Roger Life Stories

Roger Life: Using their Brains, for Science Communication

By Anna Cohen
image of Josh Abston and Mackenzie Seccombe holding RWU's plasticized brain outside on our beautiful Bristol campus

RWU seniors Josh Abston and Mackenzie Seccombe are bringing neuroscience to elementary, middle, and high school classrooms in Rhode Island. The Brain Club founders created a science experiment to virtually share with participating schools this year for Brain Week Rhode Island, March 15-20. 

Science Communication in Action: “I learned how to take core ideas of neuroscience and make them understandable to a general audience," Abston said. "Science communication, understanding how to talk to different audiences and best explain your material, is way more important than I’d ever expected. I had never considered how complex it was and how detailed you have to be. Learning to do that, and do it well, is a whole skill within itself.” 

That Feeling When Exploring Unexplored Questions: “I took all of Professor Heimer-McGinn’s neuroscience classes, but I learned how to teach kids from Brain Club. It taught me a lot about myself," Seccombe said. "I went from wanting to be in a lab my entire life to now applying to Master's of Arts in Teaching programs, because I love teaching the kids so much. I love seeing the kids’ faces when they hold a brain, and they ask questions I would never think of.” 

Connections Through Science Helped During the Pandemic: “I love neuroscience and it’s a lot of fun to learn about and explore, but the friends and connections I’ve made through this program and our club on campus have been just as important," Abston said. "It’s been great not only meeting these people but working with them to do something fun and interesting. The pandemic made connection more difficult in general, but having this club as a base, something consistent I can always come back to, has been really helpful.”

The above trailer for a "BRAINY Adventure" lesson on sensory illusion demonstrated through two-point discrimination was created by Brain Club and made available to local schools. Schools selected the BRAINY Adventure of their choice from Brain Week Rhode Island's library of seven lessons.   

Abston, from Pawcatuck, Conn., is majoring in Applied Mathematics and minoring in Psychology. Seccombe, of Seymour, Conn., is majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. 

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