My name is Chris. I am in my third year of study in the Bachelor of Applied Science – Psychology program at the University of Guelph-Humber. Prior to beginning this program in Fall of 2016, I completed my Social Service Worker Diploma at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, where in addition to my core courses, I explored areas such as Psychology, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology and Community Mental Health. It was through the exposure to these other courses that I grew an interest in Psychology and decided I would like to explore it further. It was this interest and curiosity, specifically in psychological research, that has led me to where I am today. In 2017 I obtained my TCPS/2 CORE Certification in Research Ethics and I continue to take courses that will educate me further on research methods and best practices.
In 2017, as part of my core courses for the program, I was required to take a class in Neuroscience. I was not sure how well I would do at it, as I had never explored this area, but knew that it was going to be very detailed and utilize diagrams to illustrate concepts—which posed a bit of a challenge as I am totally blind. As I progressed through the material, primarily using sound and touch to guide my learning, I realized that I was quite interested in what was being presented and chose to pursue further knowledge in the field.
While my classmates were reading charts and looking at diagrams of the human brain, neurons, and the systems of the human body, I was learning these concepts through tactile models of a neuron, as well as a model of a human brain that could be broken down into many pieces. Additionally, one class activity had me making models of a neuron out of candy. I had learned that the University at one point was enquiring about getting a human brain that was donated to science, but for some time, I did not hear anymore information around this.
One day during a lecture, it was announced that the brain was being made available for observation. When the time came, my professor approached me and asked me if I wanted to hold it…. I was excited to do it, but at the same time was not sure because this was a new experience for me, and I was unaware of what was being placed into my hand once that glove went on. But, I did it, it was one of the most interesting experiences I have had as a person who is blind. While I observed with my finger, moving around to study the shape, texture and tactile differences, my classmates stood around and observed visually.
I would like to thank Doctor Wintink for giving me the opportunity to take part in this podcast series and allowing me to build on my experience and skills as well as learn new ones. I look forward to working with the team and the journey in store for us.