Internship engages the innovative ideas of STEM undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the country

DALLAS (July 12, 2021) – The inaugural cohort of the highly selective BrainHealth Project Summer Scholars recently completed a research internship program, culminating in a formal project presentation.

Fifteen scholars, from an incoming college freshman to graduate students, spent four weeks following a robust curriculum to learn about the latest groundbreaking advancements in brain health. Through a series of interactive sessions with BrainHealth experts, hands-on experiences and assignments, the group gained a holistic understanding of why brain health matters to people their age.

“I learned that a little bit of investment, starting now, has big payoffs down the road. In 20 years, I don’t want to look back and think, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’,” said Matthew White, a math and neuroscience student at UT Dallas.

Said Sruthi Alturi, a psychology major at University of Wisconsin, “College students have a lot on our plates, and many of us are overwhelmed feeling like we have to do everything. The BrainHealth training teaches you how to deal with that overwhelming task list and maintain your mental energy.”

The Scholars discussed ways to remove stigma and how to take charge of brain fitness by leveraging the principles of neuroplasticity. They learned strategies to improve their clarity (reason through complex situations, find optimism in crisis, create new opportunities), resilience (capacity to prioritize healthy social bonds and find purpose) and fortitude (remain emotionally balanced in the face of adversity). They measured their current performance levels by getting their personal BrainHealth Index, and many of them also encouraged their peers and families to also take advantage of this science-backed metric to track the upward potential of brain health.

(Above: BrainHealth Project Summer Scholars learned about research approaches and scanning technology)

“People our age underestimate how much they can do for their own brain. My BrainHealth Index helped me realize that even though I don’t feel like my brain is unhealthy, there’s always room for improvement,” shared Vivek Nair, a healthcare studies/pre-med student at UT Dallas.

According to Krisha Atreya, a biology/pre-med student at Texas A&M, “I learned that we need to take care of our brain the same way we take care of our skin. We all have a daily skin care routine, or we apply sunscreen because we’re thinking about what we want our skin to look like in the future. Our brain needs the same attention.”

For their final presentation, the Summer Scholars offered meaningful insights, ideas and recommendations to better attract young adults to The BrainHealth Project, which launched this year with the goal of bringing access to better brain fitness to people of all ages. To date nearly 6,000 people have registered, with older adults outnumbering young adults so far. The presentations showcased the degree to which the students internalized the training and started incorporating the lessons into their own lives. They also offered a variety of creative and insightful ideas for the BrainHealth team to consider, including:

  • Translating academic articles into lay-friendly, non-scientific language to facilitate widespread understanding of findings
  • Social content and visualizations designed to appeal to young adult audiences
  • Heat map of the United States, plotting ZIP codes to reveal that the Project includes participants from 48 states

“We were blown away by the energy, intelligence, innovation and dedication of this group,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth and distinguished professor at UTD’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. “As much as they gained, we benefitted even more and are newly inspired in our mission to bring better brain health to the world. This experience has underscored just how critical a robust internship program is to prepare and inspire future generations in this new field of brain health.” This offering would not have been possible without the tireless BrainHealth leadership of Janet Koslovsky, supported by Anna Cook.

The Center for BrainHealth offers internships year-round for students in multiple fields, including neuroscience, speech/language pathology, pre-med, data analytics, graphic design, marketing communications, and more. More information at centerforbrainhealth.org/careers

(Above: BrainHealth Project Summer Scholars participated in interactive training and brainstorming sessions)

About Center for BrainHealth®
The Center for BrainHealth, part of The University of Texas at Dallas, is a research institute committed to enhancing, preserving and restoring brain health across the lifespan. Major research areas include the use of functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to better understand the neurobiology supporting cognition and emotion in health and disease. This leading-edge scientific exploration is translated quickly into practical innovations to improve how people think, work and live, empowering people of all ages to unlock their brain potential.