Author Archives: Jeffrey Sherman

Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare


As aforementioned in my previous blog, futuristic technology on the horizon is extremely interesting to me. In a world that is constantly adapting and changing based on globalization, better ways to analyze information and capitalize on it is constantly on the minds of most executives. Perhaps one of the most exciting advancements in technology recently is the spark of interest in artificial intelligence, and this is especially true in the Healthcare industry. In an article from Wired.comBahar Gholipour states that over 2.5 million scientific papers are published each year, and this massive stockpile of information is largely unavailable to most scientists simply due to the immensity of their search. Desperate to keep up to date on current medical information and findings, most scientists would welcome a technological assistant with perfectly acute memory and information. This is where a company named Iris comes in, creators of an artificial intelligence system designed for hospitals and other medical professions. 

Iris developed their artificial intelligence system in order to quickly analyze data and pull out the relevant information without having to individually search through each specific document to find what you are looking for. This is particularly useful for doctors as patients typically have a complex medical history that their doctor has to examine, and artificial intelligence would simply red flag any potential dangers or interactions. And Iris is not the only company to capitalize on artificial intelligence, with IBM using “Watson for oncology” to keep cancer doctors up to date on current treatments by sifting through patient information and medical journals. The vast amount of scientific data out on the web makes it very difficult to diagnose and treat a disease, with some doctors that specialize in a specific field still finding it difficult to stay current with all advancements in their specialization. Artificial intelligence mitigates this problem, increasing the accuracy of information almost instantaneously.

While discussing AI, it is very difficult not to consider the future of the technology and how artificial intelligence will continue to develop. Anita Schjøll Brede, the CEO of Iris, explained her version of what the future of AI looks like. Brede predicts that in just three years, Iris will release a new version of its current form, having the capability to remember the information you read Anita Schjøll Brede while offering new suggestions that might aid you. Even more surprising is Brede’s prediction that in ten years, the AI system will be so sophisticated that it will figure problems out itself based off of previous data and readings. According to, Craig Venter, a leader of the Human genome Project, is utilizing artificial intelligence to analyze a individuals DNA in order to develop an algorithm that could allow scientists to hand select a patients physical features.


In conclusion, if AI can be produced at an affordable rate for standard hospitals, the medical industry will become far more efficient and knowledgeable, able to draw upon millions of sources at once.  AI will also change the nature of producing pharmaceuticals that generally takes years and can cost millions of dollars, allowing researchers to find the correct medicine for a patient at a far quicker pace, potentially saving thousands of lives and saving massive appropriations of funding.


Artificial Intelligence Could Dig Up Cures Buried Online

An Artificial Hippocampus?


(Westworld Logo. N.d. HBO, n.p.

I have always enjoyed the potential futuristic possibilities that come along with the advancement of technology. In the Netflix original series Black Mirror and HBO’s Westworld, both titles have capitalized on the exploration of the capabilities new technology will bring and the possible negative affects applied science could have on the human race. In a Wired article written by Cynthia McKelvey, she compares a new biotech implant developed by Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, to a device featured in Black Mirror where one can perfectly recall their memories with an implant behind the ears. Berger’s device is small silicon chip considered somewhat of an artificial hippocampus that is implanted in the brain. Too someone unfamiliar with what the hippocampus is; it is essentially the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. 

The device works by mimicking the hippocampus’ function of converting short term memory into long term ones by utilizing mathematical code that represents an entire memory. In order for this to happen, Berger first had to develop a controlled experiment in which a standardized memory task was administered to rats to complete, namely pressing a specific lever after being distracted by a light to prove the artificial hippocampus was in fact providing memories. Berger has had success when working on rats and monkeys, enabling them to gain better memory. If this device could be applied to humans, and trials have already begun, the future for people with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s could forever be altered by electrically stimulating memories.


(Hippocampus Implant. 17 July 2014. Http://, n.p.)

Artificially improving ones memory with an implantation is uncharted waters in terms of regulation from a governmental standpoint, and finicking with the elaborate and complex brain requires absolute certainty that the device will not permanently impair a patient or consumers cognitive function. With millions of neurons and  Additionally, one has to worry about the possibility of someone hacking an internal system actually present in your body, which could have potentially devastating effects. On the other hand, Berger points to the recent advancements in neuroprosthetics that have benefitted people greatly, even giving the ability to electrically stimulate a paralyzed persons arms with electrodes and the restoring of the retinas for blind people.

Berger, being recently hired as Chief Science Officer for a new startup dubbed Kernal, together both aim to bring the implant to market as a medical device, with their eyes set upon modifying the technological hippocampus further and possibly improving integral aspects of human intelligence like creativity and focus. While not positive what direction he plans on taking the implant, the exciting possibilities for bioengineering and the challenge of improving core aspects of ones personality will certainly be an interesting and slightly intimidating show. Careful monitoring of the devices construction and implementation are absolutely necessary, along with other safeguards to protect oneself from body implants. However, the exciting possibilities of being able to improve ones overall intelligence, in my opinion, outweighs the potential dangers associated with this new technology.


The Neuroscientist Who’s Building a Better Memory for Humans



Are we Alone in the Universe?


The question of whether we inhabit this universe ourselves has since been long debated, and there is certainly no clear answer to the mystery of the existence of extraterrestrials. According to, there is an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe. In an article from the Huffington Post written by Sara Gates, a panel of various experts from NASA made the claim that it is highly probable that we share this universe with some other form of sentiment beings, mainly under the basis of that this unimaginable 100 billion galaxy would be entirely void of life. So, without any visible or audible signal received from another being, is it safe to assume we are a biological anomaly who happened to survive evolution? Or are we alone on our solitary planet and the technology to reach other forms of life is just non existent?

Unfortunately, NASA’s claims cannot be backed with a causal link or direct evidence, making their assessment virtually baseless especially in terms of scientific evidence or hypothesis testing. Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, in the same Huffington Post article, hypothesized that the advances in different forms of space exploration and telescope ability would need to be improved upon greatly to support such a vast search. Fortunately, NASA currently has an innovative telescope dubbed “The James Web Space Telescope,” scheduled to launch in 2018, equipped with many innovations that will allow NASA to explore the deepest ranges of space. This will allow researchers to examine far away planets with infrared light, greater increasing our chances on stumbling upon other forms of life.

Amy Lavelle, a writer for, claims human fascination in extraterrestrials extends long into our history, with particularly interesting interpretations of alien life being represented in various forms. Perhaps the most odd and famous painting depicting aliens is, “The Madonna with Saint Giovannio,” completed by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the 15th century. The artwork clearly depicts a strange floating object resembling a UFO in which a dog and mysterious figure are watching intently. Interestingly enough, similar images of UFO like objects and pictures depicting alien life can be found all over the world, from the bible to cave paintings.


(, Domenico. The Madonna with Giovannio. N.d. Palazzo Vecchio., n.p.

So, if there’s no legitimate or confirmed sighting of alien life on Earth except depictions through paintings, why is NASA so confident that we are not alone in this Universe? Essentially, an astronomer and scientist named Frank Drake devised an mathematical formula in which he examined planets that could potentially harbor sentient life, and the statistical results revealed that there a number of planets similar to Earth that could support human life. Although many accept Drake’s theory as a simple representation and thought provoking equation, criticism arises from various sources due to the guess work involved in the equation itself, alongside the fact there is no definitive answer to the equation due to a lack of technological advancement.

For now, there is no definitive answers as to whether we are alone in this universe. The circumstances and variables involved in the evolution of our species is undoubtedly an anomaly and not something that is going to be found easily. Additionally, the only evidence in favor of alien life is supported by baseless paintings and colorful human imagination. Despite odd claims from several astronauts and even President Bill Clinton, until there is a reliable source that presents non-refutable evidence of alien life, my conclusion will remain that the vast distance between galaxies and planets is simply impossible to conquer technologically, and that if a life-form was capable of traversing such distances, they would most likely be uninterested or a threat to our technologically primitive world. But with unsolved UFO sightings and claims, anything is in the realm of possibility in our vast universe.



Pictures have link below.



How smart are Dolphins Actually?



People have been fascinated with dolphins for a long period of time now, probably due to their unique looks and temperament compared to other animals. If you have heard or seen a dolphin before, you have probably heard of their superior intelligence when compared with other mammals. There are not many great means of measuring an animals intelligence, but Dolphins exhibit behavior that is almost completely unique to the animal kingdom.

Humans once thought we were alone in the capability to relay information to other members of our species, but scientists have recently learned that dolphins not only have the ability to learn, but they also possess the ability to relay new information to other dolphins. This is an entirely unprecedented behavior in the animal kingdom, and dolphins exhibit actions considered far beyond the reach of a typical aquatic animal like mimicking human behavior to acquire food or their tendency to have complex social hierarchies.


In this enlightening video produced by popular scientist Lori Marino, he illuminates what truly makes dolphins unique. The first factor that distinguishes dolphins’ intelligence from other mammals is their brain size, where they are only second to human beings in terms of body mass and brain size ratio. This hypothesis tests whether brain size has a direct correlation on intelligence, and dolphins display such complex behavior that astounds and intrigues humans in the form of echolocation, in-depth social circles, navigation, and communication.

While all of these facts about dolphins are fairly interesting and seem to poise the dolphin as completely unique animal similar to humans, one first must compare similar behaviors exhibited by other animals. According to the Boston Globe, even chickens have the ability to remember social groups, communicate with one another, and a form of learning. Justin Gregg, in his new book, “Are Dolphins Really Smart? The Mammal Behind the Myth.” The psychologist Gregg argues that while their unique clicking to identify themselves or their intentions is impressive. He also refutes the popular opinion that brain size is linked to intelligence, and despite the fact the dolphins’ brain is larger than a humans, this does not automatically link them to advanced intelligence.

There also remains the misconception that dolphins are inherently peaceful creatures, which bolsters the myth debunked by current science as they display aggressive behavior similar to that of other large complex mammals. Overall, while dolphins do exhibit various behaviors considered unique and intelligent, they are simple mammals that replicate the same actions some other mammals act. Additionally, dolphins are not the majestic aquatic sea creature people believe they know, but are complex mammals that act aggressive and defensive when necessary.



Growing up through elementary school, I always personally found reading to be a daunting task. Generally, the only literature I was exposed to were typical mundane assigned readings that I simply was not interested in. It was not until the eighth grade that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon HBO’s hit mega-series Game of Thrones, an adaption of George R.R Martins’ bestselling series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” After the first season of the show was over, I was starved for more content and eventually decided I might as well give the novels a read. After eviscerating all 694 pages of the first installment, I knew reading for pleasure was something I was going to invest far more time in for the rest of my life. Interestingly enough, I hypothesize that the many hours upon hours I invested into this new hobby for enjoyment had two major effects on my academic career. Firstly, and more obviously, that my time spent on reading bolstered certain aspects of my “intelligence” with attributes like more advanced vocabulary and stronger reading comprehension. However, I also believe that since I spent such a significant amount of time dedicated to reading opposed to other pursuits like math science, I ultimately did myself a disservice. This was proven after receiving my SAT results, with my reading and writing scores being appallingly higher than my math score. After evaluating these facts about myself, the prominent question that arose in my mind was whether reading actually had a direct correlation on ones’ intelligence, and if not; are there any reliable ways to reinvigorate parts of the brain I should have spent more time developing in my youth?

Game of Thrones Book (

Training one’s brain certainly is not a new concept, and you have undoubtedly heard commercials for companies like Lumosity and CogniFit Brain Fitness if you live in the United States. These million dollar companies sprouting left and right now claim they have the ability boost your intelligence and IQ by “training” your brain with video games designed to keep your mind active. Their hypothesis testing generally consists of the fact that by continuing to keep your brain active by playing interactive games, one can improve their intelligence or IQ. Before analyzing the various sources and the differentiating opinions concerning applications like these and traditional reading for improving intelligence, it is especially important to define intelligence in a valid, reliable, and standard way. The most popular and widely used examination is the famous intelligence quotient test, popularly referred to as simply the “IQ Test.” According to Instructor Wind Goodfriend of, Alfred Binet designed the IQ test in the early 1900’s to differ from its standard general knowledge counterparts by measuring your capacity to learn to new material, not what you already have been taught.

After analyzing this information and growing curious over whether these sites were a hoax, Goodfriend spent a great deal of time visiting and interviewing psychologists that truly understand the bolstering of intelligence. Unfortunately, while reading will in fact enhance certain aspects of your intelligence, it does not quite make you “smarter.” Vocabulary and reading comprehension will increase with more time devoted to reading, but the act itself will not make you more overall intelligent. You can increase specific factors of your cognitive ability, and reverse causation is an obvious factor in these studies, as Binet proved that regardless of your age, while spending time improving your working memory,  reading comprehension is increased. This is especially true for those of an older age, and according to same article from the New York Times, those above 60 gain greater memory and reading comprehension skills from similar applications and seem to benefit from keeping their mind active.

In conclusion, while reading excessively will not necessarily make you more intelligent, it can help with certain aspects of your academic ability and cognitive function, especially when aging. Neuroplasticity is not particularly understood, with the mind molding and changing with no circumstances. As people continue to live longer and unfortunately succumb to neurological diseases, these results could potentially shed some light on impactful treatments for those in the future for those with diseases like Alzheimer’s.




Immunotherapy is a special type of cancer treatment in which scientists manipulate one’s own natural defenses to combat cancer. While not as popular as the standard means for treating cancer such as chemotherapy or radiation, a new, potentially world altering drug has been discovered according to this article. This drug has been described as a wake-up drug, and people with pancreatic cancer in which the cancer spread to other parts of the body and had a low chance of survival have seen extended lives. Deemed “IMM-101,” the drug is especially different from the standard treatment of pancreatic cancer as there are currently no known side-effects to this drug, a factor that is particularly of note as most treatments for pancreatic cancer leaves the patient in a poor state.

Although the trial is considered rather small, Professor Angus Dalgleish of the oncology department at St George’s, University of London, found that out of the 110 patients, 18% of them lived for longer than a year, and only 4% of these individuals lived another five years. While this is exciting news for potential sake, this is still a low amount of people in advanced stages of pancreatic living a prolonged amount of time.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the biggest killing diseases in the United States, and treatment of the immune system normally requires a level of virulent ingrediants and struggle from the patient. IMM-101’s most unique factor is that it worked with no notable side-effects that harmed the patient, something Dalgleish claims he has never seen before. Dalgleish also notes that while this news is exciting news for the future of fighting pancreatic cancer, implementing IM-101 with typical chemotherapy with patients whose cancer has only spread locally yielding no results, but instead proved beneficial for those in which the cancer spread into other parts of the body, or metastasized.

In the study conducted by Dalgleish, 85% of the participants had a metastatic disease, and generally lived 4.4 months with standard chemotherapy. Those distributed the standard chemotherapy alongside IMM-101 typically survived a median of seven months, with exceptions living from another one to three years longer. Dalgleish described IMM-101 as an awakening drug, due to the fact it revitalizes one’s immune system that has effectively been destablilized by the pancreatic cancer cells. By bringing back the immune system, it can now find and mark the tumor in order to enhance the utility of chemotherapy for people with pancreatic cancer and not expected to live much longer.

Dalgleish also notes the IMM-101 has not only seen positive results in people with pancreatic cancer, but those with melanoma and skin cancer. He claims that those patients find a greater rate of survival and a healthier life, and even notes that some cases has subsided entirely. These results must be taken with a grain of salt however, as the results show very little increased life-span with a relatively small sample group. Dr. Justina Alford, a senior science information officer for Cancer Research UK, states that while it proved slightly effective for patients also receiving chemotherapy, the rates at which survival increased were too small to deduce any notable conclusions without more data being investigated. A similar sentiment was echoed from Kevin Harrington, a professor of biological cancer for the Institute of Cancer Research in London. He states that while it seems like a unique way to treat pancreatic cancer, the data simply isn’t quantifiable at the moment and that the technology is not there yet.


In conclusion, this discovery comes in light of a complete lack of alternatives for pancreatic cancer, which occurs when tumors form on the exocrine cells. Typically, pancreatic cancer can only be attempted to be treated when discovered in its initial stages. Generally, these treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, all of which are relatively poor choices in terms of patient health and well-being. With the discovery of a side-effectless immunotherapy drug, scientists are reinvigorated with the possibilities of this form of treatment for cancer patients everywhere.

Source 1

Source 2

The Science Behind Better Business

In my first journal entry, I mentioned that alongside my interest in pursuing a career in the College of Communications here at Penn State, I have a passion for business and wish to enter the Smeal College of Business eventually in my time here. I am interested in studying how people communicate effectively and how to best work within the business world, and to achieve this I wished to take an approach that had legitimate scientific research on business methods and strategies that could make working more enjoyable and profitable. One popular new major in many colleges across the United States is organizational psychology, which is defined by the Association of Business Psychology as the science that researches organizational practices in order to make an organization or business more productive and efficient. This field of study also utilizes applied research in order to study how to make people work more efficiently and happily within an organization. The end goal is to ultimately conduct studies and produce research that fosters a generally more productive and sustainable environment so employees can conduct work as efficiently as possible in a comfortable setting.

Is it possible that science could lead to a more efficient and successful business culture? Could those not naturally inclined to the business workplace use science to improve their abilities and productivity?

Organizational psychologists utilize various scientific means of research when attempting to better various aspects of a business, and these methods include standard scientific methods such focus groups to gather information for actual employee’s, and similarly utilizes questionnaires and surveys to the same affect albeit less personally. Additionally, they also analyze content and statistics to gain a better understanding of an organizations wants and needs (ABP) Practitioners of organizational psychology use these data collection methods to help businesses in several ways. The first way is to study tasks in a systematic fashion while attempting to improve the way they are being performed. By overseeing how an employee goes about completing a task, a thorough analysis could be conducted and the psychologist could dictate ways the worker could save time and maximize efficiency.

For example, a study in 1975 conducted by Latham and Kinne used a time-series design experiment and collected data on the net weight of a logging trucks operation for 12 months. The company found that upon challenging their workers with a hard goal of quickly harvesting a large quantity of timber in exchange for increased wages, performance was found to enhance immediately and the company would have had to pay closer to q-uarter of a million dollars in trucks alone to see the results achieved by practicing goal-setting. By theorizing and testing a new method, this logging company was able to increase production and provide their employee’s with additional wages, proving mutually beneficial for both parties and helping to reinforce the idea that science is applicable and useful to various disciplines.

Another example of the benefit of organizational psychology or the use of science to cultivate healthier business environment was a study conducted in 2015 by Professor Çetin Bektas of Turkey. In this study, Bektas attempts to define administrative workers’ preconceived notions of what their colleagues should be like and vice versa at a state University in Turkey. This study was essentially created in order to find out what workers expected in a colleague, which in turned helped to better understand what tendancies workers inhereited and which ones they did not.

Bektas considered human resources the most influential and defining aspect of a business, as employees and their colleagues combine together to create an efficient or inefficient business depending on how coherent and collaborative these workers are. By clearly defining the behaviors that workers covet as idealistic and essential, Betkas would be able to understand what character traits workers expected or desired out of their counterparts. This in turn would reduce managerial costs and increased worker satisfacation by encouraging these wanted traits or behaviors and making them more prevalent within a business. While studying a college may not sound entirely like business, colleges are generally first and foremost a business that run with the intention to have as much financial income at their disposal. Bektas conducted research upon both teachers and their administrators, and found that if the teachers thought they were well supported by their supervisor in terms of having the proper means to receive support or knowledge if necessary, then they were found to adapt better into the workplace and had higher rates of worker satisfaction. This was probably due to the fact that they felt they could turn to someone if they felt under duress or unable to competently teach a specific topic.

In another study conducted by Betkas, he found that personel empowerment or allowing individuals a certain freedom in making decisions along side increased collaboration with other workers provides a sense of contributing to the whole with work that is engaging and consequential. This cooperation and teamwork lead to overall greater job satisfaction, as the business itself works together more cooperatively and people feel that their individual contribution to work is more significant and beneficial to the business. This seems quite obvious to me in some regard, as if people work together enthusiastically and intelligently; they can produce greater results with combined efforts and individual contributions.

In conclusion, it appears that there are a host more of studies conducted on organizational psychologists that study the business world scientifically and critically. By conducting research and analyzing employees’ wants and business practices, organizations were able to find key traits in individuals and benefit from this knowledge either finananically or intrinsically. Also, by theorizing ways to motivate workers collectively, a timber company was able to increase production and therefore benefit from additional profits. Both examples provided above are brief glimpses into the dense subject of organizational psychology, and other professors have various other theories that attempt to make organizations both more meaningful and profitable.

High Voltage and our Miranda Rights

According to a study conducted by both Drexel and Arizona State University, a taser is deployed in the field on average more than 900 times a day in the United States. The study also claims that the rate in which stun guns are being used within police forces has gone up steadily in recent years, possible due to the increasingly negative view the American populace has on lethal force with handguns in light of the current tragedies stemming from the deaths of both innocent citizens and police officers alike.

This usage of a seemingly less innocuous weapon brings up a unique question; what are the effects of a direct 50,000 volt shock to the human brain? And even more intriguing, what possible effect could this have on a suspect while being questioned by police officers after being tased and detained? In my humble opinion, each individual has a right to their full cognitive ability when being questioned by police and being read their Miranda Rights, and if the use of a stun gun impairs cognitive function — further measures must be put in place to protect individuals tased by police so they may adequately defend themselves from self-incrimination.

The effects on the brain after being subjected to the high voltage shock of a stun gun has been relatively unstudied in the weapons history of use. The particular study predominately being analyzed in this blog was a journal published in Criminology and Public Policy, and was appropriately named TASER Exposure and Cognitive Impairment. Conducted in collaboration with  Drexel and Arizona State University, the study first establishes the requirements in which a suspect must be in while being questioned and read their Miranda Rights by an officer of the law. The main aspect of their argument rested within the fact that cognitive coherency and the ability to have an equal chance of defending themselves and their rights is imbedded within the ruling of Miranda v. Arizona (1966). So, if the voltage from a taser does in-fact impair cognitive ability, should a suspect be given more time to appropriate their thoughts and responses and be thoroughly placed in a situation where they can best defend themselves?

In order to answer the question of how a taser effects the human brain temporarily and the extent in which damage caused by a taser could impair a subjects cognitive ability, researchers conducted a randomized control trial (RCT) in which healthy college participants were subjected to voltage from a taser and then had their cognitive functions tested in the form of various tasks such as memory and verbal examinations, alongside other auditory and visual assessments. The study also includes a statistic that 500 have died from a taser stun, though they also note research is consistent that the voltage of a standard taser poses a relatively low threat to the overall health of a physically healthy human adult and generally proves a valid alternative to lethal force.

While a taser may pose a small threat of serious injury to the average healthy adult, that does not  necessarily answer the question as to whether it imposes cognitive dysfunction or impairment when a suspect is being read their Miranda Rights. The study utilized several scientific elements when testing to see the effects of a taser and how it could potentially alter one’s ability to respond to a police officer, extensively screening 800 healthy college students and placing them into several different groups that they could contrast and gather data with. These groups were then prescribed several tasks, with some just preforming exercises, some being singularly tased, and others being tased and then asked to preform exercises. This variability would allow the researchers to fully access the magnitude of problems that tasers could potentially impose.

(Slow-mo of a taser being deployed, courtesy of “The Slow-Mo Guys”.)

After analyzing the results, researchers found that subjects who had been subjected to the five second taser shock did in fact preform worse than their counterparts on objective physical tests, and also reported higher measures of cantankerousness, difficulty concentrating, and overall feelings of anxiety within an hour of being shocked. With these statistics now being considered significant and measureable, the researchers sugguest that a detainee of the law may be more likely to impede an investigation of an officer by providing inaccurate information or by simply foregoing their Miranda rights in the first place. The study also made a special note of the people who were used in this study, namely healthy college students not currently inebriated by drugs or alcohol and with no mental illnesses. Since many who commit crimes are desperate and in one of these categories and are potentially not of the same mental ability as healthy college students, the researchers assume that taser effects may be even worse when applied to someone that in lies in one of these various groups. In order to reduce potential inaccuracies and to keep the viability of an officer reading someone their Miranda Rights after being tased, the scientists suggest that police forces implement a sixty minute waiting period in which the convict would be able to stabilize from their recent exposure to such voltage and to best comply with law officials in way that does not work against them. The study also encourages other scientists to directly observe the effects of a taser on a wider variety of subjects in order to find out the full extent in which a taser debilitates a suspect and impairs cognitive ability.

Source 1: News Post

Source 2: Official/Full Study



Making the Most of it

Greetings, everyone.

My name is Jeff Sherman, and I am a freshmen here at Penn State currently enrolled in the College of Communications. As indicated by my major of choice, expressing ideas through words and writing has always been a particular interest of mine, accompanied with a passion for reading. I’ve always enjoyed conceptual science, such as discussing the universe and the hidden secrets of the world alongside evolution and other major principles that have shaped the world we live in. My disinterest for science unfortunately stems from my hatred for math, a subject that I simply did not practice enough to grow proficient in. As science courses in high school grew more math intensive, my grades began to drop and I started to focus more on the skills I already developed.


While I may not be talented in math, another area of interest of mine is business. In high school, I participated in a club named DECA. DECA is an international business competition that boasts over 200,000 high school members with about 2,000 individual chapters spread across the United States and the world. For anyone interested, DECA has a collegiate level as well, and more information can be found here ( While information about the club is not necessarily important, DECA has taught me that the fields of science and math are easily the quickest growing industries, and people that excel in communication and sales can benefit from this change by selling the products more talented scientists create. By taking SC 200, I can gain a better general understanding of core scientific principles while additionally developing critical thinking skills and simultaneously improve my writing. In addition to gaining these skills, I believe this course is an interesting variation from your typical science class, and I will be able to discuss and learn about things not usually covered in a run of the mill science course.