Mapping Out My Global Experiences

I recommend viewing the map on a full screen format, and you can do so by clicking the link here!

Traveling has always been something that I have enjoyed doing since I was very young. I love the thrills and the sense of adventure from meeting new people and seeing places that I have never been before! The other day I was experimenting with a web mapping application from the website ArcGIS. The program allowed me to highlight specific landmarks that displayed my travels throughout the years. I found this activity to be very fascinating and it became sort of a passion project for me. Seen above is the completed interactive web map of some of my greatest travelling experiences. The map is organized into sections to detail the different trips that I had taken, and each location, when clicked on, reveals more about my personal experiences there. Many of the landmarks have attached personal pictures of my family and I on these trips. Feel free to take a look and zoom in and out if needed. I really enjoyed putting this together, and I felt that this was another unique way for others to get to know more about my life and what I enjoy doing!

Connecting with Pre-Med Blog Sites

Blog-Map-Displaying-International-or-Worldwide-BloggingRecently, after surfing through the web, I have been interested in finding other blog sites that covered topics that I find beneficial and interesting. Attached to this post are found 3 blogs that really stood out to me for several reasons and interests. Each of them cover subjects that I personally find to be very enjoyable and informative.

As a pre-med student, building on my learning of various pre-med courses are imperative to my success in medical school preparation and understanding of the subjects themselves. In addition to such, building a personal learning network is beneficial to get great personal tips and advice and listen to stories of others who have had similar experiences as the ones who are reading them. For me, the blog site that really caught my attention was I found this site to be a great collection of facts and professional advice from a trained physician whose had quite a bit of experience in his field. Many of the articles were very informative regarding the medical school admission interview process, maintaining the undergraduate GPA, and MCAT study habits. In addition, the blogs are great perspectives on the details of what to expect prior to attending medical school.

The second blog site that I found to be quite helpful was This site is written by an undergraduate student from St. Lawrence University in New York. When reading through the posts, I found them to be very relatable and personal. The author gives some great tips on preparation efficiency and time management for studying for undergraduate pre-health courses and the MCAT, both tips that are extremely useful for me! The writings are relatively more casual, but the content is valued and clear nonetheless.

The last blog site that I felt would be beneficial in my learning network was www.get-into- This website offers excellent tips on almost all aspects of a pre-med’s academic life. I found the topics to be well organized in tabs, and the specific posts that relate to any specific subtopic that I may need is easily accessible. I even wrote a comment on her MCAT preparation article. Like the other two blogs, the posts are lengthy and detailed, and the author allows the readers to really understand where students need to focus most in order to be the best qualified applicant possible. Already being a medical school graduate, her accounts and tips are definitely something I will be reading into in the future along with the other 2 sites!

CXH6Y6 Doctor holding stethoscope

Observing Neural Synaptic Responses to Pain

During my Freshman Year at the Texas Academy of Math and Science, I took an introductory Biology course in Animal and Plant Physiology. As part of the laboratory section of the class, I, along with two of my research partners, Prashanth Ganesh and Jonathan Huang, was tasked to take on a research project involving an important field of study on one of the human body systems. Being a student interested in the studies on the Brain and Nervous System, I had suggested to focus our group’s research interests on the nervous system’s response and feedback mechanisms to pain stimuli. Fortunately, my group members were interested in the idea as well.

Recently, I had organized a prezi detailing the the mechanisms in how the nervous system interacts with external pain stimuli and responds with appropriate signalling. In the prezi, I organized the flow of the presentation in such a way that I could first clearly define what “Pain” represents in the perception of the human mind. In order to explain the nervous system’s mechanism to responding to this “feeling”, I first focused on the foundation of what constitutes the nerves themselves. Nerve Cells (Neurons) are constituted by axons, dendrites, axon hillocks, and cell bodies. Each part of the neuron is crucial in directing electrical signals from one neuron to another in order for the brain to gain input, process the information, and carry out the respective actions. By familiarizing the audience with these concepts and terminology, the biological processes in which the neurons communicate through signal transmission can be understood.

I then described the classifications of the different types of neurons that exist within the body. With regards to the interest of pain, I focused primarily on a type of sensory neurons known as nociceptors. These neurons acted as “response” cells for particular stimuli that were considered potentially harmful and/or painful to the human body. What my partners and I found quite interesting while we were researching the subject of nociceptors was that these particular neural cells’ activity could be regulated based on specific types of pain stimuli consisting of temperature variations (extreme heat or cold conditions affecting the extremities of the body), piercings or sharp breaks of the skin’s surface, or the presence of chemicals. Depending upon the severity and type of stimuli, the amount of activated nociceptors could vary from person to person, only testifying to the extreme complexity that the nervous system possesses.

From these facts, I continued the presentation to highlight the process of presynaptic and postsynaptic terminal interaction between  multiple neurons and the functions of neurotransmitters. This led into the topic of the molecular biology of neuron response signalling through the processes of depolarization and the creation of action potentials. I elaborated on how the excess of Sodium (Na+) ions flow inside a membrane of a channel, thereby increasing the charge of the overall membrane potential. Electrical signals are generated and flow from one synaptic terminal to the next until repolarization occurs and potassium (K+) ions flow out of the membrane of the channels decreasing the positive charge of the potential.

To help illustrate the process of the nervous system mechanisms, I used several diagrams on the makeup of a neuron as well as video describing the processes in even further detail. All the media used in the presentation were accredited to the respective original sources.  Since the videos were made available for public use and viewing under Youtube, the content was assumed to be used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

To wrap up the information that my group and I had researched, I concluded with an article that we had found rather interesting and very relevant to future research on synaptic control to pain. The original article was appropriately accredited within the presentation. The research described is still being conducted to this day, and it is only a matter of time until we can reach valid results that can further our understanding of neural synaptic communication and responses to stimuli.

To View the prezi on the official website, click the link attached:

About Me

Hello, my name is Steven Jacob and I am a recent graduate from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS). I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in the Biological Sciences at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. I aspire to work in the medical field someday, and am actively striving to learn more about what it truly takes to work as a physician. I am very outgoing and sociable, and love public speaking, as well as volunteering. In addition, I strive to seek new volunteering opportunities, grow both personally and academically, learn new skills, and help my community the best way I can.

One of my passions in community work are Medical and Social Work volunteering. I have thoroughly enjoyed having many experiences throughout my high school and early undergraduate career. I have had the opportunity to be a part of many great organizations such as the TAMS Medical Society, Cook Children’s Summer Junior Volunteering Program, Christus St. Michael’s Junior Volunteering, The Good Samaritan Society, and most recently, The Austin College Pre-Health Society. Through these experiences, I was able to gain a better understanding of what drives many physicians and other healthcare professionals to work with their patients and ensure them the best experience that they can. Having the pleasure of interacting with many of these patients personally was another highlight that I appreciated.

In addition to volunteer work, I enjoy public speaking. During my time at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS), I was an active leader for the TAMS Medical Society.  It was through my experience there that I learned the importance and value of teamwork and open communication. Our organization operated with a board of executives, and each of us had a crucial part in running it. I was responsible particularly managing the budget and making sure all of our general assemblies, volunteer events (Cook Children’s Medical Center and Good Samaritan Denton Nursing Home), and fundraisers were operated within our budget. Collectively, we all had to communicate all of our goals that we had hoped to accomplish daily. As a member of both my High School’s student council and TAMS Ambassadors program, I learned the importance of representation. During my time in both organizations, I met notable alumni and many important figures from the board of education in Austin Texas. As a representative, I learned that I was not only representing myself, but my school, peers, and professors as well. My time in both organizations helped me develop professional communication skills. I continue to utilize these skills as a member of the Austin College Students Today Alumni Tomorrow organization as well as through my position as the Class Representative for the Austin College Pre-Health Society.

I find that participating in research to be extremely rewarding. As an undergraduate student at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, I worked as part of the research team over the course of the summer of 2014 as part of the TAMS Summer Research Scholarship Program. I had been worked under Dr. Guenter Gross and graduate student Jason Gibson on studying neurotoxicity of pancreatic cells and cellular stratification of neural cell culture at UNT’s Center of Network Neuroscience. There, I also learned about laboratory procedures that deal with handling cell culture and measuring action potential changes within a system. In addition, I studied various excitatory and inhibitory drug effects on the central and peripheral nervous system, preparation skills with handling neurons in cell culture and reading their respective signals with an oscilloscope, and programming techniques with a cell dispensing robot known as Precision 2000. Considering the amount of extensive topics covered, I attended  many demonstrations and lectures from my graduate student. My time there allowed me to learn more about the amount of work it takes to be apart of a competitive research experience. Working efficiently to meet deadlines, problem solving, and teamwork were among the many skills that I came to value from the research project itself.

Some of my other interests include ministry work, reading the bible, playing my electric guitar and traveling. I also love socializing with my friends. Occasionally, I enjoy a pickup game of Basketball or a good recreational run. Many of these activities help me to appreciate my life more. As an Indian American, I value visiting my relatives in India and connecting with my culture. My mother is from the state of Uttarakhand (Northern India), while my father is from the state of Tamil Nadu (Southern India). Because my heritage comes from opposite ends of the country, I have been able to witness two very different cultures (in music, language, clothing styles, food, etc.) My travels to India have opened my eyes to the vast diversity that constitutes the country as a whole.

India is just one of the many countries that I have visited over my lifetime. Others include various parts of Canada and Central Mexico, Dubai, London, and Frankfurt. Most recently, I traveled with a Medical Mission team to Guatemala. There, I traveled from Guatemala City to a small village known as Huehuetenango for one week. Under an Internal Medicine physician, I worked in a health clinic. My work included distributing and monitoring basic medication supplies, observing diagnoses of patients that visited, and spreading the message of Jesus Christ through witnessing. Working under the ministry was a true blessing, and allowed me to connect my passions of ministering, volunteering within the medical profession, and traveling into a memorable experience!

Over this January Term, I am taking a course on web design and electronic portfolio management. The primary reason I decided to do so was to educate myself on creating my own personal web hosting domain. As a result, I am now be able to share my thoughts, opinions, ideas, and experiences with the world around me and get connected to many others who share similar interests such as mine. As a current undergraduate student in this day and age, I feel that it is important to be able to express one’s own thoughts and become more aware of the experiences that make each person the way that he or she is.

If I could change one thing about the world, it would be for more people to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and learn what he means to the world. To me, nothing is more important than believing in what he did on the cross for me. Getting to know him and finding joy in my life through him makes me want to share that blessing with as many people as I can. Reflecting back on my life, If I could change one thing about myself, it would be to be more appreciative of all the experiences that I have had the opportunity to live through. I believe that all moments, whether grand or small are equally important in shaping the people that we grow up to be. It is sometimes easy to take these experiences for granted, but reflecting on the beauty of life that God has given us is something to think about and be thankful for.

In addition to the information provided, you will also be able to find me through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn simply by Googling me.  You can learn even more about me through the TAMS Medical Society Website as well as an old newspaper article of me from my younger years. The links to my social media contacts can be found below!

TAMS FunAashu