Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience (CNI-X) at Stanford University
The Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience (CNI-X) 2016 at Stanford University is an intensive, week-long, summer program generally following junior year in high school. Interns are introduced to the amazing breadth of research found in the Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Packed back-to-back are sessions and lab trips seeing how creativity is visualized with brain waves, miniature human brains are grown in dishes, apps are used to treat eating disorders, sleep is studied in a laboratory, exercise impacts well-being, and much more.
Interactive seminars with more than 25 Stanford faculty members introduce the students to the principles of neuroscience, neuropsychiatric diagnosis, neuropsychological testing, and psychiatric epidemiology. An adaptive and agile mind is encouraged as one session plumbs the intricacies of neuroscience, while the next involves diagnosis of a neuropsychiatric syndrome, and then the following inspires one to find "flow" in one's life. Much of the material is clearly at a collegiate or higher level.
Self-reflection and self-directed learning are emphasized with independent inquiry assignments asking for students to write about their learning objectives and career goals and to draft a curriculum vitae. Each student creates a project, often in a team, to self-express some lesson taken from the immersion that is verbally presented at a final capstone session for themselves and their families.
Students will learn and talk about a wide range of topics, some fascinating, some exciting, and some quite serious. Applicants should be aware that sensitive topics in psychiatry may arise, including but not limited to suicide, psychosis, addiction, child abuse, sexual assault, violence, and mental disorders, and should not apply if this will be problematic for them.
The experience is fast paced, intense, challenging, creative, and bonding for the students. Crucial to the immersion is the intelligence, creativity, and curiosity of the interns themselves. They all chose this intensive experience in clinical neuroscience, but their career aspirations are diverse, including law, sociology, medicine, psychology, engineering, business, and fine arts. In summary, one intern said, "It was so informative and educational! I was surprised at how much we had access to...and how encouraging [the professors] were. It was my privilege to meet them and they treated me with so much respect and understanding."