Unlocking Words

Abriella Stone ditched her chemistry beakers for aphasia patients.

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Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should devote yourself to it. Just ask Abriella Stone.

“I started pursuing chemistry at BU because it always came so naturally to me,” the junior says. “I felt an obligation because so many people don’t like it.”

“I was really thankful for that summer experience. Working one-on-one with people who need my help, that’s my calling.”

But she soon found herself filling the free spaces in her schedule with psychology classes. By sophomore year, Stone (CAS’14) was torn over which road to travel. To help her decide, she applied to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, which provides students with the chance to assist BU faculty with their research. Stone spent last summer at the aphasia lab at Sargent College, where she helped stroke- and head trauma-victims regain their language skills. Hands-on and personal, it was a huge departure from beakers and Bunsen burners.

She also saw patients run out of insurance funds or transportation options. So Stone and her faculty mentor helped develop an iPad app that replicates the therapy they’d been receiving. And she’s never looked back. “I really liked the clinical aspect and working not only for patients but on a team. It was rewarding to see the patients make progress because of something we produced.”