Meet 2017 Summer Studentship Recipient: Brett Paffrath

CHILD-BRIGHT is proud to offer opportunities to help involve future generations of researchers, health professionals and leaders in patient-oriented work in Canada.  Meet Brett Paffrath, one of our 2017 Summer Studentship recipients, and read his reflections on his time at CHILD-BRIGHT.


Name: Brett Paffrath
Studying: BSc (Biology), University of Calgary
Focus of internship:
CHILD-BRIGHT Enhancing Brain Function with Non-Invasive Stimulation Program

As a studentship recipient for the CHILD-BRIGHT Network, I worked with the Calgary Pediatric Stroke Program (CPSP) team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital as part of the Enhancing Brain Function with Non-Invasive Stimulation project. This summer not only taught me the skills to succeed in the research world, but also caused the discovery of my true-self.  My experiences this summer changed my life forever.

More specifically, I worked on a project on "Source Localization of Pediatric Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) using Electroencephalography (EEG)." My project taught me numerous clinical research skills, including experimental design, data collection and management, method development, statistical analysis, and presentation. However, to me, the most important part of the experience was how much it allowed me to grow as a person and become comfortable with myself.

My work with the CPSP team was an enormous eye-opener to the scope and magnitude of patient-oriented neuroscience research. I cherished the exposure I had to so many academic paths, with the cross-over of a multitude of interesting departments such as Neuroscience, Bioengineering, Computer Science, Occupational Therapy, and more. Having an extensive history with computers and a love for understanding biological data, biotechnology and bioinformatics really peaked my interest for future career paths.       

There was so much satisfaction gained from seeing a child, who had been working so hard for weeks on a goal that he had outlined, finally achieve his dream.
— Brett Paffrath

While I was never directly involved with participants for my own study, as I was responsible for the data analysis portion of the project, I had plenty of opportunities to interact with patients of other CPSP studies and I gained a great appreciation for patient-oriented research and its benefits. There was so much satisfaction gained from seeing a child, who had been working so hard for weeks on a goal that he had outlined, finally achieve his dream. 

Working in the lab, I had not colleagues and bosses, but friends and mentors. Immediately, I felt accepted into their circle and loved every moment with the close-knit community. The pleasantness of my experience on my amazing project with my wonderful team, has massively boosted my own intellectual and social abilities and removed all doubts I had about my future.

I cannot thank the CHILD-BRIGHT Network and every member of the CPSP enough for allowing me this amazing opportunity that has truly changed my life for the better.