Q&A with neuroscience student Emily Berry

Up close photo of Emily, wearing a Coug hat.

Neuroscience student Emily Berry came to WSU and the College of Veterinary Medicine to do something she has dreamed about since she was a little girl – study the brain. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Emily moved to Spokane with her family about three years ago and graduated from Ironwood High School in 2020. She plans to graduate in the fall of 2024 or spring of 2025.

How has WSU prepared you for your future?

WSU is one of the only schools in eastern Washington that offers a neuroscience program, which has been amazing for me. I’ve wanted to study the brain since I was a little girl (I’m nerdy like that) and being here gives me the opportunity to do that and to do it well. I’ve learned so much in my time here and having the chance to also work in a neuroscience lab makes it even more valuable.

What’s your favorite place at WSU?

I like sitting in the café section of the Bookie. The atmosphere is always pleasant there – there’s enough noise for me to work without it being distracting, and the music they play is usually really good. Plus, I can get a drink to reward myself for studying. 

What’s your favorite course you’ve taken at WSU?

My favorite course I’ve taken would have to be choir, any of the ones offered. I love my major, but choir is a great break from all the science, and it’s fun and stress-relieving. The people there are amazing — most of my college friends are singers I’ve met in choir. The choirs are taught by Dr. Matthew Myers and Dr. Dean Luethi, both of whom are excellent directors who are kind, fun, and talented.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? 

After graduation, I plan to go to optometry school and become an optometrist. It is a four-year degree. I may decide to specialize in neuro-optometry as well.

Do you work on campus or in a lab?

I work as a student ambassador in the Health Professions Student Center, where I help with various tasks for the advisors. This usually includes things like helping at the front desk, doing tabling events, and making flyers or brochures. I am also an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Michael Varnum’s lab, where I investigate visual effects of various types of damage in Zebrafish. 

What’s one of your favorite hobbies?

8) I really love to read. Mostly I read cheesy romance novels, but I also enjoy fantasy, dystopian, and realistic fiction. I spend a lot of my time reading when I’m not working or studying.

What’s a unique fun fact about you?

I won a pie-eating contest as a kid even though I was the smallest one there and probably the one least expected to win. It was all technique!