Neuroscience

Christina Ackerman ‘10 neur5-xtina
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Neuroscience
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite thing about department:

The interdisciplinary nature of Neuroscience is my favorite aspect of the major. As a freshmen, I was very undecided on a major and switched among Biophysical Chemistry, Human Biology, and Math. Neuroscience truly combines concepts from all the sciences in the most fascinating way possible. My least favorites aspect of the department is the class size. Many of the introductory and intermediate classes are more focused on lecture rather than on discussion. However, all the professors are always more than willing to go into further depth in office hours.

Important info for potential majors:

The Neuroscience major has a lot of course requirements so get started on pre-requisites as early as possible. Also, make sure to get to know many professors and to attend office hours. The professors love talking to interested students. Lastly, don’t be shy about becoming involved in research. We all have a unique opportunity here at Dartmouth because our institution has professors that are focused on the undergraduates and conduct highly influential research.

Talk to me if:

you are struggling to decide if the Neuroscience major is right for you or if you need advice on how to become involved in research.

Most valuable academic information learned:

Start reviewing material on the first day of class. In most science classes, material builds on itself and it is important to stay ahead. If you take time to re-read your notes for 10 minutes after every class, you will understand the upcoming material much better and it will be much easier when it comes time to study for the final.

Favorite class and professor:

I have truly appreciated all of my Neuroscience classes so far for different reasons. My first Neuroscience class, Psychology 21: Perception with Prof. Tse was an amazing class that introduced me to the details of how we see, hear, and experience the world around us. In addition, Psychology 6, Introduction to Neuroscience with Prof. Bucci was also one of the most enjoyable classes for me at Dartmouth. Prof. Bucci always knows exactly how to interest you in the material and is extremely willing to discuss concepts further after class. He often does various dynamic class demonstrations to help you understand important concepts.

Major classes taken:

Math 8, Chem 6, Physics 3, Bio 11, 12, 13 Psyc 6, 10, 21, 26, 50, 90

Major journey:

When I matriculated, I was confident that I was destined to be a Mathematics Major so I began researching as a Women in Science Project Intern with Prof. Robert Norman. We studied dichotic hearing and tested several subjects. Through this initial limited experience with Neuroscience, I realized that I was completely fascinated with the human brain. Thus, I enrolled in Psychology 1 and realized that the hard science aspects of Neuroscience fascinated me the most. After taking Perception and Introduction to Neuroscience, I became confident that Neuroscience was definitely the right major for me because it combined all the hard sciences I loved with the more practical aspects of the human brain. I feel very blessed to be in a major where I get to learn about such fascinating topics ranging from Multiple Sclerosis to why we see color.

Major specific activities:

Visual research on the speed illusion using the fMRI and eyetracker with Professor Tse as a Howard Hughes Fellow. Presidential Scholarship research with Prof. Bucci.

Other activities:

Women in Science Project-Peer Mentor; Alpha Phi Sorority-Chaplain; Aquinas House-Communion Minister; Nathan Smith Society; Link-Up; Howard Hughes Fellow; Presidential Scholar; Library Assistant at Baker Berry; Hanover After School Program-Reading Tutor
Teaching Assistant for Engineering 5
Volunteer at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.

Off Campus Program:

Haven’t really left Dartmouth since I started…

Internship experience:

Professor Robert Norman; Women In Science Project Research Intern, 07W-07S, Dartmouth Mathematics Department; Professor Peter Tse; Howard Hughes Research Fellow; 08W-08S, Dartmouth Psychological and Brain Science Department; Next year: Professor David Bucci; Presidential Scholar

sliderHannah Payne ‘11 NEURO-HannahPayne
F09-S10 D-plan: L-R-R
Neuroscience and possible engineering

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

Neuroscience is exploding as a field, and the department is trying more or less successfully to keep up with this growth.  It is a fascinating subject, and the neuroscience professors are clearly excited about the topics they teach, as well as being friendly and down to earth. However, hopefully in the future neuroscience will be further differentiated from the psychology major, as they are currently closely intertwined in the same department. There also could be a greater selection of electives given the flexibility in the major.

Important info for potential majors:

Neuroscience can sound daunting, but it is not – if you are fascinated by how the brain works, the classes will be enjoyable. Take Psyc 6 as soon as possible to find out if you’re interested, its not offered every term.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you have any neuroscience-related questions, especially cellular and molecular neuroscience, or if you need any help navigating the research scholarship opportunities like WISP and Presidential.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Find a study partner in each class, and definitely get to know your profs – the neuroscience professors are wonderful in person as well as in class, and the more you talk about the material the better you learn it.

Favorite class and professor:

Perception (21) with Professor Hughes was fascinating, it focuses on the visual system in detail, revealing how many optical illusions arise from our neural processing.

Major classes taken:

PSYC 6, 21, 40, 46

Major journey:

I interned in a neuroscience lab in high school, and knew I wanted to continue.  I took ENGS 21 my sophomore spring, and am now considering an engineering major or minor as well.  I am especially interested in neuroscience-related engineering applications (such as mind-machine interfaces).

Major-specific activities:

Research through Presidential Scholarship with David Bucci this summer. Member of Co-SIGN (College Student Interest Group in Neuroscience).

Other activities:

(separate activities by semi-colon, include positions held, e.g. Epsilon Kappa Theta- VP; Rugby)
Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science – Editor-in-chief; Co-SIGN member; Cabin & Trail; Epsilon Kappa Theta – treasurer;

Off-campus program:

French LSA in Lyon, 09W

Internship experience:

Fabio Pellacini, CS department, 08W-S (WISP internship).
David Bucci, PBS, 09X and 10W

slider

Priya Rajgopal ‘11 NEUR-PriyaRajgopa
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Neuroscience, Chemistry and Biology Minors
Pre-med

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

What I like the most about the neuroscience department is that the professors in this department are truly excited and enthusiastic about their field, and have an extensive knowledge of so much beyond just what they teach in class.  Having individual conversations with them outside of class, is what is really inspiring to me.  In addition, the interdisciplinary nature really allows each student to make their major their own by focusing on different aspects of the field.  My least favorite thing about the department however is that most classes are offered only once a year, at one time, making it extremely difficult to organize your D-Plan.

Important info for potential majors:

Getting involved with research in the department, or related departments, can really boost your knowledge of the subject, and help you decide if neuroscience is what you want to pursue.  Hands-on experience is the best way to not only learn about the material, but also be in a position to talk to a professor in detail about the subject.

Talk to me if:

you need help deciding if neuroscience is the right major or minor for you, and if you need help choosing classes or how to find research.

Most valuable academic info learned:

The most important thing, academically, that I have learned in my time so far at Dartmouth is how to study.  It is really important to take time to learn the way that you study best.  It took me an entire year and half to realize that in science classes it is of the utmost importance to go over the material from that day’s class that very day.  It is the only way that I can memorize the mounds of information that build up when taking neuroscience and biology classes.

Favorite class and professor:

My favorite class by far has been Psych 46 with Professor Maue.  There is so much detailed information thrown at us, but Professor Maue manages to make it all understandable and manageable.  All the things we have learned in Psych 6 and 26, are finally explained with great molecular detail in this class, which just furthered my interest and excitement for neuroscience.

Major classes taken:

BIOL 11, 12; CHEM 5,6, 51, 52; PHYS 3,4; PSYC 6, 26, 40, 46

Major journey:

I originally thought that I wanted to be an Economics major.  However, when I took Psych 6 (intro to neuroscience), and started my WISP internship about nerve-muscle connections, I realized that I absolutely loved not only the material, but also the professors and the department as a whole.  I took a few more classes, which confirmed by decision.

Major-specific activities:

WISP internship (see below under “internship experience”), WISP mentor

Thesis status:

Intended, but not yet planned.

Other activities:

Milan; Vandana; WISP mentor; Alpha Phi

Off-campus program:

Unfortunately I will not be able to go on any, because my D-Plan won’t allow for it.

Internship experience:

I have only so far had a WISP internship my freshman winter and spring with Professor Velez in the Biology department. I did research on Crayfish and the effects of different drugs on their nerve-muscle connections.

sliderSunny Zhang ‘10 neur7-sunn
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Neuroscience Major, Psych major
Graduate school in Neuroscience or Clinical Psychology

Favorite and least favorite thing about department:

My favorite thing about the department would have to be all the awesome and enthusiastic professors in the department. Many of them are some of the most helpful people you’ll meet, and really keen on seeing their students do well. They’re not just there to talk about class material with you but welcome any discussion of ideas or questions you might have about the many different aspects of the neuroscience world. Least favorite thing would have to be the lack of study abroad programs in the department. Coordinating your own, especially centered around science classes, is really tough to do.

Important info for potential majors:

It’s really important to plan ahead, especially in the science majors. It’s good to make sure that you’ve taken all the prerequisites before taking a class you really need or really want to take. One of the worst things is realizing half a term in advance during course selection that you can’t take a course you’ve been planning for awhile to take the next term because you didn’t make sure what the prerequisites were.

Talk to me if:

You’re struggling to find the right major for yourself, stressing yourself out about taking the right classes, and having trouble finding that right balance between school work and life. I’ve been there and can definitely offer some insight.

Most valuable academic information learned:

I learned that even though the classes you choose to take are extremely important, it’s not worth taking a class just because it might look good on the transcript. If you know you won’t really enjoy the subject matter or even do so well in the class without spending every free minute on it and struggling the whole way, it’s probably much more worth your time taking a class you’ll actually enjoy because you’ll get way more out of it.

Favorite class and professor:

Psych 26 Physiological Psychology with Megan Steven was one of my favorite classes. She is extremely enthusiastic about the material she teaches and is also an expert in the field of her research. Her lectures were always very well organized, interesting, and all of it was relevant to the course. She also always makes time to help her students when they need it.

Major classes taken:

psych 24, psych 45, psych 26, math 10, bio 12, bio 13, psych 50, edu 52, edu 58, psych 90, psych 1, psych 6, psych 28

Major journey:

I came into college planning to be a biology major. The subject interested me but some of the intro bio classes turned out to be a little disappointing. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with it or not. But during the summer after freshmen year, I happened to read a couple of very fascinating and inspiring books about what was happening in the world of neuroscience and about all these great researchers and their work. More reading ensued and I was hooked and totally blown away by how cool it all was. I couldn’t stop sharing what I had read with my friends and family. That’s when I realized I wanted to be a part of all the stuff I had been reading about and decided to become a neuroscience major.

Major specific activities:

Neuroscience research since my sophomore year, Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science writer, WISP mentor

Thesis status:

Senior Honors thesis planned with Dr. David Bucci regarding specific neurotransmitters involved in regulating learning and memory.

Other activities:

Dartmouth Varsity Women’s Golf team, active Phi Tau member, VP of Co-ed council, Dartmouth Early College Awareness algebra tutor

Off Campus Program:

09 Spring/ summer: Working in a Pain Therapy Research lab in the Anesthesia Department at Stanford University

Internship experience:

07 Fall/08 Winter: RA in Dr. Heather Wishart’s Neuropsychology Brain Imaging lab
08 Spring/ 08 Summer/ 09Fall- 10 Spring: RA in Dr. David Bucci’s Learning and Memory lab
08 Fall/ 08 Winter- Dr. James Leiter’s Neurophysiology Lab doing Parkinson’s research
09 Spring/09 Summer: Dr. David Yeoman’s Pain Therapy research lab at Stanford University

sliderTan Chen ‘11 neur-chen
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Neuroscience
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite aspect of Neuroscience is the direct human application of the material studied. I felt that everything I had learned through the department can be applied to everyday situations, from the inner workings of how one perceives the world to how people interact to hormonal effects on behavior. This aspect of neuroscience has been profoundly interesting for me. Also, the professors in this department are incredibly helpful, informed, and humble; office hours have always been a pleasure to attend. My least favorite aspect of the department is the large class size of the introductory and fundamental neuroscience courses; I think this may partially be due to the large overlap between the neuroscience and psychology departments.

Important info for potential majors:

Talking to upper class neuroscience majors and professors in the department is essential to gauging your interest in the field. It will allow you get an idea of which specific areas of this ever growing field you are interested in and perhaps even land you a research position to further explore that interest.

Talk to me if:

you’re interested in the biological and evolutionary aspects of neuroscience as applied to real life situations as well as how this major can be combined with the pre-medical track.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Dartmouth is school where there are numerous opportunities to pursue for students of all walks of life. There are research opportunities, internships, grants, and many other programs which one can apply for to further their liberal education, so definitely apply for some. An upperclassman had informed me of this advice when I was still new to the college, and because of that, I have had the opportunity to have been doing research since freshmen fall.

Favorite class and professor:

Professor Howard Hughes’ class on perception (PSYC 21) is without a doubt my favorite course so far in my Dartmouth experience. I was originally considering being a Biology major but decided to switch to Neuroscience almost solely because of how interested I was with Hughes’ material. Perception taught me a lot about how we perceive the world and the very mechanisms by which this process happens, everything I learned was applicable to real life.

Major classes taken:

Biology 11,12,13,37; Chemistry 3,6,51,52; Physics 3,4; Psychology 10, 21, 24, 26

Major journey:

I had always been interested in the biological and neural aspects of the human psyche. Unfortunately in high school, AP biology was as specific as the teachings went. Coming into Dartmouth, I explored both the biology and neuroscience departments and took classes in both to gauge where my likings lie. After taking PSYC 21, a course which helped me realize that the neuroscience department combined both aspects of my interest, I had answered my major decision.

Major-specific activities:

Research Assistant – Professor Hughes; Research Assistant – Yeh Lab (HHMI and 1st Year); Co-Sign

Thesis status:

Still deciding.

Other activities:

Dartmouth Fencing Team – Summer Captain; UGA; Sexperts; NSS; Medical Shadowing; Kappa Kappa Kappa

Off-campus program:

Harvard Summer School – 08X

Internship experience:

Dr. Hermes Yeh, Research Assistant, 07F-09S
Next Year: Professor Howard Hughes, Research Assistant, 09F-10S

sliderMeg McCue ‘11
F09-S10 D-plan: L-R-R
Neuroscience; Minor: Hispanic Studies

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

Neuroscience is a wonderfully interdisciplinary major. You can have interest in Psychology, Biology, Medicine, Computer Science, and even Education and still major in Neuroscience. Also, there are so many interesting and prestigious research opportunities available at Dartmouth, Dartmouth Medical School, and even at DHMC – which, needless to say, is vital for graduate/medical school. All the professors are extremely approachable and will promptly answer any email and give help to any student no matter whether they are freshman or graduate students.

The two worst parts about the Neuroscience department is that there is a reasonable amount of overlap between the PBS and Neuroscience departments and there is no FSP for the major. However, the department heads are currently working to fix both problems.

Important info for potential majors:

It is really easy to get a research job on campus. Just blitz professors that seem like they have interesting work and eventually one of them will have an opening for you! WISP Internships are also a great opportunity for female first year students interested in science.

Talk to me (especially) if:

You are one of the few non Pre-Med/Pre-Vet/Pre-Dent neuroscience majors – although I can still help you a lot even if you are!

Most valuable academic info learned:

Get involved in research as a freshman and don’t be afraid to blitz professors – they are really nice and helpful!

Favorite class and professor:

Psych 40 with Richard Granger. It’s an Intro to Computational Neuroscience class that doesn’t require a background in either neuroscience or computer science (although having a background in one of them is helpful).

Major classes taken:

Prerequisites: Psych 6, Math 3, Chem 5, Chem 6, CS 5, CS 8, Bio 11.
Major classes: Psych 28 and Psych 40.
I am taking Psych 10 and Psych 45 this summer.

Major journey:

I originally came to Dartmouth interested in Cognitive Psychology but changed my mind when I discovered how awesome the science classes were and how much more interesting it is to study the neural circuitry behind the psychology – which can lead to cures and an even better understanding of behavior.

Major-specific activities:

I am the current president of Co-SIGN (College Student Interest Group in Neuroscience) and I work in Dr. Holmes’ lab at DHMC doing epilepsy research.

Thesis status:

Currently I plan on doing independent research (Psych 90), although if all goes well it might turn into Honors Independent Research (Psych 91).

Other activities:

Epsilon Kappa Theta, Programming Board, Sustainable Living Center, Topside Convenience Store

Off-campus program:

This upcoming fall I will be participating in the F09 FSP to Spain.

Internship experience:

WISP Internship
Richard Granger
Research Assistant
Winter 2008-Fall 2009
Dartmouth College Neukom Institute

Hemachandra Reddy
Research Assistant
Winter 2009
Oregon National Primate Research Center

Glen Kisby
Research Assistant
Winter 2009
Oregon Health and Sciences University

Gregory Holmes
Research Assistant
Spring 2009 – Present
DHMC

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite aspect of Neuroscience is the direct human application of the material studied. I felt that everything I had learned through the department can be applied to everyday situations, from the inner workings of how one perceives the world to how people interact to hormonal effects on behavior. This aspect of neuroscience has been profoundly interesting for me. Also, the professors in this department are incredibly helpful, informed, and humble; office hours have always been a pleasure to attend. My least favorite aspect of the department is the large class size of the introductory and fundamental neuroscience courses; I think this may partially be due to the large overlap between the neuroscience and psychology departments.

Important info for potential majors:

Talking to upper class neuroscience majors and professors in the department is essential to gauging your interest in the field. It will allow you get an idea of which specific areas of this ever growing field you are interested in and perhaps even land you a research position to further explore that interest.

Talk to me if:

you’re interested in the biological and evolutionary aspects of neuroscience as applied to real life situations as well as how this major can be combined with the pre-medical track.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Dartmouth is school where there are numerous opportunities to pursue for students of all walks of life. There are research opportunities, internships, grants, and many other programs which one can apply for to further their liberal education, so definitely apply for some. An upperclassman had informed me of this advice when I was still new to the college, and because of that, I have had the opportunity to have been doing research since freshmen fall.

Favorite class and professor:

Professor Howard Hughes’ class on perception (PSYC 21) is without a doubt my favorite course so far in my Dartmouth experience. I was originally considering being a Biology major but decided to switch to Neuroscience almost solely because of how interested I was with Hughes’ material. Perception taught me a lot about how we perceive the world and the very mechanisms by which this process happens, everything I learned was applicable to real life.

Major classes taken:

Biology 11,12,13,37; Chemistry 3,6,51,52; Physics 3,4; Psychology 10, 21, 24, 26

Major journey:

I had always been interested in the biological and neural aspects of the human psyche. Unfortunately in high school, AP biology was as specific as the teachings went. Coming into Dartmouth, I explored both the biology and neuroscience departments and took classes in both to gauge where my likings lie. After taking PSYC 21, a course which helped me realize that the neuroscience department combined both aspects of my interest, I had answered my major decision.

Major-specific activities:

Research Assistant – Professor Hughes; Research Assistant – Yeh Lab (HHMI and 1st Year); Co-Sign

Thesis status:

Still deciding.

Other activities:

Dartmouth Fencing Team – Summer Captain; UGA; Sexperts; NSS; Medical Shadowing; Kappa Kappa Kappa

Off-campus program:

Harvard Summer School – 08X

Internship experience:

Dr. Hermes Yeh, Research Assistant, 07F-09S

Next Year: Professor Howard Hughes, Research Assistant, 09F-10S