Cole ’17

Rhode Island Scholarship Fund

Cole 17, a biology and the neuroscience and behavior double major from Bristol, Rhode Island, says,  “Wesleyan stands for opportunity. This school enables its students to follow their passions, in any form they may come. The people and professors here are so compassionate and willing to help one another. I could not imagine going anywhere else. “ 

What is your major?
I am a double major in biology and neuroscience & behavior.

What classes are you taking this semester?
I am currently taking Techniques in Nonfiction, Developmental Biology, Medical Biochemistry, Physics Laboratory II, and I am also conducting research in a neurophysiology laboratory here at Wesleyan that focuses on epilepsy. 

Which class is your favorite this semester and why?
This is a hard one; I have experienced a large variety of classes this semester and have loved them all. Learning to create polished writing pieces in my Techniques of Nonfiction course has really helped me develop a critical eye for crisp narration—which I have LOVED. However, I can’t help but think my favorite class is not a “class” at all, but the research I am conducting for a course credit in Associate Professor of Biology Gloster Aaron’s laboratory. Here at Wesleyan, I have been afforded incredible opportunities to experience amazing work outside of the classroom, and my lab is just that. In our lab, I work hands on with mice to study the neurophysiology of epilepsy using their brains. It has been a very rigorous and demanding experience, but I could not be happier. My past three academic years have given me so much knowledge in the neuroscience field, but being able to use that information in real life applications is an astounding feeling. I honestly feel that I have achieved a sense of self-affirmation due to this lab; the lab has only reinforced my passions and intellectual drives. 

To date, what is your biggest academic achievement at Wesleyan?
Being able to balance varsity hockey, my class schedule (including 4.5 credits), being a teaching assistant for Behavioral Neurobiology, and participating in a research laboratory has been extremely challenging. So while my achievement isn't one particular event, I am most proud of my ability to manage stress and anxiety throughout the process. It is hard for students to stay focused and on track when they have so much on their plate, and I have felt that at moments. But overall, I am most proud that I have been able to navigate the tricky scheduling while keeping a smile on my face, and always feeling genuinely happy with what I was doing. 

To date, what has been your biggest academic challenge?
Like my biggest achievement, this relates to time distribution. Considering the number of activities I have in my schedule, it has been difficult to meet the demands of my academic, athletic and social commitments. Finding time to sleep has been difficult, but being stretched by something like this has really made me grow as a student and as a person.

What professor, class, program or experience has had the most impact on your Wesleyan career to this point?
Associate Professor Aaron has undoubtedly shaped my Wesleyan career. He is my advisor, professor and colleague. He is absolutely brilliant and has taught me what it means to carry one's self through the academic world in the correct manner. I look forward to the next three years I will be spending with him. 

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
Allbritton 3R is my favorite place on campus. This is an open meeting area on the top floor of the building with an amazing view. It overlooks the campus and provides a beautiful secluded working space. When the stress of hockey, school and life in general is too much, I love taking advantage of this space, especially the balcony.

Did you do anything interesting over a break relevant to your college experience?
I worked in a surgical research laboratory at Rhode Island Hospital. Working in this setting was both overwhelming and life changing. I was given large responsibilities and really got a feel for what it is like as a primary investigator. This experience has only served to cement my desire to enter the medical field.

Have you done an internship during your time at Wesleyan?
As I mentioned, working in a high-caliber research lab was amazing. I enjoyed it so much that I have decided to work in a lab here at Wesleyan and will be pursuing a master’s degree in neuroscience, participating in neurophysiology research. Working alongside brilliant people at the edge of what is known in medicine is a feeling that I will never forget, and hope to maintain.

What activities, jobs, sports and/or clubs do you participate in outside of class?
I am a teaching assistant for multiple courses, and I play for the varsity hockey team here at Wesleyan. Over the past three seasons, the 28 guys on my hockey team have become a second family to me. Early mornings, late nights and sweat-filled hours in the gym have let me build deep and meaningful relationships with all of my teammates. I consider all of them my close friends, and it is common for 10 of us to be together at any given time. I spend a majority of my time with them outside of the classroom, whether it be hanging out on Foss, the gym or a team activity, there is always plenty of fun to accompany my demanding schedule.

So far, what has been your most memorable experience at Wesleyan?
Every year, in the first month of school, the whole hockey team gets together for a team event. All of the returning players get to reunite, and the freshman are all introduced to the team. This event is always a lot of fun, and getting back together with a group of guys I consider family is a feeling that is hard to beat. It is one of the funniest team events of the whole year, and it always brings the players on the team together in a relaxed and fun way (which is sometimes a nice break from the intensity felt during the hockey season).

As you reflect on your time at Wesleyan so far, what does attending this university mean to you?
Wesleyan stands for opportunity. This school enables its students to follow their passions, in any form they may come. The students and professors here are so compassionate and willing to help one another. I could not imagine going anywhere else. This school has changed my life. It has showed me what I love, and has showed me how to experience every day. I am truly grateful for Wesleyan.