Young Scholars Program-REACH: A must for every high schooler’s summer

Shreyas Bulusu (Henry M. Jackson High School, Mill Creek, WA)

During the summer of 2022, I participated in the Center for Neurotechnology Young Scholars Program-REACH (YSP-REACH) at the University of Washington. Because I was a freshman then, I had little background knowledge about the nervous system, how the brain functioned, or even what a neuron was. All I knew was that neuroscience was a relatively new field that has been expanding rapidly. Regardless, this was enough to convince me to apply for YSP-REACH. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made during my high school years. 

YSP-REACH provides insight about neuroscience to high school students in a variety of ways and has benefited me immensely. The foundational knowledge I received from the program not only helped me start summer productively but also allowed me to begin to appreciate neuroscience. The introduction to neuroscience was essential for me to know that this field was what I was meant to pursue. The program also gave me a head start on many activities, classes, and interactions that I would not have been possible otherwise.

For example, the YSP-REACH lecture about neuroethics continues to drive my efforts today. A few weeks after the program, I joined a non-profit organization as a Research and Development Manager for a team of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who wrote papers about neuroscience. I was able to lead the team on completing and publishing different articles, all embracing the idea of neuroethics. Without YSP-REACH, I would not have been able to have this unique experience.

High school students interested in neuroscience and neural engineering may find YSP-REACH extremely useful because it can “jumpstart” the start of their scientific medical career, as it did for me. YSP-REACH is for anyone who is curious about science, medicine, technology and engineering. Even if you realize you do not have an interest in neuroscience after the program, you will still have gained so much knowledge and connections that you can use to build a strong foundation for a future career.