A cornerstone of my college career has been doing research in the Affective Neuroscience Laboratory here at Vanderbilt. I primarily do statistics research related to behavioral and neuroimaging data in the lab, and have come a long way since my first semester there my sophomore year. I began my research working with data from the Tennessee Twin Study, a longitudinal study conducted by researchers before I joined the lab, and I have since expanded my research, writing and getting approved an IRB proposal of my own.
These days, I am in the process of working on a project related to Parkinson’s disease and structural features of the brain. I’ll leave the description there in terms of actual content since it can get a bit jargon-y, but I wanted to spend some time reflecting on what research has done for me in the time since I began doing it. First, it has allowed me to understand the scientific principles discussed in my classes from a more hands-on perspective, which is great for cementing my knowledge as well as helping me to understand why it is important. Second, it has challenged me to use my critical thinking skills and address problems creatively, which is hugely important given my desire to work in medicine as well as a crucial skill for life in general. Third, it has allowed me to grow and learn as a student and professional, largely through the mentorship I have received in my lab.
Research is a great opportunity to take on as a college student, and I would highly encourage you to do so if you are able. If you have questions about undergraduate research or about life here in general, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.