Olivia Anderson '16 to Speak at Girl Scouts Conference

January 29, 2016

Olivia Anderson

Olivia is speaking at the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts: Lead Your Way Leadership Conference hosted at Simmons on Sunday!

What are you studying at Simmons?

I'm a double major in neuroscience and behavior and women's and gender studies with a minor in chemistry

What drew you to your major?

When I first got to Simmons I wanted to major in everything. I narrowed it down to neuroscience because I’m fascinated by the brain and biology and how that translates to thought and behavior. I plan to apply to medical school next year and neuroscience afforded me the opportunity to take all of the prerequisites required. I pursued my major in women's and gender studies because I knew that as a health care professional I would need to know about the social and structural inequalities my patients face outside of their health. 

What's your favorite class you've taken so far?

Biopsychology with Professor Carey! I took her class as a sophomore and it completely confirmed that neuroscience was the right major for me. It was the most fun and fascinating class. She's an excellent professor.

What type of research are you doing at Simmons?

I've been doing research in Dr. Gray’s lab since sophomore year. The research focuses on beta amyloid, a protein that has been implicated in the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Currently, my research is looking at the role that antioxidants can play in preventing or alleviating Alzheimer’s. The past 2 years I have attended the annual Society for Neuroscience Conference with Gray Laboratory — and was fortunate enough to be listed as an author on 2 posters at the conference this year.

Tell us about your experience with the Girl Scouts. 

I became a Girl Scout in the 1st grade. I carried on through middle school and high school in the same troop and that troop became like a second family to me. I got my Silver Award in 8th grade by putting together a holiday event for all of the troops in my town to learn about different holidays. My Gold Award project involved the creation of a Women’s Health Club at my high school. I've been passionate about healthcare ever since.

What are some lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

There is nothing wrong with asking for help and working collaboratively. In my troop, whenever someone was working towards an award, their project became everyone’s project. It was really fun to take someone's idea and make sure it could happen. It was a great lesson in leadership for the project lead and a lesson in collaboration for everyone else.

What does your speech at the Girl Scout Conference focus on?

I hope the message that comes across is that the Girl Scouts taught me a lot of lessons that Simmons has complemented nicely. As a Girl Scout, I learned critical thinking and teamwork and other important life skills that I have built upon in my time at Simmons.

What made you choose Simmons?

I spent a weekend in Boston with my mom touring schools. I had toured one of the larger schools in the city and decided that I loved Boston but was nervous about leaving my small town. The last tour I went on was Simmons. The moment we stepped foot on the residence quad I fell in love with the campus. Simmons is the perfect mixture of being in the middle of the city, but having that home away from home quality. I went home with Simmons at the top of my list.

What's your Simmons moment?

Any time the students at Simmons come together to make things happen. The best events I've attended were entirely student-run and student-organized. I'm inspired every day by my classmates and I’m grateful that Simmons gives us the space to become the leaders we are. I was incredibly inspired by the powerful organizing by students of color this past semester and feel really lucky to stand with them in their continued efforts.