Every year, the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Alumni Network offers summer awards to help undergraduates defray costs related to conducting research, attending conferences or interning. 
Read below how Neuroscience Seniors (Rakshita and Nathan) furthered their professional and career development with funding from the Undergraduate Summer Research, Travel, and Educational Enrichment Awards program.

Rakshita Balaji

Rakshita spent the summer months conducting research on neural mechanisms behind perceptual learning—looking at how a pattern of breaks can assist with music learning.
Working with Department of Biology Assistant Professor Melissa Caras, Balaji investigates how humans can perceive differences between increasingly similar auditory stimuli. This summer, she studied neuron activity in the auditory cortex of the brain by creating and validating an auditory discrimination task for Mongolian gerbils, whose low-frequency hearing resembles humans’.
“Beyond facilitating musical expertise—such as pinpointing whether an instrument’s pitch is sharp or flat—perceptual learning is important for language acquisition in early development,” Balaji explained. “It can also help users of assistive listening devices sharpen their perception of what they hear.”
Nathan Boyle
Neuroscience and Persian studies dual-degree student Nathan Boyle spent his summer developing an app to help patients with Tourette syndrome at the Johns Hopkins University Center for OCD, Anxiety, & Related Disorders for Children (COACH).
Boyle also conducts independent research using machine learning to characterize tic and urge psychophysiology in Tourette syndrome. He continues to refine his research questions to consider new approaches.
“The award has enabled me to commit most of my time this summer to research while being able to afford tuition next semester,” Boyle said. “The significant progress I have made in my research projects this summer meaningfully improves my chance of being admitted to M.D./Ph.D. programs when I apply.”
If you would like to learn more about about the other awardees, please visit here
Headshot of Nathan and Rakshita