In coming to the University of Arizona as a freshman and deciding what I wanted to study, I chose Neuroscience and Cognitive Science because it was a major that encompassed a multitude of my interests and gave me the foundation to pursue a variety of careers in science. I chose Neuroscience and Cognitive Science because I was interested in learning the science behind the brain; more specifically the why, how, and what it does.

I was so fascinated by how the brain is in control and plays a part in everything that we do in life which lead me to want to learn more about why it does what it does. In my life, I have experienced personal hardships with developmental disorders as well as worked with those that have them which brought me to my professional goal of becoming a psychiatrist. I love science and medicine, but the brain is such a fundamental part of everything in our bodies and in our lives that I want to be able to take the knowledge gained from pursuing this major and use that to fulfill my goals of helping children and adults with developmental disorders.

Through student volunteering programs such as the Civitan Foundation, my interest in learning about the mind, brain, and behavior was fueled. Opportunities such as this one gave me first-hand experience and knowledge regarding developmental disorders, new discoveries in medicine for treatments, as well as the widespread avenues for career opportunities in this field. From this, I began pursuing research internships through various programs which allowed me to work closely and learn from talented professionals.

Having the opportunity to be a research assistant for different faculty in various fields of discipline taught me how to be a collaborative member of a scientific group, how to conduct my own experiments, as well as how to think critically and produce high-quality scientific writings. A culmination of my past and present internships have only increased my knowledge and further fueled my passions to pursue this field. As a student and a scientist, I would be able to bring these qualities to the NSCS community and hope to benefit the community by being an engaged and inquisitive scientist hoping to learn more about the fields of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.

One specific scientific discovery that led me to realize that science was the field for me was the development and FDA approval of a drug that targets cancers based on DNA instead of the most commonly used method of targeting cancers by location. When hearing about and while reading more up on this new drug, I was particularly captivated by this discovery since cancer is something that hits close to home for me. Cancer has affected many people close to me and has changed the course of life for millions of people and hearing about new groundbreaking developments in cancer treatments has always excited me.

The ability of this drug to target cancers based on genetically similar features or biomarkers in people is fascinating. The approval of this drug by the FDA also demonstrates the acknowledgment of this treatment as legitimate and effective in the trials previously and currently being conducted. In the past, I have heard about many drugs in trials or in the works but never had anything come to fruition. However, in this drug, the ability of biomarkers which can be so universally found being used to target cancers is an amazing scientific discovery.