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Brandon Deatherage, a junior health sciences major at Barrett Honors College downtown Phoenix, has brought focus to his studies and found his career path through an internship at Barrow Neurological Institute.
Last spring, he began interning as a research assistant in a neuropsychology lab located at the institute not far from the Arizona State University downtown Phoenix campus. The lab uses a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging to observe and measure brain activity and blood flow during cognitive tasks. The data has implications for understanding and treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and autism.
Deatherage found the opportunity after completing an honors contract with Dr. Michael McBeath, a faculty member at ASU.
“I mentioned that I was debating between going into medicine, research, or maybe both, so he was kind enough to refer me to an opportunity at Barrow to help me figure things out,” Deatherage said, adding that work in the lab has helped solidify his goal of pursuing a career in medicine. Being an honors student and establishing a working relationship with his professor helped give him a leg up in getting the internship. He continued the internship through the summer, working in the lab with Dr. Leslie Baxter, a neuropsychologist and principle investigator, and Dr. Blair Braden, a post-doctoral fellow.
Deatherage plans to apply for medical school in spring 2016. He is debating whether to pursue an M.D. or M.D/PhD. program in clinical neuroscience. “However, I feel that I am destined to have a career that benefits others more than myself. That is what will give me true satisfaction,” he said.
Deatherage said that being in Barrett also has presented other benefits.
“My honors experience has been great thus far. Some of my best memories in college have come from time spent in the honors biology sections I took as a freshman. We would go on hikes with our professor and see firsthand what we were learning,” he said.
“Barrett has a great residential life. It is a tight-knit community that is comforting to have your first year of college. You are provided with ample resources to succeed, no matter what major you are studying, whether it be the Honors Listserv sent out every day with internship and research opportunities, free printing, advising, and of course, a better dining hall,” he said.