Instead of taking a break from academic life this summer, junior Alain Perez decided to further his knowledge in the area of neuroscience. In order to learn more about a possible career path of his, he enrolled in a pre-collegiate program at Stanford University. There, he partook in a rigorous curriculum over the course of three weeks that tested how he could understand the demanding subject area he chose.
What drove Perez to choose neuroscience was his curiosity for the brain, its functions, and all its intricacies. The course offered a look at the main topics of neuroscience but also delved even deeper, teaching students like Perez a computer processing code. The code was used with MATLab software in order to be able to plot and analyze electroencephalogram (EEG) data taken from epileptic patients. This added bonus allowed a more comprehensive approach to the brain and incorporated book study into real life application.
“This computer processing code was incredibly cool, plotting EEG made me feel like I had a more hands on experience which was definitely a plus,” Perez said.
In order to fully experience life on campus, those who ran the program had many organized activities for students like Perez. These activities allowed the students to bond and get to know each other outside of the classroom. Perez’s favorite was known as “dorm pride” and not just because his dorm won. This activity promoted a sense of competition between the dorms who shared the same cluster. The game featured seven stations in which each “team” had a chance to participate.
“The activity also allowed us to bond with other people from other dorms, creating a more inclusive environment. One of the walls in our dorms lounge had a social media board where everyone would write their social media accounts as a way to get to know the rest of the house,” Perez said.
Life outside the dorm was also filled with additional learning experiences. During the weekends, Perez would travel the San Fransisco Bay Area’s tourist attractions, visiting staples like Fisherman’s Wharf, the SFMoMA, and Capitola Beach. These field trips served as a platform for Perez and his peers to enjoy San Francisco as a city and its many cultural attractions.
Perez was able to take the valuable information he attained throughout the experience back with him as he continues to explore his interest in the biological sciences.