Every Project Needs a Watson and Crick
Growing up as a twin, I knew how to be on a team since the womb. Having someone figuratively attached to your hip for what seems like your entire life, 24/7, is great practice for any situation in life where you might have to work with another person. That being said, conducting research with someone else can be a whole new ball game.
At the start of this semester, I was named BrandJRNY’s research director alongside Chelsea
Harper. Prior to the start of the campaign, I didn't know anyone on the team. That being said, because Chelsea and I were both research directors (the only position held by two people), I knew we would get to know each other well as we would be working very closely. As the entire team quickly jumped into the project, Chelsea and I got straight to work, especially with phase one of our campaign being heavily research-focused.
It’s often hard for me to warm up to others but with BrandJRNY being such a fast-paced environment, there’s no time for the usual pleasantries you’d find among a group of new colleagues. Within the first two weeks of becoming research directors, Chelsea and I had already spent a handful of evenings together scouring the internet and library books for secondary research.
Fast forward four months, where we are today, and I’m so grateful I had the chance to work on the research aspect of this campaign with someone. Aside from the personal benefits like the addition of a new, life-long friend, I’ve also gained an entirely new perspective on conducting research in the social sciences.
I’ve previously conducted a study on engagement on social media platforms, specifically within the technology community, as well as assisted on a few other studies during my time as an undergraduate. Nonetheless, I’ve never worked one-on-one with another person like I did this past semester with Chelsea, and it truly showed me that the saying, “Two heads are better than one,” is a saying that’s too on the nail. Of course, we couldn’t have done the work we did without the support of Carly Smith, account coordinator, or Dr. Colistra, BrandJRNY founder and director.
While only one person usually will be awarded a Nobel Prize, the efforts toward this achievement is almost always a collaborative effort. Teamwork and collaboration bring new ideas and perspectives to the table, allowing a situation to be seen through different eyes or with a new mindset. The ability to talk through a problem with someone or bounce an idea off a partner is underrated.
James Watson and Francis Crick, winners of the 1962 Nobel Prize for the discovery of the double-stranded helix molecule of DNA are two of the most famous scientists in modern history for their work with genetics. The important thing to note here is that two people won the prestigious award, with the support of a team of fellow scientists that included Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins.
I’m thankful for the months I got to work with Chelsea as her fellow research director, as well as with the entire BrandJRNY team. Not only was I exposed to new experiences in the realms of research and academia, but I was also exposed to new parts of West Virginia, people, and so much more, thanks to a new friend. And what could be stronger than a friendship based on data?
Anne Parker, BrandJRNY research director, is a senior at West Virginia University, graduating in December of 2019. She loves all things digital, data-based, and social networked. Check out her work at anneeparker.com, and if you’re a glutton for punishment, follow her on various social media platforms @annep901.