As a freshman at the College of St. Benedict’s, I realized that not only was the mission of St. Ben’s different than mine, but I was also missing my passion academically by not having the option to pursue a Neuroscience degree. I transferred to Concordia College for my next two years. At Concordia, I have found a group of people that share a common mission and passion for the world that I see in myself, a mission that stems off of their slogan-BREW.
Being Responsibly Engaged in the World-BREW- is the catch phrase that Concordia College uses to structure all of their classes and decisions regarding education. Although it is not ever blatantly stated, I’ve always thought that this acronym has a second meaning. The word ‘brew’ is normally used in the context in brewing drinks. One drink that is all too familiar to college students is coffee. I know, you were expecting me to say beer, but I think coffee is a better example here.
According to the National Coffee Association the entire process of brewing coffee starts with finding the right coffee beans. Coffee beans are unique in where they are grown, the variety, and how they are raised. Similarly, each and every college student is unique in where they come from, their race, ethnicity, and the particular obstacles they have when growing up.
After the coffee beans are grown and have come to mature, they need to be ground up and brewed with water before coffee can be consumed as the beverage we have come to love today. The size of the grind and the amount of time that the coffee beans are brewed determines the taste of the coffee. Concordia takes each student, in their uniqueness, and puts them through the grind (literally) and brews them to their full potential.
For me, I came into college with a good amount of background knowledge and a desire to learn, but very little direction for what I would eventually want to do with my life. The faculty, classes and research that I took at Concordia and all of the hard work that went into these made me come to realize who I am and my goals in life.
One of my best grinding experiences was doing research through Concordia. I did research with Mayo Clinic my sophomore year that helped me to realize that the medical field is where I want to be. I did summer research with Dr. Askvig and was able to present this research in Philadelphia which made me realize that I never want to lose my sense of wonder and my drive to learn. It made me realize how many people are out there who care about science and how much opportunity to be in science I have in the future.
The capstone of the Concordia experience is like the chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, fruit syrups, or milk that people put into their coffees to make it an extra special experience. The capstone class adds a little something extra to the Concordia experience that helps to shape an individual into their best person.
The neurochemistry capstone for me was a very special experience because of the capstone project that I was able to do in conjunction with the social work class. We planned a panel night where the topic of discussion was autism in the schools. Our group was able to educate and communicate the science behind autism as well as hear first hand experience about what it is like to live with Autism. It was hugely beneficial to the Concordia community and made me realize that though I may be one person, I truly do have the power to impact the world and to educate people.
Another hugely beneficial part of the Neurochemistry capstone was blogging. At first it was so so so frustrating for me to try to dumb down the science that I was learning about to be able to communicate it to a larger community. Eventually the writing started to come easier for me and I now feel that I am able to effectively communicate intricate and complicated scientific ideas with people at all levels of education. This is a very important skill, as many scientists can only communicate amongst each other, and lack the ability to relay important messages to people outside of their specialty of knowledge.
From the blogging to the capstone project to the ability to read scientific research papers, the Neurochemistry capstone has taken me from your average cup of joe, and given me that little something extra. The capstone truly was the whipped cream on top of my college experience.