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Student Spotlight: Elaina Breznau

While most of her peers were undergraduate students, Elaina was climbing 20,000 foot peaks in South America, scuba diving in the Bahamas, backpacking the Australian outback, and traversing the globe in search of adventure. In the process, she gained a different education that provided life experience and exposure beyond comparison which instilled in her a strong sense of confidence and adaptability. Years later, when the time came to pursue an undergraduate degree, Elaina chose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biology due to her love of nature and her natural inquisitiveness. After undergrad, she says, “The only choice was Michigan.”

Day in the Life of a Neuroscience Graduate Student (and New Dad)

Hello my name is Chris Valdez. I am a 4th year Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate here at the University of Michigan. My hometown is San Antonio, Texas and I am very happy to have moved up here to be part of this excellent university. At first the move was difficult for my wife and I but as you read my blog, you will see we made a happy little family here in Ann Arbor. First-things-first, the research! Currently my thesis work focuses on adult neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Essentially, I am interested how newborn cells are regulated in the adult brain. This is an interesting field of neuroscience because the role of these newborn cells in the adult brain has not fully been characterized.

The Graduate Student Summer: Fostering a Balanced Summer Self

For those of us who grew up in the American public school system, it is hard to forget those blissful days when the ring of the final bell on the final day of school meant three months of blissful summer freedom. Yes, many of us still had “work” to do over the summer: summer jobs, perhaps, or summer school and studying to help us “get ahead” or “catch up” in one way or another. But despite those responsibilities, the summers of my childhood were always a chance to take a deep breath and recuperate from the fast pace of the fall, winter, and spring months. A chance to get lost in the woods behind my house, swim in a muddy river, and spend evenings at the local drive-in (yes, we had one of those).

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