Currently studying the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on language in a linguistics lab at Cornell, with satellite sites at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital; traveled to Puebla, Mexico, with the Pedro Arrupe Program in January 2010 to do service immersion; serves as an International Assistant, organizing and participating in orientation and year-long activities for the international students who travel to BC as freshman, exchange students, and grad students; volunteered as a teacher of English as a Second Language to BC employees.
As a research assistant, we are studying language change in patients of Alzheimer’s disease, both for the theoretical and practical implications that identifying a pattern would provide. Theoretically, it would tell us a great deal about language processing in the brain, seeing which structures are affected and being able to study the MRIs of the same patients over time. Practically, it appears that language change is one of the first signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s, and could perhaps provide basis for diagnoses 8-10 years earlier than is happening now, which would greatly impact treatment and prognosis.
I am also doing an advanced tutorial class this semester pairing my lab work with readings and writings based on the methodology used in the project. This will become the basis for my thesis next year, though I am still exploring the specifics.
Why did you want to join the Arts & Sciences Honors Program?
I was drawn to the program for the opportunity to start school with at least one small class and a professor who knew me. The curriculum sounded like something that I would enjoy and benefit from, and the idea of a sustained course of study throughout whatever other pursuits I followed created structure that I appreciated as an undecided undergrad.
What are your plans for the future/after BC?
Not a clue. I have considered speech pathology, non-profit work, government work, the CIA, FBI, UN, research, teaching, and so much more. I expect that whatever career I choose will also be one of my own creation, rather than a "job" that has a track laid out at this juncture. At the moment, I love the research experience, and next semester I am traveling to South Africa where I will hopefully be volunteering at an NGO. I will most likely attend graduate school, but when that happens is variable, depending on if I apply for a Fulbright Grant next year, which I will need to decide soon. All doors are open now, and I will work on selecting one over the next year or so.