Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

My first explicit encounter with the mind-body relationship was in high school when I attended a brain-body meditation workshop with my mother. Since childhood, my mother has regularly reminded me of the importance of positive thinking. “Words become planted seeds,” she says, referring to the power of thoughts to take root in the mind and shape the way we physically feel and behave. Growing up with this appreciation for the mind cultivated an early sensitivity to the mind-body connection. This awareness remained mostly instinctual – something I felt but did not understand – until college. At UC Berkeley, I became deeply interested in consciousness, linguistics, and sensorimotor development and used an interdisciplinary cognitive science approach to learn more about the mind. Later, working as a behavior therapist, I had the chance to observe how mind and body interact in children with autism by tracking how cognitive processes manifest through physical behavior. Although both experiences helped hone my interest in the mind-body connection, I yearned to deepen my knowledge and apply it in a clinical capacity. With a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy, I am able to achieve this skill set and also build relationships with faculty mentors and future colleagues who share similar aspirations. Having currently completed my first year of graduate school at the University of Southern California, I believe I have taken the initial steps toward these goals. It would be an honor to receive the Mometrix Graduate School Scholarship to support the remainder of my studies.

Linda from California
University of Southern California