Department of Biology
Lake Forest College
Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
An important part of being in any area of study is the culture within the major. Taking classes in a subject you enjoy is rewarding, but the difference between the good and the great majors on campus lies in the sense of community and the traditions of the major. There are many ways to foster this, such as small class sizes and academic clubs. These clubs allow students to get to know and work with other students and faculty in their major. Recently, Nu Rho Psi, the neuroscience academic club was founded.
Lake Forest College has always had a strong presence of academic clubs on campus. For many majors, there is an accompanying academic club. The neuroscience major was established at Lake Forest in 2010. Some very motivated students and faculty advisor wanted to create an academic club to highlight the academic achievements of Neuroscience students. Their opportunity came in the form of Nu Rho Psi, a national neuroscience honor society. The national Nu Rho Psi society was founded in 2006. Since then, thirty-five chapters at colleges across the country have been founded. In spring of 2011, the Lake Forest chapter was founded with the induction of nine neuroscience majors and two faculty members.
The purpose of Nu Rho Psi is to: encourage professional interest and excellence in scholarship, particularly in neuroscience award recognition to students who have achieved such excellence in scholarship; advance the discipline of neuroscience; encourage intellectual and social interaction between students, faculty, and professionals in neuroscience and related fields; promote career development in neuroscience and related fields; increase public awareness of neuroscience and its benefits for the individual and society; and encourage service to the community.
Nu Rho Psi has been very active on and around the Lake Forest campus. Since its foundation, Nu Rho Psi has partnered with Synapse, another neuroscience-focused group to put on Brain Awareness Week. Brain Awareness Week, usually in fall semester, which is dedicated to campus wide outreach. This week generally includes several lectures, panels, a movie, and an entertainment piece such as a mentalist. Throughout the semester, Nu Rho Psi also brings in lecturers, giving people interested in neuroscience the chance to attend themed talks. Nu Rho Psi has also began founding off-campus outreach and volunteer traditions. In the spring of 2012, Nu Rho Psi gathered Lake Forest Student volunteers from the club and other interested parties and organized an outreach day with a third grade class from the North Shore Country Day School. These students were privy to a day full of activities, including seeing and touching real human brains! Another off campus outreach organized by Nu Rho Psi includes a day of volunteering at a “Walk and Roll” benefitting people affected with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a rare central nervous system disorder.
Recently at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, California, the Lake Forest College Nu Rho Psi chapter was named “chapter of the year”. It is a great honor for such a young group to be chosen among the many more established groups that applied. This award is a testament to the hard work and good products of our Nu Rho Psi members.
Nu Rho Psi is a young group on campus, but the neuroscience department is growing rapidly and evolving traditions on campus, which translates into a richer culture within the neuroscience department.
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