PiN-Sponsered Activities

Underrepresented Students in Neuroscience.  USN seeks to provide community support for students who are underrepresented minorities or who come from underrepresented/non-academic backgrounds.  By providing strong peer support and faculty mentorship, USN hopes to combat actively the “imposter syndrome.”  USN additionally seeks to help students strengthen academic backgrounds that might be weak in a particular area by helping such students find tutors or study groups.


Women in Neuroscience Women in Neuroscience  (“WIN”) was formed nearly two decades ago, when women struggled to move into academic positions.  The original purpose of the group was to give students a private place to discuss issues such as work-life balance, how to deal with unconscious bias, etc.  While these topics are still regularly discussed, the group has expanded its focus and has welcomed male students to attend its functions.

Student Mentor Program.  Each first-year student is assigned to a second-year student and to an older student.  The current students make themselves available to the new student to answer questions by email or phone; after the new student arrives on campus, they go out to dinner to show the student around Boston and to make them feel welcome.  The older students remain available to the first-year student throughout the year to answer any questions that might arise about courses or rotations.


Nocturnal Journal Club.  The student-run Nocturnal Journal Club meets biweekly throughout the academic year.  Students volunteer to present papers and give data talks.  Dinner and beer are provided.  NJC provides a friendly environment for students to hone their presentation skills and to focus their scientific interests.  The Program strongly encourages first-year students to attend; NJC is a great opportunity for new students to  get up in front of an audience of peers, and to become part of the PiN community.


Computational Methods Club.  We are a group of students and post-docs that meet biweekly to discuss and learn about methods in computational and theoretical neuroscience and machine learning.  Some topics we have cocvered recently are:  Control theory, compressed sensing, reinforcement learning, sparse coding and Bayesian networks.  We encourage attendance from those of all backgrounds.


Woods Hole Retreat.  Since 1984 PiN has held a student-run retreat at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.  The retreat is held the first weekend after Labor Day, at the very start of the academic year.  Students stay in cottages, prepare group meals, listen to talks by older students, and spend a great deal of time on the beach or visiting Martha’s Vineyard of Nantucket. 


Spring Symposium.  The biennial Spring Symposium is organized entirely by students.  Students select a topic that interests them and invite several scientists working in that field to present their research.  The symposium lasts for a full afternoon and is followed by a dinner attended by the speakers and a limited number of PiN students.  Recent Spring Symposia included “The Two-Body Problem:  Organismal Interactions that Shape Behavior” (2015); “Senses on the Edge:  Extraordinary Sensory Systems in the Animal Kingdom” (2013); and the 2011 Symposium on Translational Neuroscience.


Poster sessions.  PiN-affiliated labs hold three poster sessions each year.  All PiN labs are invited to present posters in an event held every September in the Courtyard Café of the Warren Alpert Building.  The labs affiliated with the Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital put on a poster session (also in September) for the incoming class of first-year students, but all PiN students are welcome to attend.  And, finally, the Center for Brain Science on the undergraduate campus in Cambridge puts on a poster session for the new students (again in September).

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