I participated in the Summer Fellows program, an 8-week research project at Ursinus during the summer to pursue a topic that interested the participant. My independent research is best described within the field of neurolinguistics: a branch of neuroscience that studies the language processing mechanisms in the human brain. In particular, my research focused on examining the relationship between the visual processing and the executive control during the acquisition of Arabic language. I used the acquisition of basic language structures, i.e. alphabet and basic terminology, in Arabic to observe the plasticity of the brain and cognitive function. We were able to observe the neural correlate changes as well as behavioral changes after two weeks of Arabic instruction.
What was valuable about the experience
The most valuable part of my experience was being able to explore a topic that is of most interest to me. As a neuroscience major and Arabic minor, being able to incorporate my linguistic interests to explore a field of neuroscience was beyond insightful and wonderful.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
Other than being able to pursue the topic of my choice, the coolest part of the experience was teaching the volunteers about the techniques used in the lab. The neuroscience department opens its doors to interested individuals who want to volunteer. This past summer, we had a student from Ursinus, who is interested in pursuing an independent project next year, a student from West Chester University, and an upcoming freshman at Pennsylvania State University. Being able to serve as a mentor and to teach them behavioral as well as EEG techniques added another positive dimension to my experience.
Who I met that made a difference
My faculty mentor really guided me through the span of the project and provided invaluable support even when the results did not reflect what we were hoping to obtain. In addition, the entire neuroscience department provided a great atmosphere throughout the duration of the program. Being able to joke around with professors and having them openly allowing us to get to know them better, elevated the experience not just in an academic sense, but also in an interpersonal level.
Ursinus College Student Government- Vice President, Class of 2015 Class Council-President, Minority Association of Pre-medical Students- President and Regional Liaison, Nu Rho Psi- President