Behavioral Neuroscience Student Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Behavioral Neuroscience Student Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

The Department of Psychological Sciences is pleased to announce that behavioral neuroscience major, Zani Moore, was recently awarded a 2019 Fulbright Scholarship.

The Fulbright Scholar Program allows its scholars the opportunity to meet and collaborate with people from different countries. Currently, there are more than 155 countries around the world participating in the Fulbright program. Fulbright Scholars are described as “current and future leaders who are ready to share their knowledge and culture, who are open to new ideas and who are committed to international engagement.”

Moore was a member of the USD women’s cross country team and graduated this past weekend. Read what she had to say about receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, and find out where she’s running to next.

1.  What encouraged you to apply for the Fulbright Scholar program?

My family lived in Latvia during WWII and throughout their displacement they emphasized and pursued education--the Fulbright program gives me the opportunity to continue their teaching legacy in Latvia and learn about my family’s roots.

2.  What country will you be traveling to and what is your goal?

I’ll be traveling to C?sis, Latvia, to teach English to high school students. I want to teach applicable English skills to these young students so they have opportunity to grow in the modern world. I also want to coach track and cross country to bond with my community and invigorate a passion for running in all my students. I’ve learned more about myself through running than anything else and I hope to see my athletes grow together like my teammates and I have at USD.

3.  Why did you decide to major in behavioral neuroscience and how do you plan on using your degree in the program?

I’ve always been fascinated with psychology--how and why humans behave the way they do. But I’ve always been really interested in more cellular and molecular processes, so I liked how behavioral neuroscience teaches neurophysiological mechanisms behind these behaviors. I also think the material learned in both psych and neuro classes are applicable to jobs ranging from corporate business to medical positions. As a teacher it’s important to best understand how students acquire information and retain what they’ve learned so that we can optimize their educational growth. My neuroscience degree has taught me about the educational process from a psychological and scientific background, which I will apply to my teaching methods.

4.  What was the most impactful learning experience of your USD undergraduate career?

Working in Dr. Sitaraman’s lab not only taught me about the field of neuroscience, but also about my personal qualities--a huge part of our undergraduate education. Under Dr. Sitaraman, I learned about the nuances of neuroscience research, including the reworking of protocols, interpretation of data, and clinical relevance. But I also learned about how to navigate failure and unknown paths. Research requires strong commitment to a goal or question and it’s imperative that you be honest about your experiment’s relevance and results, even when you wish they were a certain way. I also developed a strong respect for all the researchers out there. I now know the struggle and hard work required to produce every article I read!

5.  What advice can you give to students applying for a Fulbright Scholarship?

Have purpose! Not just a grant purpose essay written to “wow” someone you’ve never met; instead, really know why you want to go to this certain place and impact the community in this way. I woke up every day dreaming about possibly being in Latvia and talked to as many people as I could to get a feel for what it might be like. The Fulbright program is all about cultural exchange, not academic excellence or how impressive you are on a resume. It is truly what you make of it and requires belief and effort from the Fulbrighter and the community. Everyone should approach the Fulbright program with the purpose of making an impact and be excited to embrace something new.

Zani Moore

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Jessica Lee

College of Arts and Sciences

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