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Ashlee Snyder ’04 (Gilbertsville, Pa.) spent 10 weeks in Atlanta this summer conducting neuroscience research through the Lafayette Alumni Research Network.

She worked with Jay Weiss ’62, professor of neuroscience at Emory University, as he and a colleague tested the effects of depression on the cognitive abilities of rats.

Although research on how depression affects the physical activities of rats is plentiful, not much explores the other effects of depression, and their experiment was the first of its kind, explains Snyder, who is pursuing a B.S. degree in neuroscience and a B.A. with a major in music.

“Dr. Weiss is one of the premier people in neuroscience,” says Snyder, who describes him as intelligent and easy to talk to. “He listens to my ideas. He’s such a nice guy.”

Snyder’s responsibilities included designing an apparatus to detect the effects of depression on rats. She located visual cues of the rats as they moved through a maze and calculated the time it took each rat to get through it as well as the path it took.

“I was an integral part of this research just as much as the professors,” she says.

Snyder is now conducting independent research in organic chemistry under the guidance of William Miles, associate professor of chemistry at Lafayette.

“There are not many schools where you can get two degrees in four years,” she says. “Lafayette has a lot of amazing things in a small college.”

Snyder is president of the Arts Society, a member of Lafayette Intercultural Networking Council, and a peer tutor in biology, chemistry, physics, and music. She sings in the College Choir, plays the piano, and is an original member of the mixed a cappella group Soulfege. She has acted in charity benefit productions by the Marquis Players student theater group, served on Residence Hall Council, and been an admissions student representative and orientation leader. She is an usher, proctor, and box office associate at the Williams Center for the Arts.

During the winter break, she spent three days shadowing intensive care surgeon Dr. Michael Weinstein ’90 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia through Lafayette’s alumni externship program.

Snyder notes that she has enjoyed interacting with all of the professors she has encountered at Lafayette.

“Lafayette knows how to pick professors who understand students,” she says. “I love the small environment here.”

Snyder plans to attend medical school to specialize in vocal disorders and rehabilitation.

“I have always been interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, working with singers and speakers,” she says. “I would diagnose common vocal disorders, perform surgery, and then instruct them in the proper ways to sing again. By getting a degree in music before becoming a doctor, I would be able to understand the singers on a more personal level.”

She is a graduate of Boyertown Area High School.

Categorized in: Academic News