Occupation: Graduate student in the Program in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School
Education (UR and additional): B.S. in BCS & Minor in Psychology from the University of Rochester
Current city/state/country of residence: Cambridge, MA, USA
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I chose to attend UR for three main reasons: the University’s strengths in the sciences, the many research opportunities available to undergraduates, and the cluster system. This combination allowed me to focus my energy on what I cared most about, and as a result I was well prepared for the challenges that awaited me in graduate school.
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
I came to UR thinking that I would major in psychology, but I quickly began to miss the hard sciences that I had most loved learning about in high school. By deciding to major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences at the end of my freshman year, I was able to continue studying biology as well as gain valuable perspective into research methods via related courses in statistics, computer science, and linguistics.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was a member of the Brain & Cognitive Sciences Undergraduate Council, eventually becoming its president in my final year. Through the UC, I gained valuable experience organizing community outreach events geared towards introducing neuroscience to elementary school students, an activity that I have continued in graduate school.
Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?
My primary mentor on campus was my undergraduate research adviser, whose lab I worked in during my junior and senior years at UR. She graciously provided me with the opportunity to bring a research project of my own from start to finish, and since my graduation we have presented my work at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting and published a peer-reviewed journal article.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take this path?
During my junior and senior years at UR, I worked in a neurobiology lab at the med school and greatly enjoyed applying what I learned in class and experiencing how research is actually performed. Continuing in this career was a natural choice, and I began my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Harvard University in the fall after graduation.
What advice do you have for current students?
I would recommend getting involved in research early in your time at the University. Even if you are only thinking about pursuing a Ph.D. in the future, the experience of figuring things out on your own in the lab is a great way to build your critical thinking skills and cement your understanding of the concepts introduced in your coursework.