Dustine Reich

2020 Outstanding UDR Award Recipient
Neuroscience UDR

Throughout my two years as a Neuroscience Undergraduate Representative, I have had the pleasure of helping students from a variety of backgrounds, class years, and interests navigate their neuroscience careers at Brandeis. Whether this was through taking the time to sit with students and hear their concerns, mapping out plans for their studies, or continually extending myself as a resource both in person and through our events, serving as a UDR has meant being a peer mentor, resource, and representative for the Brandeis neuroscience community.

During these two years, I have helped maintain our UDR website, communicated regularly through our neuroscience listservs, and facilitated multiple events ranging from smaller scale programming to large collaborations with 60+ attendees. Two of our most recent and successful initiatives took place this year, both of which were panels focused on career opportunities for neuroscience majors. These collaborative events between the Neuroscience UDRs, Biology UDRs, and Brandeis Encourages Women in Science and Engineering (BeWiSE) drew a record number of attendees and were inspired by feedback from students for more resources focused on career paths.

Centering initiatives around feedback from students is a great place to start for those who are unsure how best to aid their department or are newly joining the UDR program. Take note of the questions your peers ask and the concerns they raise and find creative ways to address those needs. Whether this is through a pamphlet distributed to students, an event with an outside speaker, or a community-building hangout, you have the ability and support of the UDR community to accomplish something substantial and long lasting for your department.

So, as you move forward as a new or returning UDR, I challenge you to always be creative, diligent, and open-minded in your role. Being a UDR as been one of my most rewarding experiences at Brandeis, and I am confident that you too will feel the same.