Hometown: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Why did you come to Bowdoin?
I really decided that I wanted to come here when I came to the Admissions Invitational, which was in April. By then, I knew what [was important to me] in a school: the food, the people, the academics, and the campus. I came to Bowdoin and I found it all here. I looked at the people who were going to be my peers, who also visited that weekend, and I liked it.
Why did you decide on your major?
I was interested in biology, and I also have an interest in psychology. So I started my freshman year by taking psychology and biology courses, and I kept taking those courses all until the fall of my junior year. [At that point,] I saw that there were certain classes in biology that weren't of my interest, so I looked again at other classes I could take in psychology. I opened up the course catalogue and I said, "Hold on a second - all the courses I've taken are neuroscience courses, and I could be a neuroscience major if I take three or four more courses." So I talked to my advisor, and so from that moment on, I headed towards neuroscience. It incorporated the things I liked from both psychology and biology.
What has been your best class at Bowdoin?
Fall semester of junior year, I took my first course as a neuroscience major. It was Comparative Neurobiology with Patsy Dickinson [of the biology department]. What I liked about that course was that it was small, and there was a lot of interaction with other students. It was very investigatory. It's actually the reason why I'm doing my honors project, because we looked at the things that I'm looking at now: electrophysiology, which is about elections firing and action potentials.
I worked with Patsy this summer because I liked the stuff that we did in that lab. I worked with her under a Paller Fellowship. I was looking for things to do over the summer, and she had an opening in her lab, so I went and I worked on a project started by a previous student. I looked at the effects of a peptide called proctolin on the nervous system of the lobster.
What extracurriculars do you participate in? What do you like about them?
I am currently co-president of the Latin American Students Association (LASO). This is my second year as co-president. It's exciting. I think organizations go through periods, fluctuations, and I think this year has been LASO's year. This past semester we worked on Hispanic Heritage Month, which is from September 15th to October 15th, and even though it was at the beginning of the year, we put together a couple of activities. Next semester, we want to bring a live band - I want to work on bringing a Brazilian ensemble which came here my freshman year. LASO is also sponsoring a spring break service trip to Valparaiso, Chile. [The group] will work on three projects: one is working with patients with schizophrenia, another is teaching English, and another is working with single-parent families.
I'm also Senior Class Treasurer. It's my first year in the position. Part of my class treasurer position is sitting in on the Student Activities Fund Committee, and I see the behind-the-scenes process of getting money for student activities. I like [being a part of the SAFC] because it runs well and it's a good working environment.
I am also the student assistant to Dr. Betty Trout-Kelly, who is the executive to the president for Institutional Diversity and Equity. Part of my job is to plan and lead, with four other Bowdoin students and under the guidance of Dr. Trout-Kelly, a statewide program held once a month in Portland called H.Y.P.E. (Hard-Working Youth Pursuing Excellence). This program is to give guidance, learning experiences, and role models to Maine youths, primarily those of minority cultural and ethnic backgrounds. High school and grammar school students from Bath, Brunswick, Portland, and other parts of Maine attend H.Y.P.E. one Tuesday a month to listen to speakers and [participate] in activities prepared for them to accomplish our goals.
What is your best Bowdoin memory?
For some reason, I always look forward to Reading Period [between the last day of classes and exams], because there are so many study breaks and activities and people want to relax. I like that time of being with friends and enjoying spending time together, while you're winding down from the end of the semester.
What are your plans after graduation?
I eventually want to go to graduate school or medical school in neuroscience, but I want to be more ready for it, either academically or [in terms of] lab experience. I want to stay close to the academic community, either by working at Bowdoin or having a post-baccalaureate lab experience. In order to identify the type of program that I want to go into, the places I want to be, and the people I want to work with, I want to take a year off before I go to grad school.
Is there anything else about Bowdoin or your experiences here that you'd like a prospective student to know?
Stay in contact with as many people as possible. I think I've gotten so much from my professors on a personal basis - so much advice and so much help. From talking to Patsy Dickinson, I got to work with her in the summer. The administration is always there, too - if you need to go to a conference, it can financially provide help. That's something that I like about Bowdoin, that people like to help you. They have the time and the resources, so you should use them.