I ended up taking neurochemistry as a class not because I necessarily wanted to, but because I needed the course in order to graduate. During the course I was amazed at how much I learned and how much this class has benefited me. Not only was I able to gain insight on the inter-workings of the brain and nervous system, I was also able to responsibly engage myself into the world around me. It’s exciting when you know that people outside your classroom are reading your opinions and your work. It’s a satisfying feeling to know that you are actually impacting the lives of the people that come across what you publish online.
During this semester I gained knowledge about all types of drug addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, autism spectrum disorders, bi-polar, etc., and learned about possible causes, possible treatments, as well as what more needs to be researched to find cures for these problems. As a class we tried to fit the pieces together of each disorder and figure out the chemical and environmental causes and suggest the best targets for treatments. It’s amazing how tightly the chemistry of the brain is linked with habits and behaviors as well as environment. The environment someone is living in affects the brain just as much as genetics does. All these disorders are not even slightly straight forward. There is no exact determination that if you have this gene you will get this disease or, if you live in this environment you will get this disorder. All the disorders we studied had multiple hypotheses of how each came to be a disorder. And each individual case tends be different from the next. Common links of these diseases are often difficult to pin point and can change as more research is conducted. This class opened my eyes to see the complexities of the brain and brain disorders and gave me a new outlook on research.
In addition to the science I learned, this course also gave me the opportunity to give my personal, educated opinion to the public and bring awareness to the issues we discussed in class. The course “Neurochemistry 475” integrated complex science with communication and allowed my peers and I to communicate to the public in English about science through the World Wide Web. Technology has allowed this class to expand its possibilities. Communicating to the public about science is a very difficult and sometimes daunting task, because science is so easy to miscommunicate. For those of you who don’t know, scientists in almost all fields tend to struggle in the communication of their work to people who are not scientific fields. And we as undergraduate students have been introduced early to real public communication which does both us and our audience a world of good. We were given the opportunity to learn how to communicate science while our audience gets to hear, learn, and understand varying opinions on scientific issues.
Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World or B.R.E.W. has become a pillar of Concordia College’s education program. This course is the epitome of B.R.E.W. What better at Concordia than to have a class that takes the best of science and the best of communication and put them together into one? My peers and I have not only gained insightful scientific knowledge but also groomed our speech skills, writing skills and technological skills. These skills will make us all better employees, better students, and better people in general. With these skills we can improve society and maybe even improve life as we know it, because we are learning to communicate with the public about hard topics to discuss.