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Student Spotlight: Paulina Paras

Class of 2019

 Hometown: Larchmont, New York

Current Research: I am an undergraduate team member on a Bass Connections research team that has collaborated with a non-profit music therapy program called Voices Together. Voices Together caters to children with autism from elementary schools in local counties. We are currently evaluating the efficacy of a “Teacher Toolbox” program to train teachers how to implement music therapy strategies into their classrooms.

 My thoughts on neuroscience education: When my sister was born, the doctors said she would never be able to walk or talk. Now, not only can she walk— she dances; not only can she talk— she sings! I decided to pursue neuroscience at Duke with the hopes of exploring some of my inquiries regarding her fascinating development and the behavioral patterns I had observed in her and her peers growing up. The neuroscience major at Duke has allowed me to gain a solid foundation in the field, and as a sophomore, I am already able to take on classes, research, and travel opportunities that allow me to delve into my specific interests. 

 What jump-starts my brain: I have always been fascinated about the role of music in the cognitive and physical development of special needs children. My sister learned to sing before she could talk, and now as a seventeen year old, she spends hours at the piano daily. She knows the lyrics, artist, and album release date of almost any song. I have seen music have a strong impact on the development of her peers as well, and now working with Voices Together, I have had the opportunity to witness the efficacy of music therapy on the development of autistic individuals as well as all other people. Music is truly a powerful instrument on the brain!