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Neuroscience Is My True Passion

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Following my shadowing preceptor down the hospital hallway, I can clearly remember the strange noises that I cannot yet decipher from the rooms that we were passing by; however, it was this moment that something clicked — my intrigue in psychology and the nervous system. This was my first shadowing experience in the neuromuscular and psychiatric unit at a local hospital during my senior year of high school. It generated many questions that I do not think I truly understood at the time and, in all honesty, I am still searching for some of those answers now. These questions fueled my curiosity to the age-old question “why?”.

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Anwsering this question has never been a chore for me, even when I was younger, I welcomed the opportunity to read books, watch documentaries, and attend classes to get closer to the answer. Even though all my intrigue, I know that it may be an answer I will never be able to find. Yet, I am still interested to grow closer to the answer, I believe science is the way. My passion for science has grown tremendously through my various experiences: studying, working, and interning. My passion for science is why I want to pursue a career in Neuroscience with a Ph. D. The application of scientific knowledge to understanding how living organisms live, function, and respond to their environment has always been a source of amazement for me thus driving me to study sciences, more specifically, Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota Rochester.

My studies in health sciences have cemented my desire to achieve my final career goal of becoming a clinical researcher. The opportunity to combine a scientific understanding of function, processes, and structure regarding the nervous system with knowledge of applications relevant to human behavior makes neuroscience such an appealing field for me. During my undergraduate studies, I enjoyed finding the connections of the nuances in various fields: biology, chemistry, and physics. I thought that these interests would make me an exceptional candidate for medical school; however, working in specifically direct patient care started to bore me, even in the most exciting, stressful field — emergency medicine. I was missing the satiation for my craving of a deeper, scientific understanding of health problems. I have been working in healthcare, throughout my undergraduate career, in direct patient care and indirectly in a laboratory. This has been an invaluable opportunity to see the entire process of patient care as well as seeing advancements and has challenged me to work effectively in a team. However, more importantly, these experiences helped me learn how to deal with difficult, stressful situations with patience and tact, which are useful skills as a student and a future professional. When I took a neuroscience course during my final semester of coursework, it was a class that drew me in immediately because it was so interdisciplinary and brought together the three scientific fields I thoroughly enjoyed while learning about the most fascinating system — the nervous system.

Since my shadowing experience in my senior year of high school, I have been fascinated by the hidden, silent communication within our nervous system and how commonalities of brain function with humans may be identified creating the qualities of social structure. Once I have a goal in sight, I will achieve that target no matter the obstacles. While in contrast with this determination, I also love the element of adventure — the rush of excitement and a bit impulsive every now and then, to ensure life stays as fun as possible. Traveling whether short or long distances and being outdoors helps to achieve this for me. My travels to Ecuador although originally was for fun, allowed me to learn about healthcare in a different setting. Specifically, I remember doing medicinal plant walks with indigenous communities. As with many Western cultures, I was skeptical of plants being utilized as medicine; however, with time and my own research during my semester abroad, I obtained an appreciation for medicinal plants. During the internship portion of my program, I lived on a nature reserve working to restore the Choco rainforest. I started to research the plants to compile a medicinal plant guide for the reserve that I was staying at looking at research articles and peer-reviewed journals on the components of the plants that we used daily.

I keep coming back to my one true passion — helping people not only in a healthcare setting but to understand the world around us and how it impacts our health. I have pursued this passion through my studying, working, interning experiences. Most people think that this passion would lead to a career more directly related to patient care; however, I believe that as a clinical researcher in neuroscience, I will be able to fuel my own scientific interests while still having an impact on the patient care portion of healthcare.

18 May 2020

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