History, Psychology, Biology
David Reis was drawn to Carthage because of its neuroscience program. With a passion for the cognitive and biological functions of the human brain, he wants to be a neurosurgeon or a research scientist in cognitive neuroscience. He knew he wanted to major in neuroscience as an undergraduate.
“Carthage is one of the only schools in Wisconsin that offers neuroscience as a major,” he said. “This was the main factor that influenced my decision to attend Carthage.”
He also liked the small classes at Carthage.
“I felt like it would give me a more one-on-one relationship with my professors and provide me with more opportunities for research,” he said. “I am glad to say that both of these have become realities.
“The neuroscience department at Carthage is exceptionally good at providing hands-on experience to those who want it,” he continued. “There are many different research opportunities available to students at Carthage that are not available at larger schools. In addition, the neuroscience degree is very accommodating in regards to other areas of study. It is relatively easy to obtain a double major because the department has incorporated many other aspects of the field, like psychology, biology and chemistry, into the neuroscience major. This approach gives students a broader view of the neuroscience field and helps guide them to the area of neuroscience they are most interested in pursuing.”
Over the summer, David was involved in Carthage’s neuroscience research project.
“My case was unique in that I was not awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant as many other students were,” he said. “I received some funds from the Stress and Motivated Behavior Institute of the New Jersey Medical College and was able to be involved with the poster session at the end of the summer to present our research.”
In Fall 2009, David and his research partner attended a professional neuroscience conference and presented their research in Vermont.
“Carthage is one of the only schools in Wisconsin that offers neuroscience as a major. This was the main factor that influenced my decision to attend Carthage.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“Dr. Dan Miller. He is the only professor I have had for all of my neuroscience classes and is also my academic advisor. The aspect I admire and appreciate most about him is his high level of dedication to his students and his field of work. In my experience here at Carthage I have encountered few other professors who can match the commitment and enthusiasm that Dr. Miller has for his chosen field of study. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in summer research with Dr. Miller and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. He has challenged me to think abstractly and to challenge myself, and I have undoubtedly benefited from it.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed each neuroscience course that I have taken so far, however my favorite class was definitively Research Methods in Neuroscience. This is the class that convinced me that I wanted to become a research scientist. In Research Methods, I was exposed to real-world research and was given the opportunity to be involved. This class was a lab class and was therefore very hands-on. For me, it was the best lab class I have taken here at Carthage.”
“The toughest class that I have taken so far in my career at Carthage has been Cellular and Molecular Biology. This class is a required class for the neuroscience major and was one of my top five favorites. Nevertheless, it was very demanding. This class challenged my ability to think conceptually, challenged my writing skills, and helped me to develop into a better student. There is no other class that I have taken that has changed the type of student that I am for the better more than Cellular and Molecular Biology.”
Favorite spot on campus
“The rock wall located inside the TARC. As much as I love going to my classes and learning about new things, it is nice to be able to escape once in a while. Using the rock wall allows me to clear my head while getting in a good workout and having fun with friends all at the same time.”
Biggest surprise so far
“The biggest surprise for me so far is the fact that I already have a lot of research experience under my belt and I am only just going into my junior year. Coming into Carthage, I thought it would take until at least my senior year before I was able to get involved in any kind of research. I think providing research opportunities to students regardless of class year and experience level is something the Carthage science departments really pride themselves on.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Keep an open mind. The field of neuroscience encompasses so much that the areas of interest are nearly limitless. The neuroscience program at Carthage does a very good job of exposing you to a lot of those different interest areas within the field. The major itself is fairly flexible, meaning that you can take a range of courses in biology, chemistry and psychology in order to find what interests you most.
“The last piece of advice I will give is to be passionate about learning, and enjoy your time in college. Entering into the neuroscience program here at Carthage has been one of the best decisions of my life.”