UNDERGRAD INSTITUTION AND MAJOR:
University of Scranton, B.S. in Neuroscience, 2015
- Neuroscience Student of the Year Award at the University of Scranton, 2015
UNDERGRADUATE OR POST-BAC RESEARCH:
I worked on several different projects including the effects of oral administration of Tylenol on spatial memory in mice, testing a new model of inducing colorectal hypersensitivity in mice, and effects of exercise on musculoskeletal hypersensitivity. My main focus as an undergraduate was studying the effects of octopamine - a norepinephrine analog in invertebrates - on ant social behavior. For my honors project, I wanted to understand how exposure to octopamine during pupal stages affects social behaviors in adulthood. This mainly included making trips to forests in Florida to collect the colonies, troubleshooting ways to inject ants with octopamine, gathering and analyzing behavioral data, and optimizing ant brain staining protocol.
WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN RESEARCH?
I was always fascinated by human behavior, and the fact that a complex set of biological machinery can generate the abstract qualities of the mind steered my interest toward neuroscience. Talking to professors and learning about the methodology behind some of the classic experiments gave me an appreciation for research. Research seemed like the perfect profession that pays you to be a student for life. Also, the possibility of making new discoveries first hand is enticing.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE MN?
I like the friendly Midwestern feel, great pain research (my primary interest), and the rigorous neuroscience program. After talking to the graduate students and some of the faculty members during recruitment weekend, I decided that this was the most challenging neuroscience programs of the ones that I had seen. Also, the graduate students all seemed to get along with each other and were/are amazingly brilliant, helpful, kind, and approachable.
STUDENT MENTOR AND THE BEST ADVICE THEY GAVE.
Jenn Cook has helped me out innumerable times. The most helpful advice I received was before heading to Itasca. I didn't know what to expect, and Jenn told me that the main goal of Itasca should to bond with fellow classmates. She reminded me of it when she came up for Pharmacology research week. If it wasn't for that reminder, I might not have attempted to interact with my classmates as much, and instead spent time freaking out about failures in lab.