Complementing our research mission is a strong commitment to education and outreach. By leveraging our unique position at the undergraduate campus of Harvard University, we hope to maximize our center's impact on public awareness of neuroscience and mental health and nurture the next generation of mental health researchers.
Wintersession at Harvard College
Wintersession is a period between the fall and spring semesters at Harvard College, when undergraduates have a chance to engage in a wide range of enrichment activities. For the past several years we've offered a week-long highly interdisciplinary Wintersession workshop called "Perspectives on Mental Illness." In 2019 we understood that the title “Perspectives on Mental Health” may better incorporate what the program has to offer. This program is open to students of all concentrations and class years interested in neuroscience and mental health and generally has a cap of 25 students. This past year's workshop introduced students to: (1) basic science approaches to studying the developmental basis of mental health (via our Conte Center) and tours of the Arlotta and Lichtman labs, (2) clinical practice and research on mental health in humans (via field trip to McLean Hospital) including a tour of the Imaging Center and Brain Bank, (3) personal stories on mental health (via the National Alliance on Mental Health’s ‘In Our Own Voice’ speaker program), (4) a career panel to introduce the students to other possibilities outside standard research practices (via speakers with backgrounds that range from Deputy Directors, Executive Medical Directors, and Legal Advisers) and, (5) art and music therapy perspectives on treatment (via Tufts University and Lesley University’s expressive therapies faculty). A more in depth understanding of the program can be seen on this year’s program as well as pictures and information located here.
Poster Session on Neuroscience & Mental Health
Each spring semester, we work closely with the neurobiology concentration advisors to host an undergraduate poster session focused broadly on neuroscience and mental health. All Harvard College students conducting original research in neurobiology, psychology or related fields are invited to present their work. This includes basic, transitional or clinical neuroscience research, involving model organisms or human subjects. Thesis research as well as other projects can be shared. Poster printing costs are covered and prizes are awarded for the best posters. The poster session is usually part of a larger symposium featuring lectures by prominent neuroscientists from within and beyond our center. See all the latest poster presentations and winners of 2018 here.
RESEARCH IN CONTE LABS
There are a variety of avenues for undergraduates from Harvard or other colleges to become engaged in research in the Conte Center laboratories. We recommend that interested students read more about the labs by visiting the faculty and lab websites directly and then consider directly reaching out to the lab head and/or their administrative assistant about any potential openings. There are also a number of undergraduate research internship programs that can fund such work and provide additional enrichment opportunities, particularly in the summer. We recommend that students talk to their concentration advisers and visit their school's undergraduate fellowship office to learn more. Harvard College students should visit the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships website.