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My path to behavioral neuroscience doctoral program

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Throughout the years I have developed a specific interest in Neuroscience. This stems from the loss of my older brother Lorenzo. Three years ago, Lorenzo suffered from a spontaneous cranial hemorrhage, which resulted in him falling into a coma and never waking up. After his passing, I began my own individual research on what causes hemorrhaging as well as the effects that swelling have on the brain. Initially, everything I read sounded so foreign. I took it upon myself to enroll in Biological Psychology courses my sophomore year at California State University of San Bernardino. Initially, enrollment in these courses acted as a sort of coping mechanism, but, as I began to complete more classes, I became extremely fascinated by the brain and its intricate mechanics. My newly sparked interest made grasping the information that much easier. The level of interest I have remains the same if not stronger. Seeing as I have completed all of the Biological Psychology courses available on campus, I feel a level of dissatisfaction knowing that I will no longer have classes available here. These feelings only push me more towards my educational goal of pursing a doctoral degree in Neuroscience. It is evident that enrolling in the Michigan State University, Behavioral Neuroscience program will not only provide me with extensive experience in research, it will also allow me the opportunity to network with a number of researchers. The prestigious Michigan State University doctorate program will not only allow me to conduct revolutionary research, but it will also provide me with the tools necessary to truly explore the field of Neuroscience. I know that I am a strong candidate for the doctoral program due to my extensive experience in Biological Psychology courses. Also, I am extremely goal orientated and intend on doing everything I can to excel in the Behavioral Neuroscience graduate program. I would love nothing more than to conduct research, as well as have the opportunity to run my own lab in the future. I have the patience necessary to work long hours. I have the communication skills required to talk to others team members, as well as present research. Most importantly, my brother has left me dedicated to neuroscience and this dedication will only increase as time goes on.

Since declaring my major in Biological Psychology, I have prepared myself for the Behavioral Neuroscience doctoral program by taking preparatory courses such as Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychobiology, Drugs and Behavior, Cognitive Neuroscience, Advanced Biological Psychology, Experimental Psychology, and Behavioral Neuroscience. The culmination of these courses has provided me with the necessary insight on what the Michigan State University doctoral program will look like. Additionally, I have prepared for the doctoral program by getting involved in Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program where I conduct drug research under a federally funded grant. Prior to acceptance, I volunteered for a year on a Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) study where I examined addiction in rodent models at Cal State University of San Bernardino. Volunteering on CPP was a remarkable experience for me seeing as I was one of three undergraduate students selected: Additionally, graduate students heavily dominate the drug studies laboratory. Currently, I am working on a Neurochemistry project examining depression in adolescent rodent models. Involvement in lab research has allowed me to gain research techniques such as animal care, experience in subcutaneous and intraperitoneal injections, behavioral testing (conditioning/pre-conditioning), as well as data collection.

My scope of interest primarily lies in the investigation of the physiological effects related to traumatic brain injuries, hemorrhaging, and swelling of the brain. I am fascinated by the possibility of gaining new information pertaining to brain injuries. I would specifically like to study additional health factors that trigger brain damage (enlarged hearts, stroke, seizure). If admitted into the Michigan State University Behavioral Neuroscience program I would like to work on a neurochemistry project. Performing surgeries and looking at pathways is something I would like to gain proficiency in. Along with familiarity in neurochemistry, I would like to be a well-rounded researcher by having experience in various experimental models. To properly understand experiments I would be very interested in specific information regarding why a drug was selected, what it is mixed with, and what parts of the brain or body does the drug directly/indirectly affect. Once I gain a strong familiarity I would like to take a leadership position of conducting my own research as well as running my own project. Additionally, I would like to represent females and minorities in the field of the Biomedical Sciences.

I know that I am more than capable of achieving my goal of earning a doctoral degree due to my resilience. To me, Neuroscience is not just a major; it is my opportunity to make a difference. Although the loss of my brother has been devastating I would like to do research in his remembrance. Earning a PhD is something that I am meant to do. For these reasons I feel as though I am an ideal applicant for the Behavioral Neuroscience doctoral program.

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