Why did you want to come to the University of Minnesota?
I was extremely impressed with the University's academic programs, as well as the general atmosphere of the Twin Cities area.
What are you researching?
We are looking to see if synchronous neural activity is present during shape-detection tasks. Neural synchrony is a phenomenon that is the subject of a huge debate in the field of neuroscience: some researchers think that it is an epiphenomenon that doesn't affect neural activity at all, while others assert that it is a huge factor in our ability to distinguish objects in our visual field. We've been using MATLAB to analyze neural activity and look for synchronous activity during these shape detection tasks across several different conditions.
What have you gotten out of this experience?
One of the most direct benefits of this research so far has been developing a skillset that will help me in graduate school. For our research proposal, Katie pushed us to make our proposal of comparable quality to those submitted for actual research grants. The time we've spent reading and discussing primary research articles has also been extremely helpful, as has all the work we've been doing with MATLAB. The experience has reinforced my desire to further study neuroscience or more specifically, cognitive/behavioral neuroscience.
What are your interests outside of school?
I enjoy reading, hiking, playing video games, and biking.
Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?
I'm curator for TEDxUMN, an independently organized local TED event.
What are you plans for the future?
My eventual plan is to pursue a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience or neuropharmacology. While I'm at the University of Minnesota, I would like to make the most of the wide variety of classes offered both inside and outside my major and continue to participate in research to refine my interests.