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Human Biology Synthesis: HUMBIO 192 (2-3 units per quarter for 6 units total, letter grade only)
Co-Requisite HUMBIO 191. Students enroll in HUMBIO 192 over two or three quarters: 192A (Autumn), 192W (Winter), 192S (Spring).
The synthesis is a platform that allows you to bring together personal and academic interests into a culminating intellectual, creative project. It is an opportunity for you to explore topics in or out of your Area of Concentration through a creative project, to include mediums such as creative writing (non-fiction or fiction), alternative media (visual arts) and service projects. You present your work during senior year at the spring quarter Human Biology Honors & Synthesis Symposium. The synthesis is broadly defined to foster creativity and intellectual latitude in your project.
The sythesis is completed in conjunction with the Practicum. Attending Synthesis specific programming will fulfill the elective workshops of the Practicum. One reflection workshop and the Capstone essay are required to earn credit for HumBio 191: Practicum. Practicum presentation credit is earned when you showcase your project at the HumBio Symposium. For full details, students should refer to the Capstone Handbook.
Please apply through the appropriate class year portal below:
Note: some Synthesis projects could benefit from funding to help cover expenses that might be required to create the final product. We encourage students considering Synthesis projects to learn about and apply for support from the Bingham Innovation Fund:
Hee Joo Ko
Synthesis Project: Literature and Medicine - A non-fiction essay that incorporates academic theory, personal experience, and conversations with physicians and writers
Area of Concentration: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel Mason
Proposal: As a writer, pre-medical student, and Human Biology/Comparative Literature double major, I’m fascinated by the ways literature can intersect with medicine, and especially how both the patient and the caregiver can interact with literature through writing and reading to think through the ethics of medicine. I’m interested in writing a non-fiction essay that draws together what I’ve learned in my classes with my personal experiences as a bookworm, medical volunteer, and creative writer. Moreover, I will bring into this conversation what I’ve learned from my neuroscience concentration classes and social neuroscience research –a significant portion of the essay will put into conversation key theories from neuroscience and literary criticism to examine why and how literature can have a profound impact on individuals, as well as on the medical field. Finally, I plan to interview people from 1) Stanford Pegasus Physicians, a program for physicians and physicians-in-training affiliated with the Stanford Medical School who meet regularly to workshop their creative writing, 2) Literature & Medicine Dinner and Discussion, a series that allows physicians to come together to discuss relevant works of literature, and 3) Medicine and the Muse, a symposium for Stanford medical school students interested in the medical humanities.
Synthesis Project: A Conversation with Black Women in Medicine
Area of Concentration: Social and Biological Determinants of Behavior
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Fisher
Proposal: As of 2015, 4.5% of physicians in the US are African American and black women make 2.5% of physicians in the country. African Americans take up 13% of the US population, needless to say there lacks diversity in the medical field. Of course the low percentage of doctors of color in the field can be discouraging to minority pre-med with big dreams of becoming physicians. I want to take a look into the life of some doctors of color. In this short film, I will be sitting down with black women to have a candid conversation about their journey to medicine and what it’s really like being a minority and a woman in a pre-dominantly white medical field. With this video, I hope to not only highlight the need for more doctors of color, but also encourage minorities of color to continue pursuing their dreams of becoming a doctor.
Katherine Klass & Alexander Ostberg
Synthesis Project: Exercise Physiology Website - applying exercise physiology to enhance understanding of training methodology for students
Area of Concentration, respectively: Human Performance & Sports and Exercise Physiology
Faculty Mentor: Anne Friendlander
Proposal: We will create a website that will serve as an evidence-based resource for students, especially student-athletes enrolled in Exercise Physiology. We plan to consult with athletic training, sports performance, head/assistant coaches, and other staff members about training practices within different sports, and explain the physiology behind these practices (e.g. training to optimize both endurance and power, post-workout nutrition, blood-flow restriction, the brain's role in performance, etc). Ideally, this will include video interviews/modules and summaries of current literature (with the goal of updating the website as new studies are published). If possible, we would also like to interview researchers in the field to provide an alternate form of scientific communication, as the language in scientific papers can sometimes be overwhelming or verbose. Our goal is to help students understand the reasoning behind various training patterns/activities and to make it easier for them to draw connections between the material covered in class and their personal athletic pursuits. We hope that creating this resource will motivate them to apply this information to their own training, recovery, and overall well-being.