Student and Alumni Stories



Interview with Cathy Tran

Interview by Colin Michael Lynch

My name is Cathy Tran, and I am a senior studying Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NSCS) and I’m on the neurobiology track. I work in the lab of Dr. Lynne Oland and Dr. Leslie Tolbert where we study the interactions between neurons and astrocytes. I am also in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) and serve as UBRP Ambassadors President. As I love working with people, I eventually want to go to pharmacy school and use my knowledge of the brain to prescribe drugs that can help people cope with various cognitive disorders. I also love taking pictures and playing music on the horn, which I do with a few ensembles here at the U of A.

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Interview with Jake Matthews

Inteview by Colin Lynch

What are your professional goals?

My professional goals are to graduate with a neuroscience degree and then apply to med school and then hopefully become a successful doctor. I am not sure what kind of doctor I want to become yet, but I have shadowed an anesthesiologist and an orthopedic surgeon. I know I want to become some kind of surgeon because I’m a born, natural leader. When you shadow different kinds of doctors in the O.R., you see that the surgeons are the leaders of the room and I think I would be very good at that job. I am also very good with my hands due to my sports background and want to help those people who desperately need medical care.

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Interview with Liz Burke

Interview by Benjamin Robira

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (interests, hobbies, places you’ve lived, etc.)?

I was born, in Massachusetts and grew up in Tucson. I’ve lived in Tennessee and California for brief periods of time. Hobbies are my hobby… gardening, dance, music, art, metallurgy, crafts, animals, yoga, martial arts, outdoor activities, reading,...

What got you interested in art and science?

The more I think about it, the things I used to do as a child ended up making good tools to apply to science. Once I finally realized much of my interests had comfy nooks in science, I plunged myself into the science aspect.

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Casey Primeau, NSCS alumnae 2016

Development and Aging Emphasis
Certificate in Developmental Disabilities
Currently: Graduate Student at Boston University, Entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) may not be a common career choice amongst NSCS students, yet the interdisciplinary, inquisitive nature of an NSCS degree lends itself perfectly to this creative, scientific profession. In my chosen career path, I combined a love of brains with a love of art and play. I label the brachial plexus on cadavers, rehabilitate people with spinal cord injuries, and analyze the basis of sensory integration; I also mold play-doh, swing on jungle gyms, and dance! My current work involves supporting college students with traumatic brain injuries in their academic and professional development by using iPads and assistive technology. OT is a career that involves helping people who have an injury or disability learn or relearn to do things they need to do or enjoy doing in daily life. How does that involve neuroscience or cognitive science? Because OT can focus on motor, sensory, social, or cognitive challenges, the concepts of neuroanatomy, development, and psychology guide many interventions established in evidence-based practice. I am so thankful for the preparation NSCS has given me for graduate school. The Certificate in Developmental Disabilities and doing research in labs helped me learn to conduct lab-work and work directly with clients, opportunities that many other students do not get access to at other schools! I move forward confidently to take four hours of Neuroanatomy each week, as I thankfully learned a lot from studying the Brain Zoo at outreach events with NSCSAS and from neuroanatomy class with Dr. Tolbert!

Gaby Lacy, NSCS alumnae 2015

My favorite part about the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NSCS) major was the way the department allowed me to shape my own educational path. The variety of emphasis options and the wonderful undergraduate research opportunities gave me more control over how and what I was learning in my undergraduate studies. My classmates were enthusiastic and driven, and our faculty encouraged us to explore our science interests outside of the classroom. I feel this major greatly developed the critical thinking skills that will prepare me for my medical school education.

And an update – Gaby has been accepted to med school at UA, Emory, University of Michigan, and UCSF.  Great options all!

Rebecca Determan, NSCS alumnae 2016

The NSCS program is a great way to enhance your education at the University of Arizona. I learned valuable life and transferable skills throughout my 4 years in this program. I am currently starting graduate school, and could not be more thrilled to continue my education with the skills I refined in NSCS. NSCS has a lot of amazing opportunities to choose from, and my biggest piece of advice is to explore your major, make friendships, participate in internships, and more! I went as far as being on the UA Cheerleading and Mascot team! The UA NSCS program will prepare you for your future, you just have to be ready for the crazy ride!