Illustration by Camille Shumann
Tamar Shuhendler /// Staff Writer
The addition of a neuroscience minor at Lewis & Clark marks a major change to the 2013-2014 curriculum.
“It has been a very long process, starting from 2008, when a group of faculty members from several departments (mostly biology and psychology) got together to explore the idea of a neuroscience program in LC,” said Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair Yueping Zhang.
The group worked together to get support for the project, eventually receiving a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
“With the support of HHMI funding, a new course, ‘Introduction to Neuroscience,’ was created in Fall 2010, and continued effort picked up a notch since [Assistant Professor of Biology] Tamily Weissman-Unni joined LC.” Zhang added, “Finally, in May 2013, we formally launched the minor.”
Neuroscience is an area of study that is very popular around schools in the United States, but “it’s not so common at schools in the Northwest,” Weissman-Unni said.
“The most interesting thing is that it can be related to every aspect of your life, and whatever a student’s background, they can think, ‘How does my brain influence the way I perceive the world?’” she explained. “It can be applied to so many different things and that makes it exciting for a lot of people.”
While it is a specific minor, there are many points of access and it can be an extremely versatile field.
“I like the interdisciplinary nature of the program; the minor requirements include courses taught by more than 15 faculty members from seven departments. There have always been a lot of people excited for neuroscience,” she said. “Many are signing up and considering the minor.”