interests more broadly?

I really enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the Laidlaw workshops; it was fascinating to hear about everyone's projects and I think they are extremely interconnected even though they may initially seem to be vastly different. For example, Luiza and I were discussing how we might use the digital scholarship services for podcasting, and Joanne and I are both working on projects related to philosophy. Even if our topics don’t overlap, I often find it valuable to work with and exchange ideas with other students in the Laidlaw program as they provide insight into alternative approaches, or can provide tips on how to use Zotero and other features. 

 As you begin your individual research projects this week, do you anticipate any challenges in getting started? If so, what are they?

Some of the challenges in getting started involve figuring out the best way to communicate with my lab given that everything is online. We have lab meetings every Friday, but other than that we primarily communicate via email or text. I was just added to the Slack channel, which should be helpful in getting started because sometimes it can be difficult to know what I should be prioritizing. Additionally, I reached out to one of the other new RAs so that we could practice conducting studies on each other and familiarize ourselves with the procedure. So far, I have primarily been reading a lot of papers, navigating databases and reviewing the RA Lab Manual.