Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Stephen Sedita

seditaName: Stephen Sedita

Occupation: Acupuncture Physician

Education (UR and additional): BA ’03, UR, PhD FAU, MS/BS Atlantic Institute for Oriental Medicine

Current city/state/country of residence: Chattanooga TN

Current Community activities: Community Acupuncture Clinic, Tong Ren, Tai Chi, Hiking

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I like the close knit feel of the campus, the beautiful architecture, and it consistently rated highly for overall value.  As I spent most of my life in Rochester I also wanted to stay near family and friends, and it didn’t hurt that I had a Wegmans scholarship either (ended up staying on part time all through school)

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

I was originally pre-med, comp sci for two years.  I took an AI class that was cross listed with cog sci.  Around that time I also experienced LSD which further interested me in the workings of the brain and mind.  How could such a tiny amount of something completely change experience at its most fundamental level?  It blew my mind, figuratively and literally, and I wanted to know how.  Unfortunately due to the illegal status of hallucinogens very little research exists and no one can explain how a few hundred micrograms of something can totally alter the entire experience of the mind and consciousness.

What did you do immediately after graduation?  How did you decide to take this path?

I spent a year trying to find a job in the field with no luck.  I decided to go for my PhD in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences at Florida Atlantic University.  I was drawn to the complex systems aspect as seemed like a good approach to trying to understand one of the most complex structures in the [known] universe. 

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

I’m an acupuncturist, which developed as a natural lifestyle from my work in the martial arts.  I became increasingly disinterested in the highly political nature of academics and at the same time increasingly interested in acupuncture.  With all my credits completed and half my dissertation done I left FAU so I could devote myself full time to learning acupuncture.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

As the style of acupuncture I practice combines Eastern and Western medical knowledge, my brain sciences background has been very useful.  For example for someone with numbness of the index finger I’ll needle a point that almost touches the cervical facet at C6.  For motor coordination issues I’ll use a point or two on the scalp just above the cerebellum and premotor cortex, for emotional problems points on the prefrontal cortex, etc. 

What is your fondest memory of the University?

I always loved to walk along the river especially in the Spring and Fall.  I’d make a loop from campus, up Wilson Blvd, across the Ford St bridge, back along the Genesee riverway trail and take the footbridge back to campus.  I’d highly recommend the walk to anyone who enjoys walking or hiking.

What advice do you have for current students?

Speak with your faculty and establish good relationships, especially with those whose research you find interesting.  They will be among your best resources when looking for jobs or deciding whether to go on to grad school.