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Ana Florencia Lopezulloa of Monterrey, Mexico, studied behavioral neuroscience, psychology and cognitive science as a College Scholar
Main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
My opinion column at the Cornell Daily Sun perhaps, since it opened a door to have a dialogue with people from the Cornell community that I wouldn't have known otherwise. My position as event coordinator at Cornell Minds Matter was of particular personal relevance to me all throughout college, especially with last year's suicides. It was exhilaratingly wonderful to feel there was something I could do to help others who were feeling as distraught as I was. But deep down, it's my rock band that I have valued the most - I play keyboards and sing, and all our songs are original. Playing keeps me sane, feeling alive and validated.
While at Cornell, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of?
Being a Cornell Tradition fellow, because it allowed me to volunteer in the Drop In Children's Center, serve as a bowling coach to Special Olympics athletes, translate surveys at the Survey Research Institute, participate in the Tapestry diversity performance and perform in the 'Vagina Monologues.' It also paid for my research on rhythm entrainment in dolphins that I did in Florida and my summer thesis research in Ithaca last summer. Also, learning Portuguese, my sixth language. Knowing various languages allows me to mix with a lot of social groups, and also allowed me to teach Spanish in local schools, be a Spanish and Portuguese instructor, have Latin arguments with Classics majors, talk French literature with grad students, and complain about how bad my Japanese is by now.
Your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
My Drugs and the Brain class, hands down; it gave me the focus I needed. It made me see that I absolutely loved neuroscience, and that everything I did could be linked to it in wonderful ways. I was able to hop on a research project for my undergraduate thesis - giving learning tasks to rats that are injected with endocannabinoid antagonists, which we believe will impair learning.
Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
I switched academic interests seven times! I went from being a linguistics major to a College Scholar interested in linguistic neurobiology and then to socio-linguistics to social psychology to biopsychology to neurobiology to behavioral neuroscience and ended up with behavioral pharmacology as my main area of interest. It's part of what you're expected to do, I believe.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
This summer and next academic year, I will be a research assistant in the Ron Harris-Warrick lab at Cornell, working on spinal cord injury surgeries in mice and exploring possible ways to have their neurons regenerate. I am unsure where I will be in 10 years, but I'm confident that I'll have it figured out by then. I'll probably be a lot more settled; probably have a family. Who knows.
Who or what at Cornell influenced your Cornell education the most?
I was married and 21 as a freshman. I applied to Cornell after a year soul searching and teaching English to businessmen in Madrid. My being older allowed me to be very focused on my time here. I chose things for a reason, always, and I had the freedom to choose anything I wanted.
What Cornell-related scholarships/special financial benefits did you receive?
I've had a full tuition scholarship and the Cornell Tradition program paid $4,000 in tuition per year, plus a stipend that financed my crazy research summers: Tradition would pay for my living expenses while I did that research and I wouldn't have to worry about working, which was amazing. I worked a lot during the semester, though, to be able to do that (there was a semester I had eight jobs simultaneously).