Neuroscience major and softball player Riley Irmen ’21 hits both the books and the field, following her passion to help others as a neuroscientist studying mental illnesses.
Riley Irmen ’21, Minot, N.D.
Why did you choose Concordia?
My cousins went to Concordia and loved it. Then, I was recruited for the Cobber softball team and also saw the college offered a neuroscience major. I want to go to med school after finishing my degree and Concordia alumni have extremely high acceptance rates for graduate school.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
I play fastpitch softball for Concordia and am in the neuroscience club on campus.
What are your favorite hangouts in Fargo-Moorhead?
My favorite place to hang out and do homework in the Fargo-Moorhead area is called Fit Republic (a protein shake place). I also enjoy going to downtown coffee shops such as Babb's Coffee House or Atomic Coffee.
Why did you choose a neuroscience major at Concordia?
A while ago, my grandma was diagnosed with dementia. Watching her struggle with memory loss and other symptoms of this disease made me want to learn more about the neurological/nervous system, especially diseases and disorders of the brain. I am interested in the scientific side of these issues, like finding the origin of the problem and discovering how to stop the disease from spreading throughout the nervous system. When I learned that Concordia had a neuroscience major, I was so excited. After I had the chance to shadow a neurologist in Minot, this cemented my decision to pursue a major in neuroscience and a future career as a neurologist/neuroscientist.
When did you first become interested in neuroscience?
I remember being interested in the brain in second grade. A career counselor came to talk to our class and she asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up. I said I wanted to learn how people think. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to have a career in the medical field.
What do you like best about neuroscience?
The unknown. There is always more to learn and more to explore. The brain is such a beautiful thing that is completely unique to every person. To me, that is truly amazing.
What are some of the benefits of the new Integrated Science Center?
The ISC is an absolutely beautiful building. Each science department has its own area and rooms are set up specifically for what each class needs. Every student has lots of space to study and learn!
What would your dream internship be?
I would love to intern as a neurologist physician or a neurosurgeon at the new Sanford Health Medical Center in Fargo. I want as much hands-on experience as possible.
What do you love most about playing fastpitch softball for Concordia?
I love how tight my softball team is. We came together quickly as a team last semester and I am excited for spring season to start!
What is the best part about being a student-athlete at Concordia?
I truly appreciate the involvement of other student-athletes and other students in our program. They always want to know how our season is going or when our next game is. Everyone here wants every team and program to succeed.
What would you say to prospective students?
Concordia has become my home away from home. It’s a great college to go to if you are a motivated, accountable student. If you’re willing to work hard, you will get an amazing education here. It’s a close-knit community with small class sizes, so it’s easy to build relationships with your professors and classmates.
Kayley Erlandson is a content specialist at Concordia College.