As a Lemelson Fellow, I traveled to Berlin, Germany in January 2009 to conduct a pilot study for my dissertation research. I spent one month conducting intense participant observation and initial key informant interviews, as well as making connections within the Turkish-German community and with other scholars working with the same population. I was able to establish a professional relationship with a group of psychiatrists who run an ethnopsychiatric clinic at a hospital in Berlin, and they have offered to both sponsor me in my funding applications and to mentor me during my future research endeavors in Berlin.
During my pilot study, I was able to contextualize what I had gleaned from the existing literature to be important issues in need of investigation, and to begin conceptualizing the shape of my future dissertation research. Because of this funding, I was able to report on initial findings and emergent themes for my research both at conference presentations and when writing funding applications for my dissertation research. This experience was invaluable to my ability to prove that I have already gotten my scholarly feet wet and am ready to jump into the deep end for my dissertation research.