Graduation Spotlight: Sophie Kushman

Sophie Kushman Sophie Kushman

Majors: Neuroscience and Music

Q: Why did you choose this area of study?

A: I chose to study neuroscience because the brain is a miraculous yet mysterious organ that governs how humans behave. To understand how such a wide range of behaviors, both normal and pathological, could be produced by the neurons of the nervous system and electrochemical interactions was fascinating to a pre-med student like me. I chose to keep pursuing music because of the amazing joint program here with CIM that enabled me to take conservatory violin lessons and music theory, as well as work with members of the Cleveland Orchestra! The music major here at CWRU is very flexible and really improved my musicality, and allowed my passion for music to blossom.

Q: What are you plans after graduation?

A: I am planning to attend medical school after gaining more clinical experience by becoming a medical scribe for a year while volunteering. Currently, I am thinking of becoming a neurosurgeon or pediatric neurologist.

Q: Why did you choose CWRU?

A: I remember visiting CWRU during my senior year of high school and having a wonderful sample lesson with my violin professor and noticing how close Severance Hall was to the dorms (knowing I would attend several orchestra concerts there!). I then met with Dr. Horvath, the amazing director of the CWRU symphony orchestra (CUSCO), and we discussed the music that happens here and that made me feel like it would be a perfect match for my personal and career goals.

Q: What is your favorite memory of CWRU?

A: During my 3rd year, I was learning mostly virtually, however, halfway through I received an awesome opportunity to join a research lab. I remember the first time I walked into the lab and had a tour of the animal room, where I met my first sea slug (Aplysia californica). I was so curious about why neuroscientific research was being done on slugs, and how this was done. I accidentally picked one up out of the specially-designed tank the first time a little too harshly, so it released purple ink. I was startled, but then informed by my fellow student mentor that their nervous systems can be somewhat easily studied in adaptive or learning environments, so explaining the ink response actually won a scientist a Nobel prize.

Q: What is the one thing you’d like to share with incoming students?

A: Don’t be afraid to get out there and engage with your professors even in the first semester! That is a wonderful way to find research that you are passionate about and learn more about how you can do well at CWRU.