I participated in the FUTURE program which is part of the school’s Summer Fellows program. I spent 8 weeks on campus this summer researching auditory processing. Since I was part of the FUTURE program as well I also had the opportunity to mentor a rising sophomore and teach her how to collect EEG data and analyze behavioral data.
What Was Valuable About the Experience
The most valuable part of this experience was being able to work on a project that I designed. My mentor and research advisor Dr. Jennifer Stevenson really gave me space to develop a research question that I was interested in and design an experiment to test that question. With her help, I was able to combine my passion for neuroscience and music in this project by examining auditory processing. I was also able to keep the research relevant to our lab by looking at auditory processing in both neurotypical and autistic individuals. Additionally, I combined behavioral techniques that we use in our lab with techniques used in other labs such as EEG. Not many undergraduate students at other universities get the opportunity to see their own research questions become current projects and I gained so much valuable insight into the research process by developing the project from scratch.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest part of the experience was definitely when we ran the statistics on the data that we collected this summer and found statistically significant results. It sounds silly but we were yelling and high-fiving one another, it was that exciting. Seeing results that were statistically significant meant that all of the work I had done at the end of last school year and this summer actually amounted to something and that my experiment was working correctly.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
The person who made the biggest difference was Dr. Stevenson. It is interesting because I worked in her lab for two years and I definitely knew her before this summer but our relationship changed a bit. Due to the fact that we were working one-on-one this summer, we developed more of mentor/mentee relationship rather than a professor/student relationship. This is very common in Summer Fellows and I believe it is one of the reasons that the program is so successful. Getting to know Dr. Stevenson in this new way really helped me to bounce ideas off of her and have the confidence to test things on my own. I could not have asked for a better mentor because she really kept me calm when things were not working correctly and she continuously encouraged me.
Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, UC Ambassadors, CIE Fellows, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship