This post is coming to you from Elizabeth Blank, resident intern at interstitio.
I study management and marketing at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College, where I met Eric (Gladstone, Prof. at Gatton, and co-founder of interstitio), who introduced me to the business of social science. If I’m being honest, I had only a scant grasp of the concept after having been exposed to it briefly in prior lectures and management textbooks. And even now, a month into my working here, I’m still gestating the indelible effect that network composition has on an organization. One thing I quickly realized about behavioral science is that it’s not just a theoretical application, but a full qualitative and quantitative analysis of a network and those who comprise it. Always a curious child, and having never grown out of that trait, I am fascinated by the implications of Eric and David’s work. It’s what drew me to interstitio in the first place—the idea that any problem or question could be solved through scientific inquiry and experimentation. I had finally found a place where my inquisitive nature could be used constructively and purposefully.
Another thing I’ve noticed in my short time here is the true ubiquity of “the network”—that one can be found within virtually any group of cells anywhere. Families, bird watchers, groupies, what have you, are all unique, formed networks. And given the unanimous consensus that networks are everywhere, it only makes sense that we should divulge them thoroughly. When I read books, even fiction, I highlight meticulously, for I know the information you imbibe is only purposeful insofar as your depth of understanding is. The way I see it, the more you know, the truer your understanding of the world becomes. In working here I can see that I’m not alone in this style of thought.
My first project here has been to help construct a conceptual map of the network surrounding interstitio. This process involves scouring various blogs, websites, people, places, things, and ideas… in order to gain an understanding of who is out there talking about topics pertaining to interstitio’s work. Thus, allowing me to create a definitive (for now, as it is in constant flux) taxonomy of relevant terms for observation and analysis. All told, this vat of information will help me to build out a network map that can be analyzed by the PhDs (i.e. the super-smart dudes) that I work with.
The overarching goal of this internship, for me, is to learn as much about the research process as possible. Through my previous job as an office assistant in the Gatton Behavioral Research Lab, I was able to witness the collection of data firsthand, and now my hope is to be privy to the process of designing experiments and studies, as well as the analysis that follows the data collection. I recognize the utter complexity of the issues at hand, and I want to learn more about how to approach those issues in an effective manner. So far, I’m loving the work I get to do here, and I’m looking forward to further expanding my comprehension of this awesome field.