Skip to:

Home » Taxonomy » Term » phd


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).

Writing the Dissertation, One Chapter at a Time

As a Ph.D. Candidate in History, I'm working on the intersections between the history of American antislavery and the history of families. My dissertation traces the journey of African American families as they migrated from North America to West Africa during the early nineteenth century, locating settlers and missionaries as they established new lives for themselves in the American colonies at Liberia. These migrants often kept in close contact with family members that remained in the United States after the Atlantic crossing was made, and I have been working on uncovering the histories of these connections.