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Studying What She Loves — Japanese and Neuroscience


Back when she was college hunting, Maya Taliaferro ’21 thought Hamilton and its open curriculum looked like a perfect fit for pursuing her disparate interests of Japanese and neuroscience. Now a senior, Taliaferro is convinced she made the right choice.

She was able to major in neuroscience, minor in Japanese and balance her science major with a semester of off-campus study in Kyoto, Japan. The timing of the program she attended proved to be lucky — it started a bit early, which meant she squeezed in most of the experience before it was short by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About Maya Taliaferro ’21

Major: Neuroscience

Minor: Japanese

Hometown: Ambler, Pa. 

High School: Wissahickon High School

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Studying in Japan was a highlight of her college career. “It’s one of the things that really drew me towards Hamilton because I knew that they had a strong study abroad program and really good financial support for study abroad,” said Taliaferro, who received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

While she was abroad she had an opportunity to work in a biology lab. “So I was still able to keep up with some of the scientific stuff that I like to do, and do that in Japan and practice my Japanese. It was really the perfect mix. It was really awesome,” she said.

After Taliaferro graduates from Hamilton, her plan is to get a research job for two years before she enters a neuroscience doctoral program in the U.S.

“But I love Japan, and I love the experience I had there. And so I never want to lose my interaction with it. I have a couple of friends from Japan that I made when I was there that I want to continue to keep in contact with. But in terms of career, after grad school, I would definitely consider jobs in Japan as well as in the United States,” she said.

At Hamilton students may major or minor in Japanese.

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