Our Story

The Synapse Project was created and is supported by young women just like yourself. We are all fascinated by the brain and the possibilities of the unfolding field that is neuroscience.

Our Director

Jane Doherty is passionate about making everything neuroscience-related available to all girls everywhere. Girls have unique perspectives, creativity, intelligence, and empathy that will sincerely benefit the field of neuroscience. And she hopes to connect as many girls to the resources they need to become great neuroscientists! Please reach out to her if you questions, comments, or want to learn more!  

How Our Project Began

Grace Greenwald founded The Synapse Project in 2011 when she was 15 years old. Grace got interested in neuroscience as a high schooler by hearing her grandmother, Glenda, talk about her work at the Aspen Brain Forum. She heard stories about the fascinating, interdisciplinary, and critical questions that the neuroscience community was investigating about health and wellbeing, and jumped into opportunities to learn about the brain. Grace’s goal became making “everything brain-related” available to girls of all ages like herself. Her vision for The Synapse Project was to connect young women interested in studying neuroscience to professors, scientists, and mentors who would generously donate their time and enthusiasm to ignite interest in the brain and help the next generation succeed in this rewarding career.

Our Team

  • Jane Doherty

    Director

    Jane Doherty is a senior at Colorado Academy. Her love for learning about the brain grew from middle school science fair projects. Her 6th grade project on gender differences in executive functioning / impulse control sparked her interest in neuroscience. This led her to write research proposals on extra-linguistic behaviors and mirror neurons, conduct research on high schoolers’ sleep habits, to have interesting behavioral science discussions with her mother, to read Scientific American Mind, and really any behavioral science book she can get her hands on. In May of 2017, Jane spoke at the Girls Empowerment in STEM conference. She spoke to middle school girls about how being a scientist lies in the ability to constantly ask questions and make connections, and to stay curious. As Director, Jane hopes to support and celebrate this curiosity and continue the amazing work of the Synapse Project.

  • Grace Greenwald

    Founder

    Grace is now a current student at Stanford University studying Human Biology and Creative Writing. She hopes to use knowledge of biology and evolution and a love for powerful, interesting stories to communicate accessible science to the public. She is most excited about meditation and mindfullness, and wants to be a part of translating brain research to be used in schools and inform how we teach kids of all different learning abilitiesShe has also spent the last few years gaining experience in education by working with California Public school districts, creaking maker-education curriculums for high schoolers, and designing affordable science teaching schools.

    Grace is so proud of the hard work and abundant passion of the women who have taken ownership of this project each year!

  • Megumi Sano

    Former Director

    Megumi Sano is a senior at Southbank International School in London. Her passion for neuroscience stems from two experiences: her first encounter with a slice of a mouse brain during a lab internship, and a lecture by Professor Steven Pinker on the marvelous journey from neurons to consciousness. Megumi works at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development in autism research and is a member of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language. She represented England at the 2016 International Brain Bee World Championship, a neuroscience competition for high school students and is organizing the 2017 English Brain Bee. She is also a Board Member of the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA) and is part of the Executive Committee of the MYELIN Initiative, a joint project between the IYNA and the Synapse Project which encourages neuroscience education in high school classrooms. As Director of the Synapse Project, Megumi aims not only to inspire students to enter the field of neuroscience but also to become inspired by their vibrant aspirations.

  • Evan Doherty

    Former Director

    Evan Doherty is a recent high school graduate from Colorado Academy. She is interested in biological sciences, and is specifically fascinated by neuroscience, genetics and nutrition. Evan’s biology classes as well as her mother’s neuroscience lab work initially piqued her interest in the brain, but she became even more excited about it after volunteering at the Aspen Brain Forum for two summers. Evan will work to continue the momentum of the Synapse Project by updating its resources and expanding its outreach with Megumi, Grace, and Jamie.

  • Jamie Cavanaugh

    Project Manager

    Jamie Cavanaugh has been involved with The Synapse Project for a number of years, executing various projects and making sure day-to-day operations run smoothly. In addition to this position, Jamie has been actively pursuing her own career in neuroscience, with a primary focus in neuropsychology. This has included working as a psychometrist in a thriving neuropsychology clinic, acting as Project Manager for multiple federally-funded grants studying abnormal brain anatomy and function, and completing her Masters degree. Her primary interests involve the junction between neuropsychology and complementary medicine, a field in which she aims to complete her PhD in upcoming years.