Under the scorching sun, the streets of Boston sizzle in the bustling frenzy of cars and people rushing to work, while the summer days stretch into long, staggering hours. Famous for being the hub of colleges and the node of entrepreneurship and innovation, Boston – around this time of the year – seems to welcome in a wave of ambition, energy, and zeal.
This summer, I have the wonderful opportunity to work at the Gaab Lab in the Boston Children’s Hospital as a student intern. I had applied to this lab because of its work in utilizing the advances of neuroscience to ameliorate education. As my time spent in the lab grows, it becomes more evident that this lab has a hopeful, interdisciplinary approach to research. The researchers here consciously make the effort to examine their scientific results through a socio-economic, judicial, and legislative lens, examing how our environment influences us and how we we influence our environment. In fact, the other day, the team participated in lobbying a bill on the early screening of dyslexia – a bill that the Gaab lab could scientifically support with the neurobiological evidence that it found – at the Massachusetts State House. I was able to meet The House of Whip and the senators that represented Massachusetts during the process of lobbying. It was an eye-opening learning lesson, to say the least.
Perhaps, what I love most about the lab is its involvement in studying the role of music on the brain. The researchers have done multiple studies showing the structural differences of a musician’s brain compared to that of a non-musician and its implications in the development of children. I was lucky enough to accompany one of the lab’s researchers to attend a conference that hosted world renown researchers in the field of neuroscience and music. Hearing the strides that scientific research was making through the vehicle of music was simply amusing.
All in all, this lab’s dedication to the issues that I deeply cared about (music, children, education, brain) was what gravitated me to their work and I couldn’t be more excited to have the chance to spend my summer among stellar researchers who clearly show a purpose (beyond the self) in the work that they do. Coming from Hopkins – the first research university- , I was emboldened by the notion that my university places a strong importance in expanding the boundaries of knowledge through research and encourages students to discover and excavate new strands of thought by participating in such endeavors.
I am excited for what the summer has in store for me in Boston and to share the experience with this virtual community of the Hopkins Interactive. Although only three weeks into the internship, I have been gladly humbled by the experience of being surrounded with people of great ambition and I hope that through my time here in Boston, I’ll be able to bring back to Hopkins a tangible contribution that gained from my internship.