Kansas State University
My faculty mentor, Dr. Smith, recommended that I look into summer research programs to gain additional experience before applying for graduate school, so I searched for summer research programs in my field of interest, behavioral neuroscience. I came across the application at Kansas State and was very interested in the lab there.
We designed a task to parse out three individual components of episodic-like memory in rats (what, where, and when), but with the current design, we believed we were only see the utilization of two components. My graduate research mentor and I sat down and brainstormed how we could alter the task to correctly parse out the third component. After reading many journal articles and thinking critically about the issue at hand, I proposed an idea to implement in the task to look at the third component. We altered the task to reflect the idea, which allowed us to further analyze the third component and perfect the task.
My lab members were very open and accepting, and made me feel like a vital member of the lab from the very beginning. I went into work every day knowing that I was going to be challenged intellectually and pushed to do the best research possible. This has helped me, not only as a researcher, but also in my everyday life. My summer research experience greatly increased my knowledge of my major. Most importantly, I was able to take the techniques and procedures I have learned in my lectures and utilize them myself. It is one thing to read about Pavlov utilizing classical conditioning, but when you use the techniques yourself, you gain a deeper and more profound knowledge and respect for the field.