Autonomy and it’s Benefits

Since my last blog post, my education and understanding of neuroscience and neuro-anatomy has grown immensely. Throughout this learning process I have interacted with a variety of people coming from numerous professional and educational backgrounds. One way in which I was exposed to a potential career path was through a voluntary, and informal, neuro-anatomy class that is being offered to summer students at the lab. It is taught by one of the principle investigators. We have worked to understand, three dimensionally, the structure and location of major parts of the brain. This has peaked my interest in fields of medicine that investigate neuro-anatomy.

The images below were taken from the internet because I am not allowed to photograph patient images that I am working on as it could violate confidentiality agreements. The first image is a fMRI image. From this we are able to create the second image which shows water diffusivity throughout the brain.

Henry image 1          Henry image 2

Another way in which my internship has helped me explore potential career paths is by putting me in contact with people further along in careers that I am interested in. For example I work closely with another research trainee who happens to be a second year medical student. His advice has helped me to better plan out my future.

For the most part my career goals have remained constant. I wish to attend medical school after having taken a gap year. I have not had a specific moment in which I have felt that my education has sky rocketed; rather these past two weeks have greatly augmented my understanding of what exactly I am doing at the lab. For the past two weeks my direct supervisor was on vacation so I had to assume a significant amount of autonomy very quickly. This has pushed me to be a better problem solver, individual thinker and networker. I have worked with varying people around the lab on the projects I have been assigned in order to move the projects in the right direction.

Written by Henry Dumke, BC Class of 2017


Figuring it out and Asking Questions

I recently started my internship as a research trainee at the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory (PNL) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. So far it has been very challenging yet incredibly rewarding. Boston College has prepared me with numerous skills to accomplish the demands of my internship. Specifically, I will be able to use my biology background to contextualize what I am learning and exploring at the lab. For instance understanding the endocrine and immune systems have allowed me to partake in conversations with my superiors about theories and hypothesizes concerning their exploration into certain neurological diseases. Additionally, Boston College has provided me with a strong work ethic. This has allowed me to maximize my education as well as work effectively on new projects. Much of what I am doing in terms of the computer science aspect requires me to figure out steps and commands as I go. The drive to be successful that BC has instilled in me has made this not only plausible but also enjoyable.

I had one professor sophomore year that really encouraged me to keep asking questions. I have always learned well when I could ask questions; however, it is often difficult to do so in a massive lecture. This one professor who urged me to continue asking questions has greatly effected my confidence in asking questions in all scenarios. This has given me an edge at my internship. I look at every conversation and plan for the day as an opportunity to learn and my willingness to ask questions has really helped me pick things up quickly.

While I have not been able to photograph the lab, I was able to snap a picture of my lunch view the other day at our other location over in Charlestown. Check it out!



Written by Henry Dumke, BC Class of 2017