Nicole Occidental, S’22

Nicole Occidental has a 4.0 GPA and is on track to receive her Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience in May with a minor in health, humanities, and society. Nicole says her favorite class—Writing to Heal—has influenced her future role as a physician-scientist and believes “that patients are more than just a bundle of cells to be studied and cured. It reminded me that we need to put the humanity back into medicine and research.” 

Her desire to bring humanity to medicine is evident in all that she does. As a founding member of the Health Humanities Advisory Board, Nicole helps students look at healthcare issues through a humanistic lens. It helps them think about how literature, ethics, history, art, and economics can influence a person’s access and view of the healthcare system.

Nicole is a peer programmer for Northeastern University Alliance of Civically Engaged Students (NU|ACES,) which recruits students to volunteer at local organizations to build their leadership skills while servicing the community. She is also a College of Science Peer Ambassador; NEURONS Peer Mentor; and President and Events Chair of Nu Rho Psi – NU’s chapter of the national neuroscience honors society.  

In addition to her focus on her courses, Nicole has participated in undergraduate research in Dr. Ziv Williams’ lab, where she designed, built, and implemented a novel behavioral paradigm studying inequality aversion, rank hierarchies, and mice cheating/theft. She’s also worked as a research assistant in the University’s Center for Cognitive and Brain Health and the Bernardo Sabatini Lab at Harvard Medical School.

Even with her many academic endeavors, Nicole has made time to give back at the University as a College of Science ambassador and note-taker at the Disability Resource Center. Nicole is also a tutor at Boston’s Peer Tutoring Center and a gastrointestinal department volunteer at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.

Much lauded for her outstanding academic performance, Nicole is a nominee for the Rhodes, Marshall, and Churchill Scholarships and has received several awards including the 2020 President’s Award for being in the top 10 of her graduating class.

The future looks bright for Nicole. She’s hoping for a Fulbright to study for a master’s in cognitive neuroscience at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “Given Nicole’s student leadership, commitment to service, and academic excellence,” says Dean Hazel Sive of the College of Science, “she is the clear choice to represent the College of Science through the Compass Awards.”

College of Science

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Given Nicole’s student leadership, commitment to service, and academic excellence, she is the clear choice to represent the College of Science through the Compass Awards.”

Dean Hazel Sive of the College of Science