From Spanish to psychology and physiology, he tried it all

By Karen A. Grava, CLAS Today

It took Jacob Hunter a few semesters to get the rhythm of college.

He started out at Drexel University and first considered a business degree. But he transferred to UConn where he has taken classes at every campus except Stamford.

Hunter, who will receive a BS degree from CLAS with a double major in physiology and neurobiology and auditory neuroscience, an individualized major, knows where he is headed now. He wants to be an ear, nose and throat physician.

A student of Spanish, he has spent time in Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and Honduras and will be studying neuroscience at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama as a paid intern for six months after graduation.

His time in Honduras, where he was part of a medical mission run by Global Medical Brigades, might have been the most life-changing of his study trips.

“We saw 3,000 people in three days,” he says. “We ran the pharmacy out of suitcases – we gave the prescriptions to people in a bag with their names on them.”

Most of the patients had no running water, no electricity and no heat and few had ever been to see a doctor before. Many of the prescriptions were for drugs that killed parasite or antibiotics – basically medicines for problems most Americans don’t think twice about.

The trip was a contrast to his research projects in Storrs, which have focused on the psychology of music. In one project Hunter participated in, he observed a woman playing a cello and determined that her tempo increased as her practicing went on. A second project focused on how long subjects could recall lines of poems and discovered that the more the observer nodded, the more confident the subject became.

As for his time at UConn, Hunter says he finds the number of opportunities amazing. “So many things are going on,” he says. “The classes are flexible and every regional campus has something to offer.”

Even his roommate provided an opportunity. He was a French exchange student who invited Hunter to visit his home in Paris.

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