Reflections and Lessons

The SMART trip is almost over and in a few hours, we will be leaving New Orleans. It’s been a long week of interviews and finding strategies that best fit our client’s objective. Each member of the team can attest to the fact that it has been a learning experience. Here are a few lessons from this week’s experience:

  1. Contextualize your research. One of the most important aspects of our study concerns situating the context of the region to understand some of the economic challenges. Considering the historical background of the Gulf South region has been  very useful to our conversations.
  2. Be ready. Each night, our team spends some time to understand the different organizations and leaders that will be interviewed the next day. From this research, we are able to discuss potential questions and clarifying for our clients.
  3. Be specific.This is my first team experience of data collection through interviews. I have learned the act of asking specific questions relevant to our research while taking notes that will be useful to subsequent conversations.
  4. Be open-minded. Going to a place different from your current environment entails a lot tolerance. One needs to be ready to taste new foods, experience new cultures and meet new people who are totally different from you. Because we came from a diverse cultural background, our team was able to embrace the differences that we experienced in the American South culture from our individual cultures.
  5. Team work. As they say, “team work makes the dream work”. I love the Gulf USA Team! Throughout this week, we’ve learned from each other. We’ve come to understand our strengths and weaknesses to ensure that tasks are delegated appropriately.
  6. Debrief! Debrief! Debrief! After each session, we go through an hour long debriefing session discussing the key findings and its relevance to our study. These debriefing sessions have been useful to follow-up interviews.

We are heading back to the cold Ithaca, and we will present our research to the class in February. Most importantly, we will meet with team B to finish our report! We have enjoyed working together and we’re looking forward to an amazing semester!!!

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