How I got into science
When asked in kindergarten what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered a botanist. The entire class laughed at me, and I quickly abandoned my scientific plant aspirations. Fast-forward to college, I actually chose to major in neuroscience instead of biology because of how much I hate plants. I never wanted to learn about photosynthesis ever again -- funny how things turn out.
Back tracking a bit, my interest in neuroscience began when I was thirteen. Two of my cousins had recently been diagnosed with Autism and I was eager to learn more. I immersed myself in books and articles, attended my cousin’s therapy sessions and biomedical treatment appointments, and decided then that I wanted to pursue a career working with children on the spectrum. When I entered Boston University as a neuroscience undergraduate student this was still my plan, but alas, plans change.
Beginning my freshman year, I became involved with research. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to try out a wide range of labs with varied research interests, from social psychology to child development to circadian rhythm neurobiology. Just before my junior year, I joined the Ramirez Lab and for the first time truly fell in love with research. Over the last few years, I’ve worked on projects at the intersection of memory, engrams, and addiction. I am captivated by the endless possibilities of questions to ask, potential discoveries, and progress to be made.
I was born and raised in a small beach town that’s technically part of New York City (think of a cross between Brooklyn and Cape Cod). With a ton of family all around Massachusetts, I always knew I wanted to go to school in Boston. I graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a BA in neuroscience and a minor in Deaf Studies. I am so grateful to have learned American Sign Language and being immersed in the local Deaf community was an amazing opportunity.
I love to cook and try out new recipes. I’m constantly making a mess in my kitchen and will often make elaborate meals as a form of procrastination. Every once in a while, I think about abandoning neuroscience and moving somewhere in Europe to enroll in culinary school – maybe once I finish my PhD.
Also, I have a hairless cat & I named him Opsin, much to the disbelief of my coworkers. He’s very cute and acts more like a dog than a cat. Everyone thinks he’s weird but anyone who’s met him has fallen in love immediately.
I plan to further my education and career as a scientist with a focus on addiction (specifically alcohol use disorder [AUD]) and memory research. I’m interested in introspective aspects alcohol withdrawal and relapse, as well post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the intersection of AUD and PTSD. I hope to elucidate maladaptive brain function in rodent models of addiction and PTSD using in-vivo optogenetics and calcium imaging.
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
All the Harry Potter movies (but specifically Prisoner of Azkaban)
Chopped /Jeopardy! /Grey’s Anatomy
Alternative/Indie Pop (and also Eminem)
Any and all classic NY foods – bagels, pizza, etc.
Coffee, friend or foe:
absolute BEST friend
One thing I’m sorry I’m not sorry about
That I’m the kind of texter that will send each individual thought as I type instead of forming a coherent paragraph ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What I look for in a scientist
Two major qualities – 1) have your heart in the game and 2) be a team player. The best people to work with are passionate and driven. I find it much easier to learn from someone who truly enjoys what they are doing, from someone who is excited to go to work every day, not someone who is just going through the motions of life. Additionally, I believe in the power of collaboration and working together to achieve common goals to produce better results (and a better work environment!).