McNair Summer Research 2017 – Josh Nickels

On September 1, 2017, twelve McNair Scholars presented the findings of their summer McNair-funded research projects.  Each student had 15 minutes to give a power point presentation and to take questions from the audience.

This blog post features Josh Nickels, a senior majoring in Neuroscience.  It is the sixth in a series about our summer researchers.

Project Title:  Somatotopic Map of the Fingertip

Research Advisor:  Dr. Mounia Ziat, NMU Department of Psychology

LOL My Thesis Title:  If Your Subject Sits Still in an FMRI, It Probably Means They’re Dead

What is one thing  that you learned from this research experience?

I learned the value of online video resources for learning techniques of analysis.  I also learned that if you turn off the lights in your lab, no one kicks you out of the building.

What surprised you?

The software is very complex, and a lot goes into FMRI analysis.  I was naïve to the scope involved.

What frustrated you?

Trying to learn the software by working through their example data was astoundingly unhelpful and ultimately wasted many hours.

Tell us something about your research mentor.

Dr. Ziat is an understanding mentor, but she also knows how to push her students to achieve more.

If you had the project to do over, what would you do differently?

I would immediately scour the internet for the tutorials that became my best friends to save myself a lot of time.

Any advice for your fellow McNair Scholars who will do research next summer?

Look up information and tutorials constantly.  Put them on when you sleep and watch them over and over.  The better your technique and understanding, the less you’ll have to redo.

Does this research experience make you more or less likely to apply to graduate school?  Please explain.

I am extremely excited to apply to grad school and progress in a research career.

Is there anyone that you would like to publicly recognize/thank who helped you with your project?

I would like to thank Dr. Ziat and Prozac.





Any other thoughts to share?


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