This first year of undergraduate is hard to summarize. From our cohort’s first meeting to the lake cruise and at each Monday meeting and Dedman event after, I’ve been constantly reminded of the value of this academy and how incredible every one of its members is. Thank you to Dr. Marc Musick and Julie Casey for their guidance at every turn and to Dr. Michael Anderson for being a wonderful faculty mentor and planning and bringing some interesting discussion to our every Friday breakfast/lunch despite our cohort’s valiant attempts at inanity. Finally, thank you to each of my fellow Dedmans and especially my cohort members for being consistent supporters and friends.
When people ask me what I’m majoring in, I have to prepare myself; the price we pay for being in Plan II is having to explain it! World Literature and my UGS course brought me engaging readings and passionate discussions with people from different academic and personal backgrounds.
This year, I explored my passions as an undergraduate researcher in the Dunsmoor Lab for Learning, Memory, and Emotion at UT Austin assisting in studies relating to creativity, insight, and memory. My experiences included everything from wrangling human subjects during trials to demo-ing horror VR games for future trials. Here, I learned how we can gain some insight into the mind through tests as simple as a multiple choice quiz and as complex as fMRI imaging.
In extracurricular activities this year, I participated in experiences with Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-med organization on campus, and Dean’s Scholars Student Council. Both organizations introduced me to amazing people and brought some rare experiences, like midnight hikes around McDonald Observatory in west Texas. This summer, I’m working as a researcher for UT’s team competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition designing living detectors of white-nose disease-causing fungus in the Austin bat population. I’m also working as a researcher in Dr. Rebecca Young’s stream analyzing transcriptomic data from chickens to study the phenomenon of maternal effect in avians.
I’m excited for all the challenges and experiences the fall semester will bring, and I can’t wait to see everyone on campus again soon!