This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.
Input and Output: Opportunities Afforded to tPP Team Members
Over the course of my time with tPP, I have been offered numerous opportunities by our executive director Dr. Michael Loadenthal and by the project itself. These opportunities have led to invaluable experiences for my professional career development. Beyond the direct impact my work with tPP has on my resume, the tangential exposure which I have garnered as a result of my involvement with the project is unequivocal. Of course, these opportunities are not handed out for free. With meticulous and quality work, I and many other tPP members have dedicated themselves to the project, leveraging a hard work ethic to further personal development. tPP is arguably the most profitable experience I have listed on my resume in terms of both personal and career development. tPP has taught me how to be an effective team member in pairs, small groups, and large groups; has led to infinite leadership opportunities; and has even given me the chance to submit my research on the dataset for publication.
In terms of teamwork, tPP has a complex hierarchy of members in which pairings and groupings evolve. At the most basic structural level, each semester has given me a new, consistent partner for coding purposes. Working one-on-one with another member of the team is difficult at times as disagreement often occurs during the coding process (specifically among contentious variables such as ideological affiliation, tactic, and completion of crime). These disagreements are unacceptable without resolution, so compromise is a necessity – an extremely crucial skill to possess, professionally.
At a more profound level, I have co-authored elaborate research papers with team members for the duration of entire semesters (about four months), learning the value of patience, negotiation, and tenacity. Furthermore, team work has permeated my time with the project in terms of planning for the team in a collaborative environment such as round-table meeting for the general body and the steering committee.
With the opportunity to be a member of the Steering Committee as the prime example, the leadership opportunities which I have been offered throughout my time with tPP are endless. As a member of the Steering Committee, I am able to see the project from a new perspective. Available to help guide and mentor new members, inclusion in important decision-making and project updates, and service as a reference are just a few of the many responsibilities associated with this position. Having this experience listed on my professional resume will open many doors for me, but over a year of loyalty and commitment to tPP granted me the opportunity to fill this roll. Action, reaction; hard work, payoff; input, output.
Other leadership opportunities bestowed onto tPP members include representing the project at conferences and other university sponsored events, and communicating with the project’s expert advisory board – building a professional network along the way. The most beneficial of all of my tPP experiences; however, are the publishing opportunities I have been awarded throughout my time with the project. Advantaging the connections I have through tPP – from Dr. Loadenthal to the expansive advisory board – I have been able to submit various works to multiple publishers, including leading journals on the subject of Critical Terrorism Studies. Receiving feedback from reviewers and editors has been a unique and insightful opportunity to improve my writing and prepare for a professional career. Having works reviewed by journals and being on a project which has produced publications is extremely impressive on a resume for undergraduates, and differentiates me and others working with the team from competition when applying and interviewing for potential job positions.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunities tPP has given me during my course of work on the project. From improving research and writing ability to affording unparalleled leadership opportunities, the weight this project has on my academic experience is insurmountable. I have gained a unique skillset as a result of my involvement with the project, and the magnitude this impact has had on my personal and professional life is uncontested. I will continue to give my best to tPP, and I rest assured that the project will continue to give back to me.