My first neuroscience research experience was in eleventh grade, when I reached out to a lab at UCLA that used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to study movement disorders. My mother had just started a repetitive TMS program aimed at reducing her depression and I sought to improve my understanding of the procedure by learning how to perform it myself.
From this initial research experience, I discovered that I truly enjoy being in an environment that fosters scientific innovation and creativity. Every lecture and discussion I attended acted as a reminder of just how expansive the field of neuroscience actually is, while every presentation I gave served to further instantiate myself in the world of neuroscience research.
A byproduct of this first research experience was that it also gave me an area of commonality with my mother. Suddenly I became her principal source for understanding the treatments she was undergoing. I was by no means an expert, but I had a background in the area and worked to increase that background over time by reading papers and attending lectures that pertained to her conditions. In this way, without meaning to, my mother inspired my passion for neuroscience and research while neuroscience and research helped me to reconnect with my mother.
With such a personal underlying motivation to do research, it is perhaps unsurprising that I remain as intrigued by the field of neuroscience now as I was in high school. Since this first research experience I have studied the lateralization of face-word processing in hemispherectomy patients and have researched the impact of different rehabilitation techniques on traumatic brain injury. I look forward to expanding the breadth of my neuroscience research experience over the coming year by continuing to investigate new areas of the field.