Meet Divya Ganugapati ’19 (CLAS), an OUR Peer Research Ambassador (PRA) majoring in Cognitive Science.
What is the focus of your research/creative activity?
My current research project investigates what aspects of language and phonetic properties of speech contribute to voice identification.
Why did you get involved in research/creative activity?
I got involved in research because I had a curiosity to learn more about the brain. My courses offered me a strong foundation in understanding neural mechanisms, but I had many questions that were unanswered, thus pointing to research as the mechanism to discover answers.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
As a freshman, you face a wide array of opportunities – socially and academically – don’t be afraid to take the time to explore and discover your passions. Being adaptable is the best way to find the major, research, internship, etc. that is best for you.
What do you enjoy the most about participating in research/creative activity?
My favorite part of research is that I create the questions. Unlike in classes, where the curriculum is predetermined in a syllabus, in research I design an entire experiment to follow my own interests. The feeling of intellectual freedom and creativity is something I had not experienced until conducting research.
What are your plans after graduation? How has involvement in research/creative activity influenced your plans and/or prepared you for the future?
Doing research in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Department actually altered my career interests by swaying me towards medicine. Analyzing fMRI scans, interacting with aphasia patients, and reading literature connecting speech to neurological disorders sparked an interest in neurology and cognitive/communicative disorders.