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Sammy Weiss-Cowie '2014

The Davis Academy, Class of 2014
PhD Candidate at The University of Cambridge

My time at Davis provided me with the foundational skills that drive my work today: managing my time, being open to new ideas, taking responsibility for my own work, listening to others and treating them with respect. Davis gave me a love for learning that has followed through to today, motivating me to continue my studies in graduate school.

“After graduating from Davis and The Weber School, I went on to earn
my degrees in Neuroscience and Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (Korean), as well as a minor in Linguistics from Georgia Tech. In December 2021, I graduated and was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge where I will start my PhD in Cognition and Brain Sciences, studying how language is processed in the brain. I first became interested in neuroscience while self-studying the Korean language in high school. I began learning Korean as a hobby and quickly grew fascinated with the ways in which the language differed from those I knew, English and Hebrew. This curiosity led me to read about language acquisition and ultimately drove me to double major in neuroscience and Korean. More than anything, I feel driven by curiosity and a passion for empirical research.

As an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to work on several research projects in the Neuroscience and Linguistics departments. Such experiences introduced me to the research process from question formulation through journal article publication and taught me how satisfying it can be to explore unanswered questions. As I prepare to begin my PhD at Cambridge, I am excited to be immersed in an environment of open intellectual inquiry, one where I can share ideas with and learn from my peers and mentors. Over the years, I've been granted several intellectually formative experiences that would not have been possible if not for the support and trust given to me by my mentors despite my inexperience. Perhaps the most direct influence was my Hebrew education; differences between my experiences learning Hebrew and Korean are what originally drove me to my field of study. I would encourage future Davis graduates to explore a wide range of fields and to be unafraid of trying something even if it is unfamiliar or difficult. High school and college present a unique freedom to sample diverse topics, and you never know what experience might grow into a new passion. Neither neuroscience nor Korean were topics I ever expected to study when I was younger, yet through a series of minor, chance events they became a central part of my life.”

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