STEMM Idol: Dr. Patricia Schiml

During her freshman year of college, Dr. Patricia Schiml took a class that would lead her on a path to her life-long career.

“I took a class on drugs and behavior,” Dr. Schiml said. “I remember, it was a lightning bolt moment, sitting in that classroom and I listened to a discussion of neurons and how molecules from the outside can come in and affect behavior. I knew that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. I’m really lucky that I get to do that.”

Dr. Schiml is a research professor and an advisor for behavioral neuroscience students in the department of psychology at Wright State University.  She received her bachelor of science from Wright State in 1989, and her masters and doctorate in psychology from the University of California in 1991 and 1996, respectively.

“If you want to define psychology, it would be the study of behavior and mental processes,” Dr. Schiml explained. “Within psychology, if you are a behavioral neuroscientist, you study specifically how the brain controls behavior and mental processes. If you want to study the organ of behavior and mental processes, you study of the brain. With that comes some studies of hormones and immunology because the immune system factors can affect behaviors pretty profoundly.”

Dr. Schiml came to CJ on Tuesday, January 8 as part of the school’s STEMM Idol Speaker Series. She also spoke with students taking anatomy and biomedical science medical innovations classes.

As part of her presentation, Dr. Schiml brought in both human and animal brain specimens.

“I think for a beginner in neuroscience or psychology, studying anatomy by using an animal brain can be really helpful,” Dr. Schiml said. “When you then go to the human brain, things seem to make a lot more sense.

Dr. Schiml continued, “We have greater ethical considerations when we think about doing testing or studying human beings. We treat people, and rightfully so, in a special way. Looking at the similarities between animal neuroanatomy and human neuroanatomy helps us understand that we are a little more connected.”

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at

Posted January 8, 2019