Nathan Lorentz Receives Exceptional Academic Achievement Award

TOPICS: Alumni, Awards and Honors, Science and Technology, Student Success

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

This week, the Department of Psychological Sciences is recognizing Behavioral Neuroscience major Nathan Lorentz for receiving the Exceptional Academic Achievement Award.


Tell us a bit about yourself. 
I was born in Thailand and raised in Japan, the youngest of three children with two sisters. Our family was trilingual, with Thai, Japanese, and English used regularly and, sometimes, interchangeably which perhaps has helped me to be flexible and adaptable both inside and outside of the classroom. My main interests outside of school are karate and baseball, which have allowed me to travel and play competitively around the world, including Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, and Canada, and of course the US and Japan as well. I played a few years of professional and college baseball before coming to USD and focusing on sciences and pre-med courses. I have been especially passionate about working with homeless people in San Diego through Urban Street Angels, and working as an exercise guide for mentally and physically disabled people through the Arc of San Diego. These two endeavors have been especially interesting and rewarding for many reasons, not least of which are providing a break from studies and reaffirming my commitment to serving others.
How do you plan to use your degree after graduating?
I will be attending medical school this fall. While I am not necessarily aiming to specialize in neurology, although it remains a possibility, I believe my understanding of neuroscience will be of considerable help both in medical school and beyond in working with patients across all backgrounds.
Why did you decide to major in Behavioral Neuroscience?
Having been exposed to people from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances, including refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border, Japanese tsunami victims, youth in the Dominican Republic, and community members in Africa and South America, I consider myself, despite my science background, a humanist at heart. I wanted to supplement my scientific studies with a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of human behaviors and cognitive thought processes.
I actually had some difficulty deciding between Chemistry and Behavioral Neuroscience as majors. In addition to my interest in humanities, I also came to realize that I was going to be taking plenty of chemistry -- Gen Chem, OChem, and Biochem, and ultimately also doing research in OChem with Dr. Schellinger -- so that expanding my horizons in a direction tangentially based on chemistry but unique in its humanistic applications, would be valuable. 
Do you have any studying tips/suggestions for your fellow peers?  
My main advice, and something which has worked for me, is to study subjects for a deeper understanding than just what is simply required for the tests. It's important to focus on the core concepts and their interconnections rather than simply the basic facts and details. And finally, especially at a school such as USD with small class sizes, open office hours, and professors accessible to all students, I encourage everyone to take full advantage of the opportunities to build relationships with their professors. 
Psychological Sciences' departmental awardees will be recognized at the Psychological Sciences End of Year Celebration at 12:15 p.m., May 9, at Serra Hall 215.
Nathan Lorentz


Jessica Lee

College of Arts and Sciences

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