Get money, get paid, you know what I’m sayin‘?
I have officially survived one week of being a Research Technician in the Computational Psychiatry Unit of the Human Neuroimaging Lab of Baylor College of Medicine (because I’m pretty sure the more prepositional phrases I tag on, the cooler I sound.) I’ll be running subjects through giant supermagnets to get both structural images and time-sensitive maps of blood-flow during specific tasks. I could explain it in slightly less layman’s terms, but that’s really as far as my comprehension of the matter goes: these machines are ridiculously awesome and complicated and I’ve only scratched the surface of the iceberg that is ‘working knowledge of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.’ I know I’ve had lots of fun drunk conversations with my Electrical Engineering buds about how fMRI works on a more fundamental level, but for some reason, I never seem to retain much of the information from these discussions.
I can’t even describe how excited I am about this position. Call it the ‘honeymoon phase’ if you will (but let’s just say, I’d be getting A LOT more out of it if this were a honeymoon…) but so far the lab perfectly balances my need for empirical methods and interaction with people. Smash together qualitative Sociology, CogSci, and Neurobiology to find Social Neuroscience nested right in the middle. There is so much I can learn from working here, and the best part is, they’re willing to teach! My goals for the end of the year (/semester) will be to operate the scanner solo, pick up some MatLab and get a better grasp on what neuro-niche I’ll pursue for grad school. Last but not least… OMGBRAINZ!!! Um and also, I have hand-print access to get into certain rooms. So I’m basically a secret agent now.
Post script: Just so it’s out there: If you don’t know what the quote from my image macro is from, you really should catch up on your Juggalo-culture references. By watching this Insane Clown Posse vid (circa 1:50). Oh yeah, I went there.
Post-post script: I just realized I never posted my Psych animation presentation here, but it’s on my folio-blog. I taught myself Flash for this digital short, so be kind.