Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Sarah Rosen Fink
Education (UR and additional): BA ’13 in BCS from the University of Rochester, MA and PhD in Psychology from NYU
Current city/state/country of residence: Hoboken, NJ
Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?
I visited the campus before choosing to attend the University of Rochester and knew right away that it was a great fit. The campus was so beautiful, I loved the idea of clusters, and the financial aid was also a big help. Most importantly, the students seemed very laid back and friendly.
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
When I was applying to the University of Rochester I saw Brain and Cognitive Science on the list of majors. I had never heard of it and didn’t really know what it was but it sounded unique and interesting so I randomly checked it off. After taking the intro course, I realized it was actually the perfect major for me. I also did the pre-med track and took American Sign Language, which conveniently fulfilled my cluster requirements and gave me two minors (biology and ASL). I really liked how many aspects of BCS, biology, and ASL overlapped.
What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?
I was the head of the literacy program (we went to local city schools and helped young kids with reading). I also participated in water polo, OBOC, and Hillel. The literacy program was great because I love working with kids and it connected me to the city rather than just the campus. In general, all school activities helped me form a sense of community with my peers and I made a lot of great friends.
Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?
Many of the BCS professors were great mentors. Since I now work in vision science, I have been in contact with a number of them professionally.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take this path?
I worked with autistic kids. I was always very interested in autism both before and after undergrad. Majoring in BCS gave me a great foundation for understanding the neural underpinnings of autism. While I was at the University of Rochester I was also able to take a few graduate courses focusing on autism.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I decided to go to graduate school at NYU for a PhD in psychology (my specific program was in Cognition and Perception, which is like BCS). I focused on vision science since that was one area of BCS that I particularly enjoyed. While at NYU, one of my projects was patented and I now have a startup company based on that patent. I never really planned my career path, it just happened.
What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?
Almost everything: designing and executing experiments, critical thinking, presenting projects, and of course knowledge on how the brain and sensory systems work.
How you are still connected with the University?
I met my husband and some of my best friends there.
What is your fondest memory of the University?
How can you pick just one?! I have so many great memories that I cherish.
What advice do you have for current students?
Enjoy every moment because it will go by so quickly. There is nothing like college.