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Neuroscience Option Renews Spirit for Science Student

Student Kailey Stancombe describes the new neuroscience major at IUPUI as the perfect educational and career opportunity for her, even though she already is in her third year at the School of Science.

“I’m really passionate about the opportunities that neuroscience will offer me, and I feel like all my classwork this far has prepared me well for pursuing this degree,” she said of starting a new major as a junior.

Kailey learns more about becoming a psychology mentor.

The new Neuroscience Program at IUPUI is a rigorous program designed for high-ability students. Changing her major may add a semester or two to her time on campus, but Stancombe said she is “really excited to learn about this field that is growing really quickly.”

The Spencer, Ind., native became part of the inaugural class of undergraduate neuroscience students at IUPUI this fall. The newly launched program has been in development for several years.

Biology coursework first introduced Stancombe to the science behind neurons, what they do and how the brain functions with other biological systems. Neuroscience addresses the structure and function of the nervous system, with particular focus on the intersection between the brain and behavior.

“The field of neuroscience is expected to grow tremendously in Indiana and beyond in the next few years, and having this major available at the School of Science will be instrumental in IUPUI providing skilled employees to this rapidly changing sector,” said Steve Boehm, director of the Neuroscience Program.

Stancombe said the career opportunities in neuroscience played a large part in her decision to take on the new major. She plans to parlay her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience into a Ph.D. and possibly teach some day or conduct research. She has specific interests in addictions and the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

She credited advisors like Cindy Williams, director of Student Development in the Department of Psychology, for “taking the time to sit and talk with me and help figure things out” before she decided neuroscience best fit her career goals.

When not studying, Stancombe said enjoys being active in student and campus groups, which helped her make friends and network with like-minded students. She recently became president of Love Wins Service Organization, a student group dedicated to community service through events such as the America Cancer Society Relay for Life.

“IUPUI is full of all kinds of opportunities for people who want to get involved. I’ve really learned a lot since coming here,” she said.

Living near the downtown campus has been exciting, she said, especially when the Gen Con gaming convention comes to town. In addition to gaming, she also enjoys reading science fiction and making crafts.