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LANA GRASSER

Ph.D. Student in Neuroscience

Favorite Music:
I have a very diverse taste in music! I was raised on classic rock but I also love alternative music and rap; my favorite song is Mr. Brightside :)
Tell us something unusual about yourself - something that makes you special, unique and not a "typical" STEMinista:
While I can typically be found in the lab during the weekdays, most people don't know that I am a lover of watersports, lake life, and nature in general! On the weekends I can be found catching some air on my wakeboard or making new animal friends on nature trails. Getting outdoors not only keeps me active, it also connects me with so many great friends and allows me to relax and explore my environment in a new way.
Where are you from? Where were you born and/or raised?
I am from Sylvan Lake, MI, and have lived here all my life, except for a month studying theater in Philadelphia and my three years of undergrad at Michigan State in East Lansing
What are you doing/plan to do with your STEM degree?
I am planning on pursuing the study of complementary and alternative medicines (dance/movement therapy, art therapy, yoga, etc.) for the treatment of trauma/PTSD, chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. Through my research, I hope to one day open a community clinic that partners with neurologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists to provide behavioral and pharmacological care to disadvantaged community members, such as low SES individuals, refugees, and veterans. Finally, I hope to one day work for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, an NIH institute.
Tell us about one person in your childhood who had a great effect on your life?
My mother has had an all-around influence on my life. Not only did she raise me on science encyclopedias, daily dance and piano lessons, and family time, she also always told me that I could do whatever I set my mind to. She encouraged my love of science by taking me to every science center/museum around town and allowing me to practically destroy our kitchen with at-home science experiments. My mom never stopped believing me, and was my #1 cheerleader at every spelling bee, geography bee, dance recital, and sports game. She gave up so much to help put me through college to get my neuroscience degree, and I will be forever grateful to her.
Favorite Dessert:
It's such a hard one! In general, I love ice cream, frozen custard, and gelato, but if I am at a restaurant I am definitely ordering cheesecake or key lime pie.
What's the one thing you want to accomplish before the year 2025?
Before the year 2025, I aim to have my Ph.D. in translational neuroscience and be establishing a lab that studies complementary and alternative medicines using imaging as well as genomic analysis to investigate genetic correlates to predisposition for diseases and how behavioral treatments may be effective in those with higher genetic risk and vulnerability.
What has your job taught you?
My jobs working in multiple research labs have taught me how to collaborate with others both in person and virtually, as well as how to be both a leader and a follower, knowing when to switch back and forth between these roles to work effectively in a group. This work has also taught me how to recognize and most effectively use both my strengths and the strengths of others to our fullest. Finally, my job has taught me about friendship in the workplace, which is so valuable and important--I have made my best friends through my work.
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