Unique Scientist: Alyssa Brunal-Brown

Time to meet Alyssa Brunal-Brown (She/her)! Alyssa is a neuroscientist working towards her PhD at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Virginia Tech!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a 4th year Translational Biology Medicine and Health PhD student studying electrical synapses and the development of seizures

What made you want to become a scientist?
When I was in high school, I took an anatomy and physiology class and an advanced placement (AP) psychology class and I fell in love with the brain and wanted to help fix diseases of the brain!

“It took time, but I finally learned just to believe in myself and not to care what others might think.”

Alyssa Brunal-Brown

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a first generation college student and doctoral student, female, Latina. I also enjoy traditionally feminine things like make-up, nail polish, and sparkles.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
Outside work I have a few hobbies: Aerial Silks (see photo) and Salsa/Bachata dancing!

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
The culture of glorifying overwork. Work smarter, not harder.

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
Going through school, I kept telling myself “yeah I’m doing well in my classes, but I’m still not smart enough to be a Neuroscientist” mainly because I didn’t fit the traditional stereotype. Finally, I realized that doesn’t matter, I was killing it. I was doing well in my classes and in my research. It took time, but I finally learned just to believe in myself and not to care what others might think.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I was accepted into the Society for Neuroscience’s Neuroscience Scholars Program as an associate and my institution wrote an article about it!


#WomenInSTEM, #LatinasInSTEM, #FirstGen

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