IPN Student Profile: Daina Crafa

Human social development occurs continuously throughout our lifespans, and its aggregate is called “culture”. Presumably, our brain processes, beliefs, and behaviors are modified by our immediate social environments and the broader cultures we live within. I am an Italian-American who has lived in many different countries and seen different trajectories of social development first hand. I am very interested in the ways social and cultural encounters can shape who we are, and how different people respond differently to the same encounters. My interest in human variation extends to patients with psychiatric disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, that are characterized by social challenges.

McGill University houses numerous professors across disciplines who share many of these interests. After completing an M.Sc. in Neuroscience (Germany) and an M.Sc. in Transcultural Mental Health (U.K.), I came to McGill University for my Ph.D. because of its top-notch the faculty and resources. 

Choosing the IPN program at McGill University is the best professional decision I’ve made to-date. During my studies, I have worked with healthy and patient participants across multiple cultural groups and was able to pursue precisely the line of research I’d hoped to. The courses in the IPN program are rigorous and supplemented my pre-existing knowledge, allowing me to grow from a student into an independent scientist. Many lectures are offered on topics like cultural neuroscience, global mental health, and state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques, which I have learned a lot from.

I am in my last year at McGill and believe I have obtained the necessary skills to move on to the next stages of a career in academia, including practical experiences like journal article review, grant writing, and student supervision. Through the IPN program, there were ample opportunities to apply for research awards and scholarships, which gave me the freedom to pursue more lines of scientific inquiry and which make me a more competitive applicant for neuroscience jobs. I am very grateful for my time in IPN at McGill University.

Additional details about my research experience and published articles can be found on my professional website: www.dainacrafa.com