This year, the UMass Neuroscience Club (UMNC) has reached its 10-year mark as being a registered student organization on campus! To introduce ourselves for those who are unfamiliar with the UMNC, we are a group of undergraduate students passionate about exploring the field neuroscience. In the interdisciplinary spirit of neuroscience, all majors are welcome to join. We are an “open-source” resource on campus—we do not have membership dues. The only requirement for joining is a curiosity for neuroscience!
Our purpose, as stated on our campus pulse page: “to strengthen the relationship between faculty, undergraduate and graduate students interested in neuroscience and related disciplines; to encourage and cultivate an ongoing dialogue within the academic community; to connect students socially who are interested in neuroscience in an open forum; to expose students to a dialogue that informs them of the present workings of the field and the opportunities therein; to facilitate community outreach”.
UMNC is dedicated to sharing novel ideas and creating a sense of community at UMass. This past semester included tours of the Human Magnetic Resonance facilities, and the Light Microscopy Core. Our club meets once every week, and each semester we invite faculty members to give interactive presentations. In the Fall 2018 semester, we hosted Joe Bergan, Jeff Starns, Diane Kelly, and David Huber to share their unique insight into neuroscience through their research and perspectives. We also hosted graduate student Francesca Walsh to speak on her research in the field of Neuroeconomics.
Additionally, we hosted our first interdisciplinary Neuroethics roundtable, with guest faculty members from the Philosophy Department, including Department Head Joseph Levine. The roundtable focused on encouraging open conversation between faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students surrounding ethical implications of discoveries, applications, and technology in neuroscience.
Providing opportunities for professional growth is also a top priority. This semester UMNC had an info session on scoring internships and research opportunities. In past terms we have hosted faculty meet-and-greets, professional development roundtables, and more. We are also committed to promoting awareness and community service.
To provide volunteering opportunities for students, we have weekly visits to the Elaine Center at Hadley, a local nursing home. We plan engaging, meaningful events for the residents such as holiday sing-alongs, therapy-dog visits, and art projects. We have also been involved in Brain Awareness Week, a worldwide celebration of the ongoing work to advance brain science, in collaboration with the UMass Neuroscience and Behavior Graduate Program’s Outreach Committee. In the coming semesters we hope to further our collaboration with this committee. UMNC constantly strives to grow as an organization, as the field of neuroscience grows, and to be a positive, open, and inclusive presence on campus.
President, UMass Neuroscience Club
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