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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Women’s Track & Field Athlete Isabel Garon Named Fulbright Scholar

Isabel Garon
Isabel Garon

CHICAGO – When University of Chicago student-athlete Isabel Garon began her collegiate studies, she thought of her computer science major as a set of tools that could be used to apply to a larger problem. She just hadn't yet found a problem she wanted to work on.

"I ended up switching to the neuroscience major after taking Mind as my Social Sciences sequence, and started doing research with the MacLean Lab in the fall of my second year," Garon said. "I cannot recommend the neuroscience major highly enough; it is a great community that has really defined my educational experience at UChicago."

Now in her senior year with graduation approaching, she will be taking her next step in the neuroscience field. Garon was recently selected as a Fulbright Scholar for the fellowship year of 2020-21.

A four-year member of the Maroon women's track & field squad, Garon is the most accomplished pole vaulter in program history. She holds the school records in the indoor pole vault (3.83 meters) and outdoor pole vault (3.65 meters), and twice qualified for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. Her fellow pole vaulters Sidney Lampert and Rachel TerHaar are also majoring in neuroscience.

"Starting in October, I will be doing research in computational neuroscience with the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science at TU Graz in Austria," said Garon. "The lab I will be working with has collaborated in the past with the MacLean Lab, where I work at UChicago, and I am really looking forward to learning from them. My research project will be investigating information processing in biologically-realistic neural networks."

Following her time abroad, Garon is considering pursuing a PhD in neuroscience. "I think that this program will be a great opportunity to experience working as a full-time researcher before I begin graduate studies," she said.