What is your current position?
I am currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Bensmaia Lab, which is in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago.
What is the focus of your current research?
My current focus of research is on stereognosis. Stereognosis is the integration of tactile and proprioceptive sensory signals with motor commands to give rise to the perception of object shape. I am doing experimental work with monkeys whose cortical and subcortical electrical activity is recorded for further analysis. We also have humans participating in psychophysical experiments.
How did the Neuroscience Graduate Program prepare you for your postdoctoral studies and beyond?
WVU was instrumental in my preparation for my postdoctoral studies. The graduate program gave me opportunities to take broad courses in neuroscience which allowed me to explore some aspects that I would have never touched otherwise. The courses I took help me navigate varied aspects of neuroscience. At WVU, I was also given an opportunity to study how to write grants, which is essential for faculty and is quite useful. Also, the program gave out awards to graduate students, one of which allowed me to go to conferences, build my research network and find my current position.
What advice would you give to someone getting their Ph.D. in Neuroscience at WVU?
Some general advice for any grad student is to stay focused — don’t give up when nothing works, even if you need to restart for the 100th time. For WVU students though, I would recommend taking advantage of everything the University can provide. For example, utilize the anatomy lab, 3D printers, journal clubs and math/stats departments, and try to collaborate with other labs and universities.
What was your favorite experience or best memory during your time at WVU?
I can think of several great experiences while at WVU. Some would be passing the qualifying exam, receiving a NGP award, presenting during a mini-symposium at Society for Neuroscience conference and simply going for beers with the lab after work.
What, if anything, would you have done anything differently while a student?
Nothing comes to mind. My time at WVU was great for many reasons and helped me become the person I am today.