The Neuroscape high school summer internship was back in person this year. And even though it was “hybrid” with two remote days per week, the three students still got lots of hands-on time, including getting their hands on human brains, literally!
The first week of the internship, Neuroscape’s Peter Wais gave a two-part neuroanatomy lesson (pictured above), which included getting to observe and interact with human brains preserved in formaldehyde or encased in resin. The specimens were split down the corpus callosum so they could see the limbic system. “The interns were encouraged to delicately touch and hold them if they wanted to, with gloves on,” says Melissa Arioli, a Clinical Research Coordinator at Neuroscape who helped head up the internship program. “Almost all the interns jumped at the opportunity to hold the brains. They were completely in awe and kept saying ‘Wow! This is amazing!’"
Arioli says that the independent projects prove most challenging for the interns. For those projects, each intern was paired with at least one Neuroscape mentor (see "Faculty Spotlight" above), meeting weekly to learn about how to read scientific articles, how to do data analysis, and how to present their work. “It’s their first time doing a project of this depth,” she explains. “Their final presentations absolutely exceeded our expectations. They were able to clearly describe their projects and answered questions like total professionals. It was rewarding to see them speak so confidently.”