Mark Nzasi.

This was truly a transformative and rewarding experience that would not have been possible without the Honors department’s funding. Thanks to Kayla Turner and the Black Premedical Society, I was able to find out about this opportunity. As a Black male student who doesn’t have much representation in neuroscience or psychology, it felt incredible to be in this field and show others around me it’s possible. I learned so much about neuroscience and the effects of trauma on children. It’s crazy to me that a particular amount of negative stimuli in the crucial years of a young person’s life have the power to permanently alter their life and mental condition. I built my professional, personal, collaborative, time management, and data analytic skills during my internship. Now I’ve even added a neuroscience major due to a newfound love for the discipline, and I thank Honors for the opportunity.

I was not expecting to witness how newborn mice have an insane amount of energy when they get old enough. When I went to check on our litters one morning, I went into the vivarium and picked up the first cage. I’ll never forget when I opened the lid on the chamber to change the food and water and the mice were more jumpy and larger than usual. If I hadn’t been paying attention the mice would’ve jumped up my arm and had a field day! I don’t really enjoy the ethics of animal research but after conducting it, I learned so much about how the medical advancements and life span of humans mice and other animals have added to the human life span.

I plan to continue my research by including more MS and control groups and utilizing the maternal separation through other conditions. I also plan to test the model of rearing the mice groups through both standard and enriched environments. These are baseline tests that are typically used to ethically test the results of pharmaceutical drugs on the behavior of the mice. I had my internship for the start of the semester and was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the project and present in the symposium. It was only through this funding I had this summer experience.

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