The neuroscience community at UCLA is large and diverse. Due
to the many sub-disciplines within the neuroscience graduate program, many
students find themselves interacting primarily with the faculty and students
directly related to their field. By providing a forum where students and
faculty can come together and interact socially and scientifically, we hope to
engender a more interactive and collaborative graduate school experience. Our
hope is that this forum will provide additional opportunities for students to
develop skills necessary to become successful scientists, facilitate graduate
student involvement in broader neuroscience topics and contribute to a sense
of community within the neurosciences.
The forum can be a powerful tool for graduate students by giving them a
platform to practice public speaking and data presentation skills in front of
a broad neuroscience audience. Grad students can practice for presentations
such as their orals, mid-streams, defense, and posters, or, they can get
feedback on possible dissertation ideas or puzzling data. Students can benefit
by receiving feedback from a diverse audience which can provide a fresh
perspective on their work as well as helping in the packaging of papers for
publication in broad interest journals.
As student interests are diverse, the talks will cover a broad range of
research topics and will represent the exciting, cutting edge science that
UCLA labs are currently pursuing. Furthermore, the relaxed, collegial
atmosphere may encourage students to feel comfortable talking about and
becoming engaged in scientific topics outside of their primary field. Other
members of the neuroscience community can also benefit from attendance as they
will become informed of the active research of other labs at UCLA and play a
part in promoting community within the discipline.
Importantly, the forum can provide an environment where faculty, students
and members of the UCLA neuroscience community can get to know one another
scientifically and personally. Since the forum incorporates a social after the
talks, people can discuss science or just have some food and drink with pals.
In addition to the social benefits, this type of gathering also has the
potential to promote collaboration between labs and thereby build on the
strength of scientific diversity that the neuroscience program at UCLA
We have talked to many different people in developing this forum and think
that a semi-regular gathering can lay the groundwork for a more cohesive
neuroscience community here at UCLA. This forum can take advantage of the
strength of our large neuroscience community and ultimately improve the
overall quality of the program. We are excited about the forumís potential
and potential future directions (such as having invited speakers etc.) but
hope that you will contribute to the success of the forum by attending
regularly and contributing ideas to help improve it.