Giving Banner
  cta: "#show-navobile",
  changeDOM: true
Mobile Menu Icon

Great Starts: Subash Lamichhane

From time to time, we like to showcase a new SNC grad who’s entered the workplace or grad school. Success stories like these are pretty common. In fact, 96 percent of our graduates are in jobs or grad school within a year of graduation – and most of them much sooner than that!

What led you to the field of neuroscience?
When I came to college, I didn’t necessarily know that I was going into neuroscience. I took general psychology in my first semester, and that’s when I learned that everything happening is a factor of the brain and the environment. I pivoted my research and interest from education psychology to brain science.

Since SNC doesn’t have a major in neuroscience, I was taking classes suggested by my graduate school program of interest, in general biology, physics, math, chemistry, psychology — all of which were available here.

I also knew to get into that program I needed to have research experience, because the program is considered highly competitive. If you had research experience, you were more likely to get in.

What kind of research experience did you pursue?
I approached Dr. David Bailey, divisional dean for natural sciences, since he has a neuroscience background. I asked if he had any spot in his lab to have a research experience. At the time it was full, but he suggested that if I wanted to do my own research, to use an invertebrate (like Daphnia, commonly known as water fleas). Dr. Carrie Kissman welcomed me in her lab to perform the research. I shared that I was interested in neuroscience and wanted to design a project to work on together; she said we could do that.

What were the initial steps of your research experience?
The research experience was definitely from scratch; there were basically no protocols. I had to read articles, figure out what, exactly, I wanted to do first and how I wanted to do it: the method, the procedure, the hypothesis, a timeslot to do the research, finding out if we had all the required equipment at St. Norbert ... and then, well, I needed funds (which meant I had to write proposals). That took quite a lot of time; between writing proposals and getting the funds, it took about two months.

Overall, it was a great learning experience with great support from all the faculty members and people I collaborated with, including Dr. Choudhury, my academic advisor, and Dr. Bailey, my biology professor. I was also very fortunate to have Dr. Kissman as my research advisor; she immediately took me under her wing as I approached her for mentorship. From the very beginning to the end of this research journey she was always by my side, promoting my personal growth as a student and professional growth as a researcher. I never felt like quitting it because of her presence.

How did your undergraduate research experience help prepare you for graduate school?
The moment of realization that I accomplished something out of this research was during the graduate school interviews. In the panel during the introduction, candidates were introducing themselves by saying they work at labs at big institutions, while I was introducing myself as, “I go to St. Norbert and I work with Daphnia.” That’s when I realized that all of the support from my mentors and professors at SNC — and the initiation of this research — made me a competitive enough candidate. I definitely think the research experience got me into graduate school.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
No! Four years of a college experience is all about exploration. In exploration, you learn ups and downs. You learn how to organize things, how to come up with the right method. It’s always hard until you do it.

Times have changed, especially in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) area. You need to have a general understanding of science and just be interested in science, because you can go any direction you want. You don’t have to be a declared major at SNC, and there’s great flexibility — especially if you’re going into STEM or medical school. If you want to learn, there’s so many people here to help that can direct you to the available resources, on campus or off. Just explore openly. You can be conclusive after you graduate, while you get more focused on your career or professional school.

Back to top arrow