Engage and Enable Blog

In this blog and by sharing our stories, we aim to ENGAGE students, researchers and the public, and ENABLE people who have disabilities.

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Twenty-three Eton School (Bellevue, WA) students visited the CSNE on Tuesday, December 15 for a two-hour crash course in neural engineering. The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students participated in several activities, including a demonstration on how electromyography can be used to control devices, and an interactive session that used brain teasers designed to illustrate the strengths and limitations of our sensory perception.

The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) is lucky to have Dr. Judy Illes, Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia and Director of the National Core for Neuroethics at UBC, as an adviser for the neuroethics thrust. This partnership between the CSNE’s neuroethics thrust and Dr. Illes’ Core is unique, pairing the conceptual neuroethics expertise of CSNE thrust leaders Dr. Sara Goering and Dr. Eran Klein with the empirical expertise of Dr. Illes at the Core. Through their joint efforts, the two neuroethics groups advance cutting edge neuroethics research while enriching academic and public understanding of the ethical dimensions of neuroscience and neural engineering.

In early October, the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) hosted its third event in the new Women’s Career Mentoring Series featuring Dr. Adrienne Fairhall. Dr. Fairhall is co-leader of the CSNE’s Computational Neuroscience Research Thrust and Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington. This lunch-time event brought together female students, faculty, and staff at the University of Washington. Since this month’s event directly followed the CSNE’s Annual Retreat, we were fortunate to also welcome some women from CSNE partner institution San Diego State University (SDSU).

At some point in your life you’ve probably experienced feelings of inadequacy. For example, you’re attending your first conference and are completely overwhelmed by all of the presentations and posters. The biggest thing on your mind is that you weren’t meant to be here, and the selection committee chose your research by mistake or because they were being nice. Instead of being proud of your accomplishments, you’re terrified that your “ruse” will be found out if you can’t answer questions the right way. For many individuals, especially females and minorities, the feelings of “Imposter Syndrome” are ever present in the back of their minds despite being incredibly successful in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Gaurav Mukherjee, UW PhD studentWhile applying to graduate schools and, specifically, to the University of Washington, Gaurav Mukherjee came across the website for the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. During his visit to Seattle, he spoke with CSNE Executive Director Eric Chudler, who connected him with a few graduate students.

He liked what he saw at the UW and, more specifically, at the Center. “The University of Washington was of interest to me because of the collaborative atmosphere that’s formed across disciplines,” he said. “CSNE was the first group that I found at the UW that brought this more into clear perspective.”

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