Neuroscience Scholars’ experience ‘opens new doors’ for college students

Neuroscience Scholars’ experience ‘opens new doors’ for college students

August 1, 2018

  • This year's Neuroscience Scholars are Camden Bole, Haidyn Bulen, Christopher Bruske, Marianne Cayer, Arianna Lew, Weixi Li, Courtney Nelson, Megan Ringo, Shiv Shah, Fayssal Stipho (not pictured) and Darya Tehranchi. 

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August 1, 2018

While many college students relish summer time off from their classes, 11 budding scientists honed their research skills under the mentorship of talented researchers and scientists during an intensive eight-week Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars training program, held at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and the Biodesign Institute. 

The Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars is a paid program open to top-achieving college undergraduate and graduate science students. Scholars work full time on a research project with a Banner Research or ASU Biodesign scientist to unlock medical and scientific mysteries in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, in a lab setting in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Since 2001, the program has seen more than 250 summer interns, and it has expanded to 77 different high schools and colleges in 18 states, said Thomas G. Beach, M.D., Ph.D. and director of the Brain and Body Donation Program at Banner Sun Health Research Institute. Students have gone on to become technicians, doctors, scientists and physician’s assistants. 

“We’re attracting smart and talented students,” Beach said. “It’s a great way to get your career started.”

The 2018 summer program recently wrapped up, and students shared their summer lab experiences during a closing symposium at the Biodesign Institute. 

ASU student Haidyn Bulen presented her research on sex hormone deprivation in rats and how it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. “I’ve had the time of my life this summer,” Bulen said. 

Another Neuroscience Scholar from ASU, Arianna Lew, said “interacting with Ph.D. students was inspiring to me.  The experience has opened new doors, and I’m forever grateful,” she said. It’s been wonderful “working with people who have the commitment to collaborate for that end goal.”

Originally from Ripon College from Wisconsin, Megan Ringo immediately jumped at the chance to experience living in Phoenix for the summer. As part of the Banner Research track, Ringo  enjoyed working with a 92-year-old nurse. Ringo; was also the recipient of a Women Inspiring Scientific Progress scholarship at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.

“It’ll go down as one of my favorite summers,” she said. “It’s great experience to have when I apply for a master’s program.”

Program alumna from the 2016 class, Savannah Farley came to the symposium to share her experience as well. She said that in her first day at the lab, she was already working with brain tissue. 

“The program has helped me become a more confident, budding and educated scientist. I’ve learned a lot of new techniques and methods,” she said. 

Farley, who is currently applying for physician’s assistant school, used her experience to learn more about the medical field. The program “taught me so much of what real science is like. You have to adapt, learn from errors and problem-solve to get accurate, reliable results,” she said. 

The scholars who worked in the Basic and Translational Neuroscience research track offered by ASU and Biodesign Institute were Haidyn Bulen, Arianna Lew, Shiv Shah and Darya Tehranchi from ASU, and Marianne Cayer from University of Arizona. Grand Canyon University’s Camden Bole and Courtney Nelson, UA’s Christopher Bruske and Fayssal Stipho, Georgia Institute of Techology’s Weixi Li, and Megan Ringo from Ripon College participated in the Banner research tracks.

The 2018 Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars program was generously sponsored by the Robert E. Schneider Foundation.

The Neuroscience Scholars Committee is seeking contributions to support the immersive training of student researchers. For more information, visit Contact or for more information.

Photo gallery

Neuroscience Scholars symposium - July 2018


Written by: Jean Clare Sarmiento