Student Spotlights: In conversation with Kaasvi Anshu, 11/18/2022

Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle

Tell us about yourself. Tell us about your hobbies, interests, and extracurriculars. 

Hi! I am Kaasvi, a senior this year. The science of learning, cognition, and metacognition fascinates me, and most of my extracurriculars encompass these arenas. In addition to writing, I enjoy verbally communicating about the importance of growing from our academic adversities with enthusiasm through a podcast that I run called Boundless Growth. Branching off of this, the COVID-19 pandemic inspired me to recently launch an online forum (also called Boundless Growth), which offers an online platform for students to engage in meaningful conversations on intellectual topics and help each other overcome academic difficulties. This forum is just starting out and I hope to expand its prospects throughout the school year. Outside of exploring neuroscience, I treasure the time I spend watching Bollywood movies with my family and hanging out at the Mason Public Library. 

Can you tell us about your book?

“Introduction to Neuroscience” is a beginner-level book with an engaging narration on foundational neuroscience topics. The incorporation of illustrations and examples makes this subject more understandable to students who are just starting to get their feet wet in this subject. Two of my favorite chapters in the book include: “The human brain and consciousness” and “neuroplasticity” because these two topics are the most novel and exciting fields of study in neuroscience. 

When did you start writing your book? When did you get the idea?

I started writing my book this past summer and the whole process took me about 3.5 months. My inspiration was a student at Stanford who wrote a book called “Gateway to American Economics” when she was a high schooler. She noticed that a lot of high school economics books lacked gender-neutral images. So, she wrote her own book for high school students while diagramming images that were not biased towards a particular gender. 

In neuroscience, a key societal implication is that many young learners get intimidated when they hear about neuroscience, which is understandable, given that the brain is the most perplexing organ of the body. I wanted this complicated, yet immensely interesting subject area, to seem more approachable to young learners, and thus decided to write this book. 

What was your motivation for writing this book?

Though a majority of my motivation for this book was rooted in my desire to make students feel less intimidated by neuroscience, I also wanted this project to help me practice the skill of communicating complicated scientific topics in understandable language. This skill is critical to becoming a successful cognitive neuroscientist, which is a career I aspire to pursue. 

Where do you see your writing going in the future?

Writing this book was an incredibly rewarding venture. In college, I want to continue publishing more neuroscience books that gradually delve deeper into the mystery of brain functions. My goal is that by the time I graduate, I will have published a “neuroscience series.”

Graphics by Allison Droege