Soccer and Science
Q: How has Lehigh prepared you to take on tomorrow’s challenges?
A: Between rigorous academic schedules, a huge commitment to extracurriculars, and everything else that the Lehigh University experience has entailed for me, I fully believe that I have gained problem-solving, time-management, and organization skills that will help me with whatever challenges the world brings on in the future.
Q: You are involved in research on electrical synapses in the thalamus. Can you please tell us more about that, and why you’re interested in research that can impact humanity?
A: As a member of Dr. Haas's lab, we study coupled brain cells within the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), one of the many nuclei within the thalamus. The thalamus is considered the gateway for information processing from sensory inputs to cerebral processing. TRN, specifically, is primarily composed of inhibitory neurons that regulate information that's passed through the brain and plays important roles in sleep cycles and attention. Dysfunction in these neurons has also been linked to absence seizures. In our lab specifically, we study specific electrical relationships between neurons that can affect the speed and manner in which this information is transferred. After years of biology and other science courses throughout high school and college, I enjoy knowing that I am now able to do hands-on work using the information I've studied in these courses and that has direct implications on human cognitive function.
Q: Where have you found support and mentors at Lehigh?
A: I have found support in all aspects of my Lehigh experience. First, my soccer coaches have been extremely supportive to me both on and off the field. They have taken a genuine interest in my development as a player, student, and person. My Eckardt Scholars advisor, Professor Lay, has been super helpful to me with my extracurricular activities and through academic support since I was a first-year on campus. Finally, my Behavioral Neuroscience advisor, Dr. Swann, and my research mentor, Dr. Haas, have both been paramount in my development as an undergraduate scientist and pre-med student at Lehigh.
Q: What is a classroom or extracurricular activity at Lehigh that helped you determine what you want to pursue in the future?
A: I have always known that I wanted to be pre-med in college, go to medical school, and train to become a doctor. When I took BIOS 276 with Professor Burger in the Spring of 2021, it was the first time I felt like I was learning directly applicable knowledge to the field that I wanted to go into. It was also this course that allowed me to get into Dr. Haas's lab to do research on the same concepts I learned about in the course.
Q: What is it like to be a student athlete at Lehigh? How do you balance academics and athletics?
A: Being a student-athlete at Lehigh has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life. It has taught me how to balance school, athletics, and extra-curriculars while maintaining strong relationships with my teammates and classmates. I have made some of my closest friends as a student-athlete who have always supported me in every aspect of life.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Lehigh?
A: This is a tough question to answer for me. Lehigh has given me so many opportunities in and out of the classroom, but I think my favorite part has been the people Lehigh has brought me. My teammates have become my roommates and best friends, and my coaches and professors have become role models and mentors. I am excited to see how these relationships will carry on after we all leave Lehigh.
Q: Where is your study spot of choice on campus?
A: My favorite place to study on campus is Linderman Library. Whether it be in the stacks of the rotunda or the long tables on the first floor, I have always loved the academic aura of Lindy since my freshman year.