Stacie Bloom on How a College Class Inspires PhD Neuroscience Career

In Chapter 2 of 19 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, Stacie Grossman Bloom answers "How Did One College Class Unexpectedly Springboard Your Science Career?" While studying psychology at the University of Delaware, she takes a graduate level course in a neuropsychology. She finds the small class forum and the neuroscience study of the brain align her studies to her interests. Grossman Bloom then thrives in the classroom, earning As and continuing to Georgetown for a PhD.

Stacie Grossman Bloom is the Executive Director at the NYU Neuroscience Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. Previously, she was VP and Scientific Director at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). She earned her PhD in Neurobiology and Cell Biology at Georgetown University and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University in New York City. She earned her BA in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Delaware.


Erik Michielsen: How did one college class unexpectedly springboard your science career?

Stacie Grossman Bloom: So, I went to college at University of Delaware. I was an okay student. It was nothing great. I was taking a lot of chemistry and psychology and I was in these giant, giant lecture halls with hundreds of other people. And, decided one day when I was looking through the course book for what to sign up for there was this really interesting looking class in Neuropsychology and I thought I’ll sign up for it. And when I went to the class it turned out to be a graduate level class and it was totally different from what I was used to. It was just in a small classroom. There were maybe twelve or fifteen students, and a professor. And I had never been in an environment like that before, that was so interactive. And it changed my life to be in a small class like that. I did amazingly well. I got A’s from then on. I started taking more of those graduate level classes, not because the content was so much more challenging but simply because the forum was a better fit for me. And, really helped foster my education. It was also that I had discovered at that time that neuroscience was what I was really interested in. So I think it was those two factors combined -- the forum and the content.

Erik Michielsen: What did you find most appealing about neuroscience?

Stacie Grossman Bloom: I was always just really interested in the brain and how the brain works and how your thoughts are controlled and why you need sleep and how you get addicted to drugs and why the brain fails. It was just a natural fit, I think, for my inquisitiveness. And, at the time neuroscience was really becoming a blossoming field. At the time that I was applying to graduate school most schools didn’t even have a neuroscience yet. Which now it’s 2011 that’s impossible to fathom. When I was going to Georgetown I ended up getting into the cell biology department because that was the closest thing they had to neuroscience. Now of course they have a full neuroscience program.