Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Jakob Seidlitz

jsName: Jakob Seidlitz

Occupation: Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH)

Education (UR and additional): B.S. Brain and Cognitive Science, ’13

Current city/state/country of residence: Bethesda, Maryland  

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I chose the U of R because it seemed small enough to get to know professors yet contained a vast array of interdisciplinary research opportunities. Because I was looking to play soccer in college as well, I chose the university in part because of the caliber of the soccer program as well.

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

I knew after my visit that I wanted to be a BCS major. I had an interest in neuroscience and psychology from high school and after hearing about the BCS program from my tour guide (who was also a BCS major), I knew it would allow me to explore my interests.

What resources did you use on campus that you would recommend current students use?

All I can say is take advantage of the research opportunities available, and seek it out as soon as possible because there is inevitably someone doing research that shares your interests. Additionally, I highly recommend studying abroad to not only broaden your perspective but to just explore other cultures and to immerse yourself in a different educational system.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus?  Have you continued those relationships?

My mentors on campus were mostly within the BCS department, but also my coaches and others in the athletic department. Additionally, my freshman advisor from the Political Science deparment helped guide me through the first couple years.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and I am helping conduct fMRI experiements in both humans and non-human primates. Additionally I am continuing some research that I started a few summers back with a local pediatric neurologist and other collaborators at the NIH. I chose this path because I was not sure on my direction for graduate school and I wanted to continue BCS-related research to help me refine my interests. I also wanted to give myself an opportunity to finish taking pre-requisite courses for medical school to keep my options open for either an MD, Ph.D, or joint degree.