Jan 31, 2024 - News

Neuroscience nonprofit opens internship program

Illustration of a brain under a microscope.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A local nonprofit is aiming to grow the number of women in neuroscience.

Driving the news: The group, Women in Neuroscience, just opened applications for its next class of 25 interns.

  • So far, they've provided 80 paid internships to students.

Why it matters: Research shows that a health care workforce that reflects the community it serves can improve health outcomes and patients' perceptions of the care they receive.

  • Women account for at least half of neuroscience graduate students, but they comprise less than one-third of neuroscience faculty, according to 2022 research in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Details: Judi Nudelman, a retired IBM employee who moved to Austin in 1994, launched the nonprofit in 2018 after her husband — neuroscientist Harvey Nudelman — died of a rare neurological disease.

  • "I was his care partner for five years," she told Axios. "After establishing it after his death, I have thought often: 'What a shame one waits for tragedy to set up an organization like this.'"
  • Nudelman launched Women in Neuroscience in Austin with the mission of building a diverse community of young women in neuroscience and neurology.

Zoom in: Women in Neuroscience interns now collaborate with scientists in the UT Department of Neuroscience and the Dell Medical School Department of Neurology.

  • Each intern will receive a $5,000 stipend and be assigned to a research or clinical lab for 10 weeks this summer.
  • Last summer's program received 75 applicants for 25 available spots, and roughly 44% of the group's interns have been first-generation college students.

The big picture: Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce but remain underrepresented — at roughly 27% — in science, technology, engineering and math fields, per U.S. Census Bureau data.

What's next: Applications are due March 1, and recipients will be announced the first week of April.

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