Students gathered around monitors to look at the images being taken,
as Keith Schneider, associate professor of psychological and brain
sciences, pointed to parts of the brain.
“It’s pretty impressive to see your
brain for the first time,” he said, explaining that its structure varies
among individuals. “It’s always been there, but you’ve never seen it.
And everything you learn changes your brain in some way.”
One of the last days of Brain Camp took students to the College of
Health Sciences Human Performance Lab, where athletes are given a series
of baseline tests on various aspects of cognitive function. Those
results can then be used in the future to assess the effects of a
The session was taught by Tom Kaminski, professor of kinesiology and
applied physiology, who has been conducting research on head impacts in
soccer for 20 years.
Students tried out the various assessments, including tests to
evaluate their balance and gait. In one assessment, each walked
heel-to-toe along a line on the floor, turning and walking as quickly as
possible while their times were recorded. They then repeated the test
while spelling words backward or counting backward, measuring how those
mental efforts distracted them and slowed their walking.
In a person who’s had a concussion, they were told, those distracting effects are generally much more pronounced.
These kinds of demonstrations of research in action were especially
interesting to Kayla Aikins, a neuroscience student at the University of
Nevada at Reno who has conducted undergraduate research on visual
“I’m pre-med, so I especially enjoyed the clinical sessions” at Brain
Camp, Aikins said. “The speakers have all been fantastic, and I’ve seen
a lot of different aspects of research.”
For Aaron Halvorsen of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the UD
program helped him learn more about the field of neuroscience, as he
explores different possibilities for graduate school.
“My school doesn’t have a neuroscience major, so I feel like this has
really helped me learn more about my options,” he said. “It was also
great to learn what’s new in the field.”
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Evan Krape