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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.

Alex Cates '15, left, in New Zeeland.
Alex Cates '15, left, in New Zealand.

A student’s advice: go after research early on

Alex Cates ’15 is a Hamilton College neuroscience major who spent the summer after his sophomore year doing research. “It was great to get the hands-on experience of designing an experiment, collecting and analyzing data, and then designing a new experiment to test the next hypothesis  –  not to mention learning a little bit of coding and enjoying the summer research atmosphere,” says Cates, who worked on modeling human movement.

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He and the other students attempted to see how the brain’s processing speed is affected by the difficulty of a task. They also worked on creating a digital representation of how people move their arms through space and seeing how that changes depending on a task’s difficulty.

Cates says it’s never too early for a student to go for a research opportunity.

“I started my sophomore year. There is no bias toward upperclassmen. Never be afraid to give it a shot, you never know what opportunities will open up,” he says.

Cates, who studied in New Zealand his junior year, is thinking about possibly teaching or doing research for a couple of years after college and then heading to grad school.

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.