During high school, Anne Alexander would never have believed she’d embark on a career in neuroscience because she was more interested in subjects like music.
“I was accepted to Temple as a music theory major, and then before the classes even started I switched into journalism because I enjoy writing, but then after the first semester I decided it really wasn’t for me and then I took a foundations of neuroscience class just to kind of explore my other options, and I was fascinated,” said Alexander, a senior neuroscience major.
After graduating, Alexander will be conducting research at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. She will be studying the pathology and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, by analyzing brain tissue in the preclinical stages of the disease. This research aims to learn more about the causes of Alzheimer’s to aid in its diagnosis and prevention.
“I think it’s really a unique experience because you get a lot of opportunities to always be learning and to potentially develop things that can be really beneficial for communities and the world around us,” Alexander said.
Alexander knew she wanted to conduct research related to the disease because of its high prevalence and mortality rate, she said.
“I wanted to make sure I could do something that was beneficial and like for not only my career and for my learning and my ability to learn, but also something that would be beneficial for the lab, and I could make a positive impact in the lab,” Alexander said.
Alexander’s family was not surprised by her major changes early on because she has always been willing and interested in trying new things.
“As soon as she had freedom to be able to do those kinds of things, whether it was, you know, getting a license or whether it was starting to work, you know, she’d always just took that on, head on, and dove right in,” said Robert Alexander, Alexander’s father.
Friends of Alexander, like Liana Hoffman, have also seen her work ethic and have been impressed by Alexander’s ability to balance her work and social life.
“I could go out with her and we would have fun, we would go to like a gala or something, and then the next day we’d both be in the library or the TECH Center for six hours doing work,” said Hoffman, a junior health professions major.
While at Temple, Alexander worked in the Howard Gittis Student Center as a building manager for two years. During her time working there, Alexander’s supervisor also noticed her work ethic and ability to adapt to situations she would face.
“I always say I’m not going to be the one to change the world but I supervise students because they are going to be the ones that change the world, and Anne I think moving forward in her career has the opportunity to really be a large person in the world,” said Rebecca Trotman, the associate director of Student Center operations.
Alexander is excited for the move to Boston and new opportunities her work at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center will provide her.
“I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to handle actual human brains because that’s not really something you get to do in college,” Alexander said.
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