Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Danielle Shaked
Occupation: Research Assistant
Education (UR and additional): ’13 B.A from University of Rochester
Current city/state/country of residence: New York, New York, USA
Current Community activities: Volunteer at the Pediatric Psychology Department at University of Columbia’s Medical Center
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
I originally entered UR thinking I would major in Psychology. However, the psychology department requires its students to take a natural science course as a major requirment. Hence, I decided to take a BCS course. As a student who had never truly understood what “cognition” meant it was a new and exciting field that I immediately in love with.
What resources did you use on campus that you would recommend current students use?
The teachers. The wonderful think about UR’s faculty (at least in the sciences) is that most of them conduct their own research. Most of these teachers are open and willing to welcome students into their labs. The best way to learn BCS is to do hands-on research outside of the classroom.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Melbourne, Australia. This experience was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. I was able to live with Australians, take classes in BCS as well as other disciplines, and travel around Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I currently work as a Research Assistant at Columbia University, in a lab that primarily researches Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive aging. I plan on continuing my education with a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. Having full-time research experience is crucial for this persuit.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I’d like to have completed my Ph.D. in Neuropsychology (Clinical Psych.) and be starting my post-docterate work abroad. I think it would be highly benefical for my career and personal life to gain neuropsychology experience in a different country.
What advice do you have for current students?
Don’t jump straight into a second degree. Take the time to travel, explore your hobbies, make some money, etc. I believe you are more likely to successed in your desired field of study if you take some time off.