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Neuroscience


At left, neuroscience majors Christopher Carter '13, interning at the Texas Medical Center. At right, Melissa Gunlogson '14 is in medical school at Northwestern University. She's a research assistant and phlebotomist for a study measuring risk factors for coronary artery disease.
  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • Outside the classroom

Augustana's major prepares students for admission to a wide variety of graduate programs in neuroscience and other fields related to the brain sciences.

What graduates do

Here's a sampling of what recent neuroscience graduates are doing:

Doug Peters is in the doctorate program in microbiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Christopher Carter is attending graduate school at Indiana University to study philosophy/bioethics. 

Rabia Jawed is pursuring a doctor of osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Ill.

Eric Pease is studying to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

Several neuroscience majors have interned recently at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and other institutions within the Texas Medical Center. (See Augustana Magazine, "Making It Count in Texas")

Augustana offers a major in neuroscience for students who wish to understand the biological bases of thoughts, perceptions, emotions, motivations, decisions and actions. The major was added in the fall of 2010. 

Major coursework is flexible, allowing students to pursue their interests within the field. Neuroscience students often have interests in psychology, biology, chemistry and philosophy — individually or in combination.The neuroscience major is a truly interdisciplinary experience.

The two full-time neuroscience faculty have the Ph.D. in psychology, with expertise in the areas of learning, pain and drug-seeking behavior, and the neural bases of sensation and perception. Faculty from the biology, chemistry, philosophy and religion departments also teach courses in the major.

As is common in most other Augustana programs, the neuroscience major culminates in a Senior Inquiry capstone experience, which will give the students the opportunity to conduct research on or off campus.

Program directors are Dr. Ian Harrington and Dr. Shara Stough.

Augustana participates in several undergraduate, graduate and professional research conferences and encourages students to present their research as part of their professional development. Examples for neuroscientists include Midbrains: The Undergraduate Neuroscience Conference of the Upper Midwest, and the Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Biological Sciences and Psychology sponsored by the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science.

Students of neuroscience at Augustana will have options to participate in the prestigious Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program, as well as other high-quality internships and opportunities to practice empirical research.

Connecting interests leads Rakers down memorable path

Kendra Rakers ’16 is interested in memory and how it works, particularly as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. So she chose an interdisciplinary major in neuroscience with minors in biochemistry and history.It’s a perfect fit, she says, because each field approaches memory from a different point of view, which is a good way to provide more flexibility in her career. As she sees it, “I’ll probably wind up with a job that hasn’t been invented yet.”

Jennifer Vanderpool '15: reflecting

Jennifer is going to shadow an orthopedic/neurology physician assistant and conduct neuroscience research with Dr. Stough over this summer. "Augustana really helped me determine what I wanted to do and, most importantly, why I wanted to do it. We do a lot of reflecting throughout the four years, and it has helped me understand why I chose what I wanted to do."

Ayanna Wade '15: worth looking into

Ayanna is going to be pursuing a Ph.D. program in neuroscience at the University of California. "If someone told me in high school that I should consider pursuing a career in research, I would have probably thought they were crazy. It took honest words of encouragement from professors in the psychology department to convince me that it was worth looking into."
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