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Neuroscience

Research will be central to your studies; as a neuroscience major you will undertake an in-depth senior research project. You may do summer research with a faculty member, funded by a grant, or coauthor a paper published in a scholarly journal.


Marina Palumbo '17 in the lab.
PHOTO: DK LEE '17

Science, summer research – and a penchant for poetry 

It took one neuroscience course for Marina Palumbo ’17 to know neuro would be her major: Introduction to Brain and Behavior with Douglas Weldon, the Stone Professor of Psychology, who is the neuroscience program director. Palumbo, who plans to go to med school, was keen to understand the physiological processes that control thoughts, feelings and actions. As a rising junior she spent a summer doing research with Weldon on long-term potentiation, which is related to learning and memory. “Summer research at Hamilton was an entirely new experience for me,” she says. “I was able to be involved in every aspect of the research process, from collecting data to organizing results in a way that could be presented to others.”

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Palumbo’s interests are broader than science – for instance, she’s a tutor at the college Writing Center. “Because of Hamilton's open curriculum, I have been able to take courses in a variety of departments. One of my favorite classes was Poetry and Poetics. In this course, we not only analyzed poems, but also created our own poetic imitations. Imitating the styles of specific poems gave me an interesting perspective of the art of poetry. I appreciated the creative and collaborative nature of our class discussions as we worked together to understand works of poetry,” she says.

Nathaly Francois ’04
Nathaly François '04

A graduate’s progress: a medical degree

Nathaly François ’04 knew since childhood that she wanted to be a physician. At Hamilton College she majored in neuroscience and planned to be a neurosurgeon, but in medical school she discovered her true passion – urology. She is a urology resident at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

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Even before François wanted to be a physician, she wanted to be a teacher. When she entered the field of medicine she says, “I began to understand I could be both. Physicians work in a teaching and learning environment­– with medical students, with their patients and with their colleagues."

After her residency, François expects to pursue a fellowship to further specialize within urology, but she hasn’t yet decided exactly which direction she will take. Hamilton, she says, has been a big part of what she has achieved. The support and encouragement that students receive from professors “was actually very wonderful.”

“They made it very clear that they were available, and in the time that they spent with you, it was always a moment of edification. They were never cursory. You were never felt to be small. You always felt you were remarkable, that you could do anything,” François says.