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Posts Tagged ‘neuroscience’

Ryan Patterson is intrigued by the complexity of something that most of us take for granted…memory. With the assistance of a $3,000 Paladin Capital Group/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Ryan has begun his studies in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at John Hopkins University so that he may, one day, develop therapies or even a cure for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Like most young college students, Ryan left the comfort of home to settle into his new academic community. As a military dependent, Ryan notes that the transition to college “felt just like another move.”Since his father, Colonel Chris Patterson, has served with the United States Air Force for nearly 25 years, Ryan is very comfortable accepting challenges and adapting to change.

“As a military child, my education was rather choppy because of constantly moving and switching schools. Also, it’s very challenging to have to pick-up and leave friends and make new ones on a regular basis. That said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. These experiences have served me well while settling in at college,” says Ryan.

And settled in he has! Ryan has always had a deep passion for learning and his love of science led him to laboratory research. He explains, “In lab research, you are always on the forefront of scientific knowledge, constantly looking for, and discovering, things that no one else has ever seen before.” Ryan adds that his particular field “deals specifically with the individual neuron and the molecules it uses to communicate.”

during his research, Ryan captured this image of a neuron in the visual cortex of a mouse

Ryan expounds on his interest in memory research saying, “The exact details of where and how memory works are only just being understood. Somehow your brain can distinguish between all your memories even though they appear to be identical chemically and electrically. If we can understand these fine details of how memory works, we may be able to develop a cure for diseases like Alzheimer’s.”

As he enters the final semester of his freshman year, Ryan is applying for a study abroad at Oxford University. The challenging program only accepts a few students each year, but Ryan’s academic record speaks for itself and he is confident about his chances. “If I get accepted, I will spend a year at St. Anne’s College, a division of Oxford, studying Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysical Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Statistics,” says Ryan.

Although Ryan is most notably a scientifically minded, detail oriented student, he does step away from the lab on occasion. Music has always been an enjoyable outlet for Ryan and he reports, “Music continues to be a way to relax and relive stress when all of my academic work catches up with me.” He plays the bass clarinet in the Homewood campus Wind Ensemble and continues to hone his solo piano skills. Ryan also remains devoted to his Catholic faith and serves as a Eucharistic minister, lector, and alter server at Saint Phillips and James Church.

ThanksUSA wishes nothing but the best for Ryan on his continued academic journey. Perhaps, during our lifetime, his research will lead to better treatment for, or the eradication of, devastating neurological diseases. We close this week’s blog with a note of gratitude from Ryan:

“The Paladin Capital Group/ThanksUSA Scholarship provided part of the financial support that I needed to attend Johns Hopkins. This has allowed me to realize my dream of studying and researching at a world-class medical facility and has set me on the way to becoming a doctor.”

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Maria Margarita Barrameda received a $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship to begin her biology and neuroscience studies at the University of San Francisco. A few years ago, Maria began suffering from dermatological problems. While receiving treatment, she realized that she could help others with similar issues and decided to become a dermatologist.

Maria explains, “My lifetime goal has always been to have a career in the medical field, most preferably to become a doctor. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized that I want to pursue a career as a dermatologist. My attraction towards this occupation comes from my own experience as an individual with severe skin problems. During my freshman year in high school, I developed severe atopic dermatitis and alopecia and with the side effects of the medication that I was taking I had photosensitivity and lupus. I became determined to help others who have been handicapped by their skin disorder. Additionally, there are not enough dermatologists in military hospitals – especially overseas. In ten years, I see myself finally concluding medical school and beginning my career as a dermatologist in the military.”

Maria Margarita Barrameda

As Maria was graduating high school, her father was completing his military obligations. Now that the family is “civilian,” Maria reflects on growing up as a military child stating, “I will not deny that I had wished I had my father with me more while I was growing up. I cherish the moments when my father taught me how to ride a bike and play basketball. By encouraging me to be competitive in sports and academics, he influenced my outlook on life. All these things my dad tried to do in those short precious moments when he was not proudly serving our country. Looking back helps me realize that I am blessed and fortunate. The sacrifices that my father made, along with our family’s sacrifices, made us better individuals. Being a military child helped me see three different worlds: my family, our country and my own world. These three worlds are interconnected. I had to realize that one will not exist without the other two. This view has helped me get to where I am now. I am a goal oriented individual who cares about God, my family, my country and neighbors.”

Certainly Maria’s father taught her well. Though she has only just begun her studies, Maria is already a dedicated student involved in the University Scholars Program, the Tri-Beta Association, the Pre-AMSA club and the Neuroscience Club. In addition to all of her study-related activities, Maria makes time to be involved with the University Campus Ministry and Women’s Basketball Intramurals.

Maria is comfortably settled into college life and she wishes to express her gratitude to those who support ThanksUSA, especially the ESA Foundation: “I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship. I am very pleased to tell you that receiving this scholarship have not only contributed to my financial obligation to my school but also to my family’s financial situation. Having board and lodging, books and miscellaneous stipends to worry about, your help has alleviated most of these concerns. Now, I am well situated in my dorm, I have a year meal plan, a semester worth of bus passes, complete books and other school supplies.”

We’re so happy that you are embracing your education, Maria! ThanksUSA wishes you all the best in completing your undergrad studies and pursuing your dreams of becoming a dermatologist within the military healthcare system…our military personnel and their families deserve the best medical care.


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