Current MiNDS students organize co-op placements for high school students in Neuroscience laboratories at McMaster. Here you can learn more about the program and hear from our very own co-op student, Elysha.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Elysha Springer and I'm a co-op student in the Foster lab. I have a passion for science, specifically neuroscience, and I hope to pursue studies in biology and chemistry in post-secondary school. I'm a goal-oriented honour roll student who enjoys reading and volunteering.
What made you want to pursue a co-op position in a neuroscience lab, specifically Dr. Foster’s lab?
I chose to pursue a co-op position in a neuroscience lab, specifically Dr. Foster’s lab, because throughout high school I've thoroughly enjoyed science classes, especially biology. I think the human brain is so intricate and amazing with all of its different components and functions. I plan to be a psychologist and have always found empathy and how we experience emotion so intriguing, so getting an opportunity to see the research side of neuroscience proved to be a really great opportunity. I've always wanted to have a career I loved and can help people with, so being somewhere in the area of psychology seems to be a great option for me.
What kind of work do you do at your co-op placement?
During my co-op placement I have had the opportunity to learn different aspects of neuroscience like how DNA is replicated, information about neurons and glial cells, and different facts about areas of the brain and their functions. I've gotten to see several experiments, and even completed some of my own, like a protein Lowry to practice pipetting skills, and DNA isolation of a strawberry. I've also done a number of reports on some different neuroscience articles I found interesting. I chose to focus on depression and its different treatments, which has become a new area of interest of mine. This has been a once in a lifetime learning opportunity.
Tell us about the most interesting thing you learned while working in Dr. Foster’s laboratory.
The part I found most interesting is what I learned about the hippocampus, and how it can shrink, and a loss of neurons can occur with age. I also found it interesting that cortisol inhibits the immune system during long stressful time periods but when someone takes a break, the cortisol no longer inhibits the immune system, so this is the time that most people can get sick because the immune system is no longer put on hold.