Although UD junior biology major Mary Glen wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from her internship at the Center for Brain Health in Dallas, she quickly found that participating in the Center’s work on social cognition was both enlightening and rewarding. “Scientists have really only studied about 25% of the brain,” she said. “So the work they are doing at the Center for Brain Health could help with conditions like PTSD and autism.”
Glen heard about the Center for Brain Health through a mutual acquaintance. “I called Dr. Ashmore [her supervisor] directly and asked her about openings. She’d never had an intern before, but I was able to work in several areas at the Center to get a behind-the-scenes look at things like research, program development and grant writing,” she said.
Among the projects Glen worked on, she found the virtual reality research most interesting. “A team of clinicians, artists and app developers are working together to create simulated experiences for clients,” she said. “By creating virtual scenarios for things like dating, working and bullying, the clinicians can coach clients on how they might respond to unfamiliar situations. And the results are really promising.”
Glen gained valuable skills from her internship, including the ability to communicate with her team members from various backgrounds: “Because the VR project involved so many different types of professionals, I learned that artists and tech people see problems in different ways, and it takes different perspectives to solve problems.” Glen also said that she learned time management skills. “It’s not always easy to get everything done in the allotted time,” she said.
One thing that Glen said surprised her about the internship was learning that there are many parts of the medical field that don’t involve the typical doctor/patient or nurse/patient relationship. And although she still plans to go to medical school, she’s not ruling out exploring the areas that she learned about during her experience at the Center for Brain Health. “I’m really interested in social cognition and brain health,” she said. “And I realize that there are so many options within the field of brain study.”