Neuroscience club fosters discussions in field topics

January 28, 2019 — by Jeffrey Ma and Christine Zhang

In mid-November, sophomore Ritika Garg founded the Neuroscience Club as a means both to spread awareness about and expand on her personal interest in the field of neuroscience. The club had one introductory meeting in the fall semester and plans to hold more activities this semester.

Garg became interested in neuroscience over the summer. She took a two-week molecular neuroscience course at UC Berkeley, followed by four weeks of lab research at University of Colorado at Boulder. Now, Garg works in an official neuroscience lab and participates in the Society of Neuroscience Youth, a worldwide group of high school students who meet every month to promote neuroscience awareness.  

“I want to go into neuroscience, but there was no way to pursue neuroscience on our campus,” Garg said. “I decided to pursue my passion by starting the club.”

Garg said that, at first, recruiting officers for the club was difficult.

“I wasn’t originally aware of people on campus who were into neuroscience, but the more I looked, the more people I found who were interested in it,” she said.

Sophomore Isaac Sun is the vice president of the club; junior Ananya Vadlakonda is the secretary and sophomore Amanda Zhu is the treasurer.

The club commissioners initially rejected the club after their first interview, asking for more specificity in the club’s goals. After reworking the club’s agenda, the officers were able to get approval on their second attempt in November of last semester.

Since then, the club has attracted other originally uninterested students to joining the club.

Sophomore club member Josephine Chou described herself as “not knowing what to expect” but says that she has “already learned so much from just the second meeting.”

The club meets every other Wednesday in their adviser biology teacher Jennifer Lee’s Room 1011. Garg said these regular meetings aim to provide a welcoming forum for discussions in neuroscience and to spread the presence of neuroscience on campus.

During meetings, the club plans to have scientific journal discussions, play games related to topics they cover and tackle pressing matters in the field, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, one in four meetings will be on a topic within the wider scope of medicine, like last month’s meeting topic of pediatrics, in order to bring a more diverse aspect to club discussions.
Aside from these biweekly meetings, the club also hopes to bring in guest speakers and host a neuroscience fair to put spotlight on school-related neuroscience topics like stress and anxiety later on in the semester.

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