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Kingfisher fellows discuss year of research at virtual symposium

Kingfisher Institute LogoThe Creighton University Kingfisher Institute’s inaugural group of research fellows recently concluded an eventful year spent researching race.

The Research & Scholarship Fellows Symposium, held via Zoom on Sept. 22, included the 10 members of the 2019-2020 cohort of research fellows, as well as members of the program’s 2020-2021 cohort. Attendees discussed the inaugural cohort’s research, all of which explored the theme of “Race, Violence and Reconciliation in America.”

The research projects spanned disciplines from across the University, including theology, medicine, education, journalism, philosophy, community affairs and more.

“I just want to say, thank you for participating in this experiment. It was an experiment. It is an experiment, an ongoing one, in thinking about how we do research and scholarship at Creighton,” said Tracy Leavelle, PhD, director of the Kingfisher Institute. “I was deeply impressed by the amount of work, and the level of work … and I was impressed by your perseverance through the uncertainties of the spring and summer.”

The 2019-2020 fellows and their projects were:

At the symposium, the fellows discussed the challenges of continuing their research projects through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the social unrest occurring in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Third-year medical student Pooja Varman, who studied how to incorporate student-initiated justice education into medical school curricula, said the fellowship program helped her recognize that her research work in the areas of social and racial justice had as much academic significance as her medical studies.

“A lot of the racial justice work that I’ve done has been an extracurricular activity. I never saw it as an intellectual, academic activity in and of itself,” Varman said. “I realized, while I was doing this project, that this dichotomy doesn’t need to exist. And there is inherent value and intellectual value in a lot of this racial justice work.”

Last year’s cohort heard from several members of the latest group of Kingfisher fellows, who briefly discussed their own research goals. The fellows also discussed how the interdisciplinary nature of the program helped them to make new connections and round out their research with feedback and input from scholars outside of their areas of expertise.

“I think there was real opportunity – and also responsibility — in presenting my work to people not in my discipline,” said Jacob Rump, a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy. “Having to present what I do in a way that I can’t get caught up in lingo that’s not known to specialists who already know the terms involved is, I think, super helpful to me and probably to others too.”

 

 

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