- Area of Study Neurobiology
Where are you from?
I am from Albany, New York
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
While a student at BU, I have been an active member and service vice president of Alpha Phi Omega, an on-campus community service organization, a volunteer at the Community Service Center with Wizards, an afterschool science program where we conduct experiments with children, and a volunteer advocate with Health Leads, an organization that connects patients at Boston Medical Center with resources in an effort to address the socioeconomic determinants of health. I am also a laboratory assistant at BU School of Medicine researching HDL biogenesis, a member of the Health Pre-Professional Honor Society (Alpha Epsilon Delta), and have participated in a physician mentoring program where I observed a dermatologist and surgical oncologist.
What interested you in specializing in Neurobiology?
I chose to specialize in Neurobiology because I have always been fascinated with the human body. Since the brain interacts with every major system of the body, I thought that learning about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the brain and its pathways would provide me with skills to be able to better understand human disease and behavior.
What was it like studying abroad in the Grenoble Science Program?
I loved my time studying abroad in Grenoble! I was completely new to French, but the experience of being immersed in an unfamiliar language allowed me to learn quickly. While there, I lived with a wonderful host family who helped me with my language skills and exposed me to traditional food of the region. I even had the opportunity to make Tiramisu with my host mom and still have her recipe (although, it is in French and uses the metric system for measurements). On the weekends, I had the opportunity to travel to different countries such as Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland, since Grenoble’s location made other destinations throughout Europe very accessible. While my living experience allowed me to experience French culture and language, my science classes were all taught in English by professors familiar with the BU curriculum. This was helpful because I was able to learn all of the same information my peers were learning in those classes at BU and was not behind when I returned to campus the following semester. I am really glad that BU offered this study abroad program because it allowed me to spend a significant amount of time in a foreign country and, at the same time, prepared me for my academic and career goals that require a rigorous foundation of scientific knowledge.
What experience did you get in the Introduction to Scientific Research course taken abroad?
In the Introduction to Scientific Research course, I had the opportunity to learn about the scientific research process in a classroom setting and translate what I learned into real experience through placement in an internship at a cancer research institute. Every week in class, we were lectured on a different topic ranging from ethical dilemmas in research to how to properly keep a laboratory notebook. These lessons were valuable, as they gave me a foundation of knowledge that I could apply to a real-world setting when I was placed in my research internship. For 8 weeks, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an intern for a research team studying genetics and epigenetics of lymphoid cancers, with specific focus on mantle cell lymphoma during my time there. Throughout the internship, I gained knowledge about the specific cancer and treatments that were being tested, learned how to critically read scientific literature, and was able to observe and assist laboratory experiments, including being introduced to techniques such as cell culture and flow cytometry. The internship culminated in a research paper and poster presentation. Having this experience early in my college career prepared me for future upper level courses that involved reading scientific papers and critical thinking and gave me a foundation of research knowledge that was beneficial when applying for research positions.
What are your post-graduation plans?
I am applying to medical school and plan on working and volunteering during my gap year after graduation.