NORTON, Mass. - Eighteen Wheaton College student-athletes have earned fellowships this summer through the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services that will enrich their academic experiences.
The Davis International and Porter Cleveland fellowships are just a few examples of the Wheaton Edge – a promise that every single student will receive financial support for an internship, research position or other experiential learning opportunity by the time they graduate.
Throughout the summer, the athletics department will feature the student-athletes taking part in these fellowships, including a member of the volleyball and track & field teams Cathryn MacGregor '19.
A neuroscience major from North Andover, Mass., MacGregor interned at LeDoux Lab at the NYU Center for Neural Science.
Wheaton Athletics: Tell me a little bit about your fellowship.
Cathryn MacGregor: I am working as an undergraduate research assistant in the LeDoux Lab at the NYU Center for Neural Science. The position is unpaid, however, I am using my merit stipend from Wheaton to cover living costs. The LeDoux lab is an animal lab (rat specifically) that studies the neural basis of emotional memory in organisms using behavioral, anatomical, physiological, and molecular methods. I specifically am conducting behavioral experiments within the research of Dr. Vincent Campese. While the experiments are designed by Dr. Campese, I run them independently and compile the results into a comprehensible form. This internship lasts 9 weeks from the end of May to the end of July and I am in the lab 5 days a week (hours vary from 3 being my shortest and 8 being my longest).
WA: What interested you in the fellowship?
CM: I was lucky enough to have a Wheaton professor find this internship for me. My personal search for an internship was not going well so I reached out to one of my professors. She found a few options for me including this position at NYU. What brought me to choose this internship was largely the reputation of the LeDoux Lab. Joseph LeDoux is a world renowned neuroscientist with an amazing list of publications and is a forerunner in his field. This internship not only gave me the chance to meet him but also be working in his very lab. Also, who doesn't want to live in NYC for a summer?
WA: What experiences are you hoping to gain from your fellowship?
CM: Through this experience, I am directly learning about how brain injuries can affect the overall functioning of individuals and how that can impact their quality of life. I also am gaining more knowledge about the types of facilities and programs that people with brain injuries have access to prior to their injuries later on in life.
WA: What are your career aspirations and how will this help you achieve them?
CM: As a neuroscience major, I could head down a variety of career paths. While I have always seen myself in a research position, I have not ruled out a medical field by keeping up with the pre-med track. All-in-all I don't really know what I want to do yet so I'm keeping my options open.
This experience gives me a great example of what it's like to be working in a research lab. Plus, I have met some amazing people who have helped me through the summer and connections are never a bad thing.
WA: How will this experience make you a better leader at Wheaton and on your team?
CM: This experience has really boosted my time management skills. It also has required me to cooperate with my peers to make a long day's work go back as quickly and smoothly as possible, and when the unexpected comes, the flexibility to adjust to move forward. Through all of this communication has been key to accomplish everything that needs to get done.
WA: Finally, why do you think these opportunities are beneficial to Wheaton students?
CM: These opportunities are amazing for Wheaton students. They allow you to learn new skills while exploring a field of interest and a possible career path.