Photo by matt d'annunzio

Chris Graulty ’15

biology - psychology

Hometown: Kobe, Japan; Cincinnati, Ohio; Beijing, China

Who I was when I got to Reed: I was born in Cincinnati, went to elementary school in Japan, middle school in Ohio, and high school in Beijing. I don’t really have a hometown where I feel, “This is where I’m from.” I’m multiracial and because of my ethnicity, there is no country where I look like the people who live there. 

Word to prospies: Be willing to listen. Some people are eager to question everything but, then, don’t listen to the responses.

Influential professors: Prof. Enriqueta Canseco-Gonzalez [psychology 1992– ]and Prof. Michael Pitts [psychology 2011– ] have been my mentors. They taught me how to do good science and for that, I am forever grateful.

A concept that blew my mind: Your brain knows things that you don’t.

Another concept that blew my mind: If you don’t use it, you lose it. Your brain is constantly adapting to the inputs you give it, so a function that’s never used is just taking up space. Give your brain amazing experiences, because it builds a network around them.

Outside the Classroom: Assistant stage manager for a show. Worked in the scene shop building sets. Spun fire in Weapons of Mass Distraction. Was an international student mentor. House adviser.

Awards/honors: I received generous support from the Murdock grant for life sciences, the Reed College Science Research Fellowship, the Reed College Opportunity Grant, and the Reed College Initiative Grant.

Thesis: Neuronal Dynamics of Grapheme-Color Synesthesia

What it’s about: People with grapheme-color synesthesia perceive color when looking at numbers and letters. I performed my own experiment to record the brain activity of 10 people with this kind of synesthesia. I isolated two neural correlates of synesthetic perception and explored how they are influenced by the availability of attentional resources.

What it’s really about: Data from brain recording suggests that attention is necessary for synesthetic perception.

What’s next: I'll be working in the psych department as a lab manager while I send out applications for medical school.