Mridula Nadamuni-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mridula Nadamuni

Senior, B.S in Biological Sciences

“The way that I explain CMU to everyone I meet is that CMU is an environment where everyone cares about you and your success.”

While attending high school in California, I was introduced to Carnegie Mellon University at a talk given by an admissions officer. The officer’s enthusiasm and emphasis on the ability to incorporate a variety of academic interests made CMU sound like the perfect fit for me, so I applied. Attending a Sleeping Bag weekend sealed the deal for me. I came away from the weekend with the sense that I wouldn’t be just another face in the crowd.

Even though my first impressions about the diversity of my courses and access to resources are correct, the most treasured aspect of my education at CMU is the way I have been taught. I gained both an understanding of biology and knowledge on how to think and solve problems. One aspect that surprised me was that biology involves a lot of creativity, especially the way a research problem is approached, the tools chosen and even the people brought in to help.

Working in the Urban laboratory helped open my eyes to the creative components of research. The ultimate goal of my current project within the lab is to build a better model of mouse behavior. Last summer, I worked in the lab as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Researcher to explore patterns of stimulus-elicited behavior. To this end, I created an iPod app that generates a continuous stimulus for the mouse through flashes on the screen and annoying sounds. Based upon how many times the mouse touches the iPod and where it touches, I hope to better understand mouse behavior that occurs when researchers are not looking at the cages.

Besides research, I am also involved in numerous other activities on campus. I am a member of CMU Shotokan and BioSAC (Biological Sciences Student Advisory Council). I serve as an academic counselor through Academic Development for other undergraduate students focusing on time management and procrastination. I am the CEO for the Triple Helix, which is an international undergraduate, student-run organization focusing on science policy journalism.

As part of the Health Professions Program (HPP), I was able to volunteer at Shadyside Hospital and participate in the Preceptorship program. Volunteering gave me a wonderful real world introduction into what medicine is really like and the Preceptorship program allowed me to shadow a medical resident. Both experiences were invaluable.

Next year, I plan to attend medical school.