Feature Writing at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering
The Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering is a research center funded by the National Science Foundation, and its researchers work on technology and devices to help people heal, feel, and move again. I discovered this research center during a seminar in Bioengineering research seminar at UW, and I was immediately drawn to the center’s focus on interacting with end users and actively considering the ethical implications of their work.
Type of Project: Journalistic writing, social media updates, advancement stories
Duration: June 2015 - June 2016
• Conducted research and interview sources for articles on the CSNE website and Engage and Enable Blog that aligns with the National Science Foundation’s goals for this engineering research center.
• Edited, clarified, and proofread documents through conversation, Google Docs, and email correspondence.
• Interviewed engineers and students involved in cutting-edge neural engineering research and made their work accessible through writing.
writing news stories on neural engineering research:
As a writer for the Center, I wrote stories on cutting-edge research on brain-computer interface technology and the way that the Center is a leader in this field. In the process, I was able to interface with researchers, engineers, and ethicists and celebrate the work of people in the lab that were often behind-the scenes.
Ultimately, I am so glad that I contributed to the CSNE’s mission of making their work accessible to the public while considering my own values of diversity and inclusion to every role I took on.
Investigating how learning to use a brain-computer interface impacts connectivity in the whole brain
This research focused on recent research about changes in the brain associated with learning how to use a brain-computer interface (BCI), a device that interacts with the body’s nervous system and can potentially be used to restore function in people with severe motor disorders. This project explored how proficient use of BCIs can lead to changes in brain activity, and if changes due to learning how to use the BCI persist after the person is no longer actively engaged with the device.
Turning student neural engineering projects into viable industry products
To allow students to apply engineering principles from their coursework to independent projects, and explore the potential translation of these projects to industry, the CSNE facilitates a yearly course at the UW, titled Neural Engineering Tech Studio, where students are sorted into teams and are tasked with creating a product that addresses a current neural engineering problem.
The CSNE is committed to supporting diverse populations, including women, in their pursuit of STEM fields both inside and outside the classroom. The Center supports this goal by connecting current students with female professionals in the field through the Women's Career-Mentoring Lunch series. This event creates a space for women to chat, build community and make connections with mentors or role models in STEM fields.
When our communications director was out of town, I also updated the account's Twitter account to engage follows in content about the CSNE's mission, goals, and recent research developments: