An MCC student, Julissa Gesumaria, was selected to participate in the Governor’s STEM Scholars research project, a program to encourage high school and college students to go into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. Ms. Gesumaria, a Biology major, is conducting research on the effects of specific physical activities on brainwaves and cognitive performance. She plans to go into the field of neurology.
“Studies suggest that bi-manual coordination, using two hands to complete a task simultaneously, can enhance brain activity,” said Carmo Ferreira, research coordinator at the College who is working with the students. “Using electroencephalography (EEG), she is testing the effects that mental activities have on the brain’s alpha wave frequencies before and after a test subject performs various two-handed physical activities such as dribbling two basketballs – one in each hand.”
Ms. Gesumaria recorded the brain waves of high school student Wendy Wu as she completed a puzzle in two minutes, dribbles two basketballs, and does other tasks.
Ms. Gesumaria is also testing how a subject performs at a mental activity after completing a more physical one. “We’re trying to have these students see the effect on the brain when we do these types of activities,” Ms. Ferreira said. “In fact, Julissa is also currently testing the effects that relaxation has on brain wave patterns. It’s fascinating and really helps the students learn about brain function.”