SMRI was one of the biggest things I emphasized in my college apps. PCR and gel electrophoresis were abstract concepts I learned through cartoonish diagrams in class. But watching John and Katherine's presentation in the NYU lecture room, I knew that participating in SMRI would bring these intangible concepts fully alive. I also wanted to participate because I was fascinated by biology, particularly neuroscience, ever since reading Gifted Hands by Ben Carson in the fifth grade (he was only a neurosurgeon back then.....) I didn't know what to expect from the program, but the lectures reinforced the concepts I was simultaneously learning in biology class and the lab work taught me a host of graduate-level biology concepts like immunohistochemistry. But what was more valuable than anything were the relationships I made with the post-docs, with the PhD students, and most importantly with my mentor Dan. Beyond the role of lab mentor, he was life coach and research-paper-downloader (don't tell anyone though). Go Polleux Lab! I researched the structural plasticity of the axon initial segment (AIS) in response to hyperexcitability, which I triggered through knockout of a gene called LKB1.