In September 2018, I was recognized as the 2018 National Outstanding Member of the Year by Nu Rho Psi, the national honor society for neuroscience. This nation-wide award recognizes one Nu Rho Psi member at any career stage who has "made significant contributions to the field of neuroscience" in areas such as research, education, service, or leadership. While an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University, I founded the campus chapter of Nu Rho Psi and served as the president for two years, leading the chapter through over 30 annual hours of neuroscience outreach and education efforts to engage K-12 children in STEM. Nu Rho Psi recognized me for my "leadership and service efforts in outreach, education, and public policy" through my work with Carnegie Mellon's chapter. I formally accepted the award at the annual Nu Rho Psi membership meeting during the Society for Neuroscience conference in November 2018.
In July 2017, I was awarded 2nd place in the second annual Undergraduate Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition as part of the "Speak Up!" seminar series at Carnegie Mellon University. In this competition, I summarized my research in an engaging manner for a non-expert audience, using a three-minute, three-slide presentation. This competition helped to spark my interest in science communication, as I was tasked with communicating the central message of my research in terms that a non-scientist could understand.
In the spring and fall semesters of 2017, I served as a Teaching Assistant for two outreach opportunities in which high school students conducted a biological experiment in the Carnegie Mellon Biological Sciences teaching laboratories. Students learned the principles of bacterial transformation using plasmid DNA, and successfully gave bacteria the ability to glow in the dark.
In October 2016, together with a committee of students and faculty, I founded the Carnegie Mellon University chapter of Nu Rho Psi (ΝΡΨ), the national honor society for neuroscience. I then served as the President during my junior and senior years, leading the chapter in providing educational service to the public through outreach in local schools, supporting the professional development of our undergraduate and graduate student members, and promoting social interaction between neuroscience students and faculty.