Jasmine Forde was a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and graduated in 2016. She is currently a Research Analyst at Mathematica.

What is your current position like?

As a Research Analyst at Mathematica I work on a variety of education projects for federal agencies, state and local governments, and foundations to improve the quality of education. I really love my job because it is truly a like a “choose your own adventure”. I really enjoy the variety of projects and tasks that we are able to work on because there is never a day where we are doing the same thing. Sometimes you are on a project in a long-term role and get to see your piece of the project from start to finish and sometimes you are on a project  in a short-term role just to help with a certain task. We really have a lot of autonomy over what projects and tasks we are involved with and I feel like I am constantly learning.

Describe your career path.

After graduation I joined a cognitive neuroscience lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Allyson Mackey's The Changing Brain Lab, as a lab manager. I worked full-time for 3 years in this position and simultaneously worked on a Master’s degree part time at Penn in Education Policy. 

How did the CLA Neuroscience Program prepare you for your current position?

Through coursework and research opportunities in the CLA Neuroscience Program, I learned that I was really interested in research and learning about how the environment (both positive and negative aspects) impact the brain. This led me to my lab manager position where I became really interested in the role that education plays in development, which gave me a really interesting perspective during my M.S.Ed. in Education Policy. My knowledge about the brain and my neuroscience perspective has also given me a lot of background context to the education and child development projects that I work on.

What advice do you have for current students in the CLA neuroscience program?

I really recommend students getting involved in research experiences because I found all of my experiences really valuable, even if I did not end up pursuing a career in those fields. There are so many different and varied research opportunities at Temple and I think it is valuable to experience being able to apply what you are learning in the classroom in a research setting. Also, research experience is a great bonus for resumes no matter what you decide to do next.

What is something that you know now that you wish you knew as an undergraduate?

You don't need to have it all figured out by graduation. Just follow a path that seems interesting to you, even if it is not a path that you had originally thought of for yourself. Don't be afraid to shake things up and try a new path because the worse that could happen is that you learn what you don’t like!


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