Erin Simmons

Simmons, Erin

Growing up parented by two rocket scientists in Southern California, it was hard to deny that I was going to be surrounded by a strong influence of science. However, when I was born my dad retired from his career as a professional scientist—and with no small success either as he had worked on every Apollo mission since the 60s—to become a full-time househusband. He would read to me every night since before I could remember until I fell asleep. It was not long before I developed a passion for literature and sought to be able to read by myself. I was one of the only preschoolers in my class who knew how to read, but that never bothered me. At school I would go outside to play in the dirt and catch bugs. It wasn’t until I got home at the end of the day that I would sit and read books to my parents for hours.

For many years as a child I had made up my mind to go to UCLA so that I could always be close to my dad. Then plans changed. My father died at the beginning of my junior year in high school—a pivotal point in the decision process of my academic career. When deciding where to apply I remembered back to a time when my dad advised me to go to the East Coast to go to school. Having grown up in Weymouth, MA right outside of Boston I knew that he was advising me based on his own experience. It was after thinking back to this time that I decided that I wanted to attend Boston University.

But what to study when I got there? That was a wholly different matter entirely. I knew that my natural abilities lay in the sciences and I felt strongly inclined to medicine in terms of future professional ambition. The study of the brain being a particularly fond area of science for me, I decided to study Neuroscience. And yet even being a Neuroscience major I felt something was lacking from my studies. I decided to follow my passion and major in English as well with no professional ambition in mind, solely out of my love and respect for literature. It isn’t very often that a person gets to pursue both a passion and a feasible career opportunity during his/her college career, especially if they happen to be two completely different areas of study.

Currently a senior at Boston University both my studies in Neuroscience and English have afforded me so many opportunities—and mostly in the ways that they relate to one another. Many may not consider the sciences and humanities to be very closely related but I think that without one of these subjects I would not have succeeded so well in the other.  The sciences require many hundreds of pages of dense reading and my studies in English have given me the skills not only to read and think analytically and critically, but also to do so efficiently. So many times my cohorts in the sciences struggle with their writing, the few times it is assigned. During these times I could not be prouder to be an English major at Boston University because it has allowed me to develop a strong personal writing style that is uniquely creative, but also speaks to the scientific community. Reading being such a major part of my life and a love for the French language has also lead me to take additional literature classes taught in French and this has given me the breadth of knowledge that opened up alternative cancer research opportunities in France.

While I have enjoyed my time at Boston University immensely and I look forward to my upcoming and last semester at BU, I will always be a California girl at heart and will return to California after graduating to pursue research in Neuroscience. I also look forward to being reunited with my true love, Oliver, a two-year old pup whose company I so long for while I am on the east coast.