Sparking a passion for neuroscience

Senior Jamica Jacobs is taking her experience with her mother’s Alzheimer’s and turning it into a research career path.

Jamica Jacobs

April 11, 2022

Before she was born, Jamica Jacobs’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease where brain cells and the connections between cells degenerate, eventually leading to the deterioration of memory and other important mental functions. Jacobs didn’t learn about the diagnosis until she was eight years old. Now a senior at the University of Missouri, Jacobs is taking her firsthand experiences with the disease and using them in her work as a biological sciences student.

Jacobs is one of many Center for Academic Success and Excellence (CASE) Diversity Scholars at MU. With CASE as a support system, Jacobs spent her time creating an impressive list of academic accomplishments and managed semesters with 18 credit hours.

“CASE has helped me every step of the way and has always been there to reach out and make sure that I’m doing my best,” Jacobs said. “They always made sure I had my resources and made sure I got what I needed to be successful.”

As a senior, Jacobs continues to excel within her academics. She is part of the McNair Scholars Program at MU, which prepares students for graduate study. She’s also conducting research on different receptor expressions in the stomach muscles in the Cancer borealis (Jonah crab) and was invited to present at the MKN McNair Heartland Research Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, last fall.

“After presenting, I got a standing ovation, and I made them fall in love with a crab,” Jacobs said. “It was an amazing community of different knowledge and intellect. I literally looked myself in the mirror to say, ‘I’m so proud of myself.’ It’s been such a tough road, but I’m getting to that point that I’ve dreamed of as a child.”

Jacobs is currently waiting to hear back from five graduate programs she interviewed for across the country. While she knows she wants to go to graduate school to study neuroscience, she doesn’t know where she’ll end up. Every part of Jacobs’ academic success will always be a gentle reminder that behind the scholarships, the academic community, the research and her publication —  the foundation of her story is about a daughter who loves her mom.

Read more from the Center for Academic Success and Excellence

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