Over the past week, myself and other members of the BSURF program had to give chalk talks; 8-minute talks about our project with nothing but a whiteboard and a marker. Even though I was nervous about giving my talk, I was looking forward to the talks. I had previously talked to some of the other students about their projects, but I wanted to know more about everyone’s project. Hearing about the diverse research opportunities gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge on topics including Alzheimer’s and sea urchin embryos.
One talk that I found fascinating was entitled “Neural Circuitry for Vocalization in Mice”. The chalk talk was given by Alina Xiao, who is working in the Mooney Lab. Her project involves looking at a specific area in the brain to see if it is activated when male mice vocalize, whether it be for defense purposes or courtship. The project got my attention because humans vocalize all the time, yet I rarely think about how and why other animals vocalize. Seeing how mice use this trait compared to humans is interesting. I also enjoy learning about how how the activation of different pathways illicit different responses in the body. Besides being fascinated by the project, I was also impressed with the quality Alina’s talk. It was apparent that she had thoroughly rehearsed her talk and she enjoyed what she was doing. I cannot wait to see the results for her project at the end program.
Overall, everyone gave an amazing chalk talk. Even though we have four more weeks until we present our results (we hit the halfway point!!), I am excited to see how everyone’s projects turn out.