Undergraduate Program of the Year
Baldwin Wallace University
The Baldwin Wallace Neuroscience Program began as a minor in 1993, and the Neuroscience Major was instituted in 2000. Neuroscience students graduate with two majors (Neuroscience and Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology). With over 70 students, Neuroscience is now the fastest growing major at the University. The curriculum is research-intensive and all students are required to produce an empirically based senior thesis.
Baldwin Wallace University developed a 3-step peer mentoring system that encourages their students to collaborate and learn from, not only faculty, but each other. The Peer Mentoring system works with the University’s curriculum, work in faculty labs, and students’ Senior Thesis. When their students were anonymously surveyed about the effectiveness of the Peer Mentoring initiative, all students surveyed indicated that they “strongly agreed” with the statement that “supervision/training was appropriate and of high quality” and 100 percent of their peer mentors “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with statements indicating that their “peer mentorship was excellent” and “helped them gain confidence” and “allowed them to be more successful in their research.”
Graduate Program of the Year
The Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University is an interdisciplinary and transinstitutional program administered through the Vanderbilt Brain Institute (VBI). Founded in 1999, the Neuroscience Graduate Program has grown into one of the premier biomedical graduate programs at Vanderbilt and in the nation. The program is currently home to 81 students, with a core mission to prepare the next generation of leaders in the neurosciences. Trainees from the program typically go on to do postdoctoral fellowships in the best laboratories across the world, and many have now transitioned into faculty positions at premier academic institutions.
Brain Matters is a series of educational, interactive exhibits that resides at One Hundred Oaks in Nashville, a repurposed shopping mall that features mixed-us retail and clinical space and that houses many of Vanderbilt’s community clinics. Brain Matters was developed as a partnership between the Vanderbilt/NIMH Silvio O. Conte Center for Neuroscience Research and the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, and was funded through an ARRA supplement to the Conte Center grant. The focus of the supplement was to develop educational materials to expand the Conte Center’s outreach mission, and has resulted in a set of state-of-the-art interactive exhibits that provide information on the brain, brain science, mental health, and mental illness.