Psych students blog
Each year, Assistant Professor of Psychology Melissa Glenn, who currently leads a seminar in psychology and neuroscience, travels to the annual meeting of Society for Neuroscience. This year, four students—John Gardner ’12, Kristen Erickson ’12, Derek Wise ’12 and Chelsea Nickerson ’13—accompanied her.
These students worked with Glenn this summer studying the effect of choline on cognitive memory in adult and adolescent rats. In addition to presenting their research, they were selected to contribute as one of 10 blogs to write about their findings and experiences at the annual meeting. They were the only undergraduates selected in the nation.
The meeting began in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12 and spanned the course of five days. The students were overwhelmed by the 30,000 attendants, which included both U.S. citizens and delegates from of various countries around the world.
Gardner said that the initial objective was “to attend lectures of subjects with which you were familiar to deepen your understanding.” This mindset changed after “being exposed to so much in one place that you would not have been otherwise,” he said. “There was a surplus of nit-pickey details concerning new material.” The students sought out new topics to fill certain gaps and expand their breadth of knowledge. The vast scope of information they received appeared throughout their various blog entries. As Nickerson explained, “The blog probably has a much wider range of readers than the other websites, including many people outside of the academic and science realms.”
The Society for Neuroscience attributes to the wide spectrum of readers in allowing the blog, Student Undergraduate Neurobloggers (SUN), a free range of topics in order to encourage young people to contribute their research, Erickson said. The enthusiasm that emerges from the blog accomplishes this goal. The four students were able to explore the different areas in which they were interested.
“This opportunity really is the purpose of education, to promote the love of learning rather than the need,” Garner said. “You will ultimately learn more in having such free range.”
Within this blog, the four students discussed issues ranging from ethical and meritorious studies to discoveries concerning filtering mechanisms. They did this with emitting a sense of lightheartedness, demonstrated by references to Ke$ha, Monty Python, Cosmopolitan and, in one post, an Old Spice commercial. Blog post titles included: “Swan dive! Into the night of your life,” “Hungover? How about a nice plate of salmon” and “A little advice for midterm week.”
The student neurobloggers found this experience to be very rewarding and are continuing their work with Glenn this semester.