As an aspiring neuroscientist with environmentalist values and a strong interest in epigenetics, I am working toward a personal understanding of how I can integrate my values and diverse interests into my future research work. I believe that the principles of sustainability are not only essential for our long-term survival as a species, but is also critical in order to create human systems and environments that foster the intellectual and physical health of their inhabitants.
I also believe that it will be necessary to change the hierarchical, single-discipline structure of most biomedical research studies, and reach toward something that is far more interdisciplinary and community-oriented, in order to find the origins of some of the complex neurobiological diagnoses which have emerged or grown dramatically in the last few decades. I hope that participation in this project will give me insight into how my ideals can inform research that will help to drive our culture toward healthy, sustainable communities.
As a matter of personal enrichment, I have been fascinated with the people and cultures of Peru since I first learned that, as the birthplace of the cultivated potato, they have a potato museum with over 5000 recorded varietals. That amazes me; what a contrast with the monoculture of American agribusiness! As a person of Native American descent, the ruins left by multiple ancient cultures there speak to my curiosity about and emotional connection with indigenous civilizations in the Americas, as does the rich living culture there.
It is my hope that my participation will contribute to the goals of the program by bringing to it my energy, enthusiasm, and unique perspectives from my life experience as a nontraditional student.