Stacie Bloom on How a College Class Inspires PhD Neuroscience Career


Erik: How did one college class unexpectedly
springboard your science career? Stacie: So, I went to college at University
of Delaware. I was an okay student. It was nothing great. I was taking a lot of chemistry and psychology
and I was in these giant, giant lecture halls with hundreds of other people. And, decided one day when I was looking through
the course book for what to sign up for there was this really interesting looking class
in Neuropsychology and I thought I’ll sign up for it. And when I went to the class it turned out
to be a graduate level class and it was totally different from what I was used to. It was just in a small classroom. There were maybe twelve or fifteen students,
and a professor. And I had never been in an environment like
that before, that was so interactive. And it changed my life to be in a small class
like that. I did amazingly well. I got A’s from then on. I started taking more of those graduate level
classes, not because the content was so much more challenging but simply because the forum
was a better fit for me. And, really helped foster my education. It was also that I had discovered at that
time that neuroscience was what I was really interested in. So I think it was those two factors combined
— the forum and the content. Erik: What did you find most appealing about
neuroscience? Stacie: I was always just really interested
in the brain and how the brain works and how your thoughts are controlled and why you need
sleep and how you get addicted to drugs and why the brain fails. It was just a natural fit, I think, for my
inquisitiveness. And, at the time neuroscience was really becoming
a blossoming field. At the time that I was applying to graduate
school most schools didn’t even have a neuroscience yet. Which now it’s 2011 that’s impossible to fathom. When I was going to Georgetown I ended up
getting into the cell biology department because that was the closest thing they had to neuroscience. Now of course they have a full neuroscience
program.