Stephanie Uroda ’23 (chemistry, neuroscience) is a prize-winning student researcher with plans for a career in neuroscience research. Below, she discusses her research on the effects of stress responses, including the possible role of estrogen in stress adaptation, as well as what she appreciates most about her time at Dickinson.
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
Clubs and organizations:
Quantitative Reasoning Center, Alpha Lambda Delta, Neuroscience Club, Random Acts of Kindness Club, Asian & Asian American Collective and National Society for Leadership and Success.
John Patton Memorial Prize, John E. Benson Handbook Award, Waidner-Spahr Library Research Prize for Sophomores and Juniors and American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry.
Best thing about my Dickinson experience:
Student-professor relationships. When applying to college, I knew I wanted to attend one that was committed to keeping class sizes small to foster strong student-professor relationships. This has certainly been true at Dickinson. Many of my professors are extremely willing to meet with me outside of class time to answer questions about course content and advise me on future career plans. They make an effort to know me beyond a grade on a paper. I highly value these types of relationships with my professors.
Best thing about my major:
Learning laboratory techniques and performing experiments. Almost all my major courses at Dickinson have included a laboratory component. Through my labs, I learn and develop techniques that will benefit me in my future career as a researcher. I have also gotten the opportunity to design some of my own experiments and think like a scientist. Together, these experiences have prepared me well for higher education beyond Dickinson.
As I kid, I wanted to be …
… a teacher.
My Intermediate Chinese classes. Even though we were all disappointed about remote learning, Adjunct Professor in East Asian Studies Christine Liu made sure that it did not prevent her from creating a fun and productive learning environment. She made her own games to help us learn vocabulary and developed creative ways to teach us new grammar patterns. She also made an effort to get to know each one of her students and incorporate things about us in our lessons. Her classes inspired me to continue taking Chinese this year.
I can count to 10 in five languages.
About my research:
I am a research assistant in Drs. Kirsteen Browning’s and R. Alberto Travagli’s lab in the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. My project investigated the sex-dependent effects of stress responses on the neural connections between the hypothalamus and brainstem. I have learned many laboratory techniques through this research opportunity, including survival animal surgeries, chronic stress paradigms and immunohistochemistry. Interestingly, the preliminary data suggest estrogen plays a role in hindering female rats from adapting to stress. Considering stress plays a role in gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction and females are more prone to GI disorders, this study brings to light an interesting physiological phenomenon that could lead to research of the mechanism by which estrogen contributes to dysregulation of GI function.
I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience following graduation from Dickinson. Ultimately, I want to become a professor and research learning and memory.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
Be friendly. You never know when a great opportunity is just a conversation away.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published December 16, 2021