Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Mad Scientist
It seems that the wheels are turning and we are now in motion. My baby girl recently put her application in to graduate from college with her Master of Arts in Psychology. I knew this was coming, but to be honest, just not this soon. I really thought I would have one more year with her here at home. Or maybe I've been in denial. I knew she was looking at college's across the United States. I just told myself, it wasn't for right now. Later. It's been bitter sweet since she came home telling me she put in her application. Knowing that our time together is limited, I've relished every second we do spend together. I'm grateful she has chosen a college right here in California and will be less than two hours away.
[Because she doesn't want to be "googleable," I can't say her name. So I'll call her Sissy, which is what her three brothers, Charlie and I have always called her]. Sissy was accepted and is officially enrolled in a doctorate program at Palo Alto University this Fall. She is studying to become a clinical psychologist with a specialization in neuropsychology (called a clinical neuropsychologist). Clinical psychologists work with people who have different mental health disorders, like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even trauma. She will also work with different developmental disorders, like autism, and ADHD.
As a neuropsychologist, she will interpret how the brain influences our behavior. She will be looking at how the brain is affected in dementia, traumatic injury, and rare brain disorders working primarily between the medical doctor and the neurologist to decide what portion of the brain a problem is occurring. In her words, she says, "I basically get to be Sherlock Holmes. Sleuthing out anomalies in none other than the greatest mystery: the BRAIN!" But Sissy also says that neuropsychologists aren't necessarily always interested in "problems" in the brain. Somtimes, she'll also be looking at "disorders" that are caused by "too much of a good thing" going on in the brain. So interesting!
For the past two years, Sissy has been working on her Master's thesis at CSU Stanislaus. Like most Master's students, she had to conduct her own research. But, because of her interest in neuropsychology, her project was more difficult than normal. She finished all her required curriculum in her first year, and for the past year has been... a mad scientist. Really. She has an an entire research team that she oversees with her advisor, along with all the minute details of the study. Her research is focusing on detecting the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease using different neuropsychological assessments in an older adult population. The work she's started will continue on at CSUS for at least two more years, maybe even longer. She plans to stay 100% involved even when at PAU. Her passion for her study is fueled by the love she has for her grandma, who passed away from the Alzheimer's disease.
Oh my! How I love this girl!! I'm so proud of her!