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Summer Fellows Institute (SFI) 2012


With well over 100 Center trainees (students and postdoctoral scholars advised and mentored by our SFI 2012investigators), TDLC is committed to advancing their careers by providing resources for research, including project funding and assembling an extensive network of colleagues with whom to collaborate. However, for those among them seeking formal training in TDLC's primary research areas, there is the Summer Fellows Institute (SFI). The SFI (affectionately referred to as "bootcamp") is a unique, full-time two-week program hosted by the Center on the campus of UC San Diego. Held August 6 - 18, the SFI offered instruction to 19 trainees from TDLC and two other NSF Science of Learning Centers: the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center and the Visual Language and Visual Learning Center.

The first week of the SFI was comprised of daily lectures and labs, lead by each of the four Center research networks, as well as two additional days devoted to computational analysis, and hands-on training in TDLC's motion capture facility and UCSD's Radiology Imaging Lab. The participants were steeped in the areas of interacting memory systems, social interaction, sensorimotor processes, and perceptual expertise, with added instruction in EEG, MEG, motion capture, and fMRI. Evening tutorials were also scheduled that included Matlab, linear algebra, python, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and eyetracker instruction. (The complete SFI schedule, along with links to the lecture and tutorial slides, is available here.)

SFI 2012

With the foundation laid in the first week, the trainees were prepared to embark on weeklong research projects during the second week, which were conducted in small groups of 2-4. There was a catch, however. Though the trainees were able to select the project they wanted to work on, they were required to pick one from an area that was outside of their area of expertise. Rising to the challenge, the groups worked tirelessly, immersing themselves in unfamiliar territory while conducting experiments with the hope of getting meaningful results by the end of the week. The pressure to do so stemmed from the requirement of each project group to present a formal talk on their findings to their fellow trainees and SFI instructors on Saturday morning, the last day of bootcamp. Most of the participants did not get much sleep Friday night, but were still able to rally for a final dinner party Saturday night at TDLC Director Gary Cottrell's house.

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