GTC-Wellcome Trust Doctoral Scholarship
The past year, the third of my DPhil in neuroscience, has been busy but productive. I have run numerous experiments and gathered a large body of data. The challenge now is to analyze all this data and gather it into a coherent whole in preparation for writing the dissertation. I am making good progress on this front, however, and anticipate handing in my dissertation in April 2016.
Work was particularly enjoyable last term because I was supervising a master’s student doing a placement with our lab. I trained her to perform my experiments, and together we gathered data to complete a study I had begun previously and then set about analyzing this data set. It was both very helpful and a great pleasure to have a partner with whom to brainstorm ideas and discuss challenges during this process, and I really enjoyed teaching and mentoring.
Now that I am coming to the end of my degree, I am beginning to consider options for the future. I plan to return to the United States and pursue postdoctoral research there, as well as opportunities to gain teaching experience, in preparation for a career in academia. I will present a poster at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago this coming October, which will be an excellent venue to network with potential employers and to present my work to colleagues outside of Oxford.
In addition to research and teaching, I hope to incorporate work at the interface of science and society into my career. Over the past few years I have tried my hand at science journalism by blogging both for Bang!, Oxford’s student-run science magazine, and for Neurobabble, a blog that three other neuroscience DPhils and I founded. This summer, I will explore another intersection of science and society: the world of public policy. I will be taking three months off from my studies to do an internship in London at the Academy of Medical Sciences, an independent organization that advises the government on science and medical policy issues. I am very much looking forward to this experience, and I think it will also provide a well-timed mental break that will allow me to return to my DPhil in the autumn with renewed energy and focus.
"Without scholarship support from GTC, I probably would have ended up studying in the States - not a bad option, of course, but I am thrilled to be exploring abroad and experiencing Oxford's unique traditions while pursuing my PhD. The College's generosity has allowed me to expand my horizons, not only scientifically, but also culturally and personally."
Although my involvement in college life has lessened as work has gotten busier, I still greatly enjoy all the time I do get to spend at GTC. I continue to co-direct GTC’s choir, the Observatory Overtones. We perform regularly at college events, including the Proms in Michaelmas term, the LimeAid benefit concert in Hilary term, and the college Garden Party in Trinity term. I also get the chance to attend college dinners once or twice a term and always appreciate the spontaneity of never knowing what interesting person you might be seated next to that night and the fascinating conversations that result. And although I no longer live onsite, I find myself frequently returning to GTC to sit in the garden or read in the common room and to enjoy the calm and peace of these spaces amidst the bustle of life outside the college walls.