A Real Brainiac
St. John always wanted to be a lawyer. She even went to a specialized high school, Brooklyn’s Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice. But as she was studying forensics, her true interest came into focus. “I found myself drawn to the question of why do people do what they do?” she says. “What is happening in the brain that causes anxiety and aggression and other emotions and behaviors?” Those questions led St. John into a neuroscience major with a specialty in biomedical research. Over the course of her collegiate career, she has studied the link between nutrition and epilepsy, aggression and activation of the ventromedial hypothalamus (an area of the brain), aging and memory, and binge drinking and anxiety.
As a first-generation college student, St. John says she has benefited from mentors and wants to pay that forward. She’s a teaching assistant for a neuroscience lab this semester and an active volunteer with America Reads; she tutors local elementary and high school students twice a week. She’s applying to graduate schools with her eye on a career at an institution like Lafayette, where research and mentorship go hand in hand.