Simone Evans is a first-year graduate student in the Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (PEMM).
Simone grew up in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, where she attended SUNY New Paltz College. As a math major transferring from a nearby community college, Simone was toying with the idea of pursuing pre-med at SUNY New Paltz. However, still enjoying math, she decided to double major figuring she'd drop whichever major no longer interested her over time. Simone never ended up dropping one and graduated this past spring as a double major in biochemistry and mathematics.
Her love of mathematics was evident. While at SUNY New Paltz, Simone was involved in the campus chapters of three national math clubs – the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), the Society for Industrial and Applied Math (SIAM), and the American Mathematical Society (AMS). As the president of AMS, Simone organized outreach events, such as the Algebra Bee and Integration Bee and brought in external speakers to give math talks.
When asked how she got into science in the first place, Simone responded, "I don't think I ever wasn't interested in science." Her mom was a chemist and some of her earliest memories are sitting on her mom's lap looking at the periodic table and being very proud that she could recite the first ten elements. As long as she could remember, she always wanted to be some kind of scientist, "First it was a doctor, then it was a paleontologist, then it was a mathematician, then it was back to a doctor." She knew she wanted to study science coming into college and she picked a wide variety of classes to figure out what she loved. Interested in natural science and math, she decided to combine both.
Simone research interests include computational neuroscience. In college, she was doing research in applied dynamics, specifically quadratic networks. In a field with a lot of applications, she wanted to get more involved in the applied science, rather than just the math, and neuroscience seemed like the perfect marriage of those two. Although she's expressed interest in learning and memory research, she's hoping to figure out more specifically what she'd like to do during her rotations. Her first rotation is with Dr. Matthijs van der Meer, a professor in the Department of Physiological and Brain Sciences who uses animal models and computational techniques to uncover the foundational brain mechanisms that underlie learning, memory, and decision-making.
Passionate about teaching, Simone was a high school math and chemistry tutor before starting college. She found even more teaching opportunities in college as a tutor and teaching assistant (TA) in the chemistry department for general and organic chemistry. Wanting to stay in academia to become a professor one day, she believes teaching is something she would like to pursue at Dartmouth.
The beautiful Dartmouth campus drew Simone to the school, "I'm from the mountains so I didn't want to move away from the mountains." Simone cited the small size of the program when asked why she chose PEMM, "At New Paltz I was used to having a very close working relationship with my professors, so I was hoping to find a program where I could continue to have a good working relationship with a [principal investigator] PI. There are lots of opportunities for collaboration." Excited to start the program as a self-proclaimed "research nerd," she's looking forward to being "in an environment with fellow research nerds."
Coming to the Upper Valley, she can't wait to spend time in the outdoors – hiking, kayaking, swimming, and improving her skiing abilities. She is also looking forward to exploring the town and trying all the new restaurants.
Outside of research, Simone's number one hobby is music. She has played piano since she was four and was in classical lessons for 12 years. Her professor tried to convince her to become a concert pianist saying, "You don't need science, you could play piano for a living."
Well Simone, we're really glad you stuck with science! Welcome to the Dartmouth Community!