Powering through the first week of the Summer Institute

by Nicole VanKim

Guest Blogger, Reporting from the Summer Institute 2011

The first week of the Summer Institute has been an amazing jumping off point for the upcoming three weeks. In the past few days, we have covered numerous topics in the seminars including identifying populations, conceptual frameworks, research methods, research ethics, and how to write research papers. These topics provide many of the participants with some of the foundational pieces needed to effectively approach our research and in many ways, help to equalize the playing field for all of us in the room. For example, some participants come to the institute with very strong skills in conceptual frameworks and a lot of writing experience, while others may be stronger in the area of methods. Getting us all on the same page helps us to strengthen our respective weak spots. The data lab each afternoon has been filled with the low murmur of keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, and conversation about data nuances as we studiously explore our various datasets in preparation for setting up our research proposals. I am very excited to see what everyone’s project is going to be and look forward to hearing presentations on the final day of the institute.

Apart from the exciting happenings of the Institute, I will be enjoying my first weekend in “Beantown” with the major heat wave headed this way.

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