Meg Gonsalves

Meg Gonsalves
ScM in Behavioral & Social Health Sciences ’18


Undergraduate Institution: Brown University
Current Role: PhD Student, Brown University

Why did you choose the Brown University School of Public Health?
I wanted to be immersed in a challenging, diverse, accepting, and interdisciplinary environment that would prepare me to be the best researcher I could possibly be. The faculty are brilliant and encouraging and provide the one-on-one guidance and support needed to thrive in graduate school. With unprecedented access to clinical populations and the opportunity to publish in renowned journals, as a student you get the hands-on experience to truly "learn by doing."

What made Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
After researching other schools, I knew Brown would provide me with the highest quality education that was worth my money and time. The rigorous curriculum ensures that you will confidently walk through the Van Wickle Gates knowing research methodology, quantitative analysis, and scientific writing. Additionally, Brown ensures that you gain first-hand experience conducting research and working with the greater Providence community.

What did you enjoy most about your program?
What I loved most about the my program was working closely with the faculty. The classes were small and close-knit, and the professors were enthusiastic about the material and always went out of their way if you needed help (or wanted to learn more!). My favorite experience was working with my thesis adviser, Tara White, PhD, on groundbreaking public health research.

What was your academic area of interest and why?
I am highly interested in the intersection between behavioral neuroscience and public health. Neuroscience provides me with the understanding of why and how people act in which the way they do, and public health enables me to expand on that by positively intervening on those populations. I wish to be a clinical neuroscientist who studies populations with mental illness (such as antisocial personality disorder) and then creates neurological, behavioral, and cognitive interventions to improve their quality of life.

How did your program prepare you for your current position/next steps?
With my master's degree, I can now confidently analyze quantitative and qualitative data, design studies, and write for peer-reviewed journals. I currently have five papers submitted/in preparation-something that would not have been possible without Brown SPH! As I apply to neuroscience PhD programs, I feel confident going into interviews and discussing my skill sets and accomplishments. I also now have a crystal-clear view of what I want to do in the future.

What did you enjoy most about Providence?
Providence has a fun, lively community that hosts events year round. Regardless of the season, there is always something exciting to be a part of (e.g. Folk Festival, Pride Parade, Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, ice skating Downtown, or Water Fire!). With that, there is always a community to be a part of (inside or outside of Brown). For example, one of my fondest experiences was volunteering at the Providence Animal Rescue League.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Be confident and let your passions (inside and outside of the classroom) guide you. Also, don't be afraid of change-there is a possibility that you will fall in love with a different line of research or decide that another career path is best for you. The Brown community will encourage and foster such growth.

Learn more about Brown's ScM in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences