Activities & Involvement: Volleyball Coach, tutor in underprivileged schools, event organizer for the American Cancer Association in Puerto Rico, Research Assistant in the Cognitive Development Project, Hispanic Society.
Career Aspiration: Pediatric Neurologist
Favorite Quote: “Well done is better than well said” -Benjamin Franklin.
Extraordinary Circumstances: Loren is an only child being raised by a single mother in Puerto Rico. Her mother is out of work and has not been able to find a job, and her father has lung cancer and does not make child support payments. She is seeking better opportunities in the US than she would have in Puerto Rico.
Work Experience: On Campus Loren works in dining services. Off campus she’s worked as a waitress, retails sales and at a bookstore.
I am currently studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at Villanova University. Upon completing my studies at Villanova University, I plan to continue my academic endeavors in becoming a pediatric neurologist. I have always been interested in the perplexing nature of the mind- to think that one organ can control an entire body is simply fascinating.
The pinnacle of my intrigue with the human brain stems from my grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. My grandmother’s degenerative disease progressed when I was starting to explore the science fields; therefore it gave me the opportunity to tie the disease with biological processes I was learning in my classes. Her fight with this disease is one of the main reasons why I decided to enter this field. The impact of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, coupled with the lack of knowledge we have of them, motivates me to research this field and try to find answers to the many questions we have of them. That is why my decision to study neuroscience transcends intellectual curiosity and comes from personal experiences.
At Villanova, I am involved in an ongoing comparative cognition research. In the comparative cognition laboratory, we use behavioral experiments to examine cognitive processes in a variety of animals including laboratory rats, bees, fish and humans. The cognitive processes we study include fundamental learning systems, spatial memory, social cognition, and concept learning. The different ways creatures interact with the environment and each other helps determine and influence various aspects of their cognitive processes. This field of study will be very helpful in examining the cause and effect of cell phone use and social media and recent findings that people are developing addictive behavior, leading to high anxiety and depression. By being involved with research like this, I hope to gain the experience needed to continue my career while having the opportunity of getting involved with research of neurodegenerative diseases.