Hi! I’m Kevin T. Chang.
I’m currently a student at Rice University, studying Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Evolutionary Biology. Scroll down if you’d like to get to know me!
What is Cognitive Science?
Cognitive science is a interdisciplinary field focused on the scientific study of the mind and how it works. As a whole, it mainly draws upon neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and computer science. Sounds like a lot? Well, it is- and students in this field tend to choose a specific subset to specialize in. I chose to specialize in neuroscience!
When I first entered Rice University, I started as a computer science major. I didn’t know much about science, but I knew I was a good programmer, even if I didn’t enjoy it that much. That lasted for about a week. I was still taking computer science classes, don’t get me wrong- but I found something else that for the first time really and genuinely interested me. I wanted to figure out how the brain worked.
During my first rotation in a lab as an inexperienced freshman, a graduate student told me something while we worked on a mouse. “Look,” he said, after a bit of a struggle during the surgery, “it’s the brain- the most beautiful organ.” And I agreed.
That sense of admiration for the brain has stayed with me since then, and has invariably found itself into many of my research projects.
What about Evolutionary Biology?
I like genetics! Don’t you think it’s cool how everything about you is coded in every single cell of your body, in triplets, with only four choices (A, T, G and C) to choose from? Within the large field of evolutionary biology, I focus mainly on genomics, phylogeny, and evolutionary genetics. My interest in this field is a major driver in a lot of my research, which you can find more about here if you’re interested!
Long term goals?
I want to help people. It sounds cliche, but that’s one of the biggest reasons why I want to become a physician, and definitely why I became an EMT.
Seeing and having patients, even through basic emergency medical care, was quite the experience. Even though it was stressful at times, and always hard, it was fulfilling work that I’m proud to have done. Being in a position to alleviate someone else’s pain and suffering- even just a little bit- really lets you know that it’s all worth it. For more on my EMS misadventures, check my blog– I hope to share some of my experiences with you all.
So, to sum it up: I love medicine, and I love science! That’s why my current goal is to become a physician scientist. To that end, I will soon be applying to MD/PhD dual programs.
MD/PhD programs are a long process. To my understanding, it usually consists of the standard two years of medical school where you earn your MD, before going onto the 4-6 year process of getting a PhD. After that, you still need to complete residency and maybe even a fellowship before going into clinical care! However, it’s one of my dreams to properly become a translational physician researcher- so while the road is long and sometime grueling, I plan to stay the course.
Outside of Lab and University
My life isn’t all just academics, research, and medicine. In my spare time, I love to write, draw (even if I’m not that good at it), and play basketball. I enjoy music too- I was previously trained in classical piano for around a decade before deciding to focus on university.
Want to know more? I’m on twitter!