Student, 19, is CEO of brain science firm

Student, 19, is CEO of brain science firm

SINGAPORE - She has just graduated from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) but Tara Venkatesan is already a CEO of her own company, Cogsci Connects Inc.

The company is a student-led collaboration that raises awareness about the importance of cognitive science and its opportunities in Asia and around the world.

Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary approach to studying the brain and its processes with other academic fields like psychology, anthropology, computer science and biology.

Now, there is more to reap from "all this BS (Brain Science)", said Tara. The company focuses on popular topics like social media, gaming and technology to illustrate how brain science has been applied to other fields. By sharing this knowledge, it aims to expand research about brain science, "one that is transforming virtually all fields in the 21st century", said Tara.

Like many others, great ideas start off with a eureka moment. For Tara, her fascination with this research topic began in 2010 in New Delhi, her hometown, where she was attending the American International School.

She was then listening to the US-based National Public Radio, when she heard Professor Oliver Sacks, a neuro scientist, sharing a story about a concert pianist. When she researched on the artiste, Tara found that "there was a whole field that studies the brain and music known as the cognitive science of music".

Understanding how the brain perceives music is of great interest to her as she has been learning how to sing Western classical music since she was eight. Both the sciences and arts were her passion while she was growing up.

Intrigued and excited to learn more, Tara went on to do an internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 and spent her time there in a cognitive science lab before joining ACSI. Tara saw the importance of cognitive science and its endless possibilities.

She wanted to engage more people and spread awareness about brain science literacy.

Last August, she set up Cogsci, with the support of her family, friends and professors who were willing to work with her on this project voluntarily. The company was her way of giving back to the community, she said, as she hopes to give the underprivileged an equal chance to compete in the 21st century.

What is her company about?

It is a communication platform that ignites the passion for learning about cognitive science. Students will be introduced to the field in a simplified manner. By making it simple and accessible, the aim is to motivate more to do research on it.

Who is it for?

For innovators, science whizzes, artistes, gamers, psychology majors and those who like to stretch the study of the brain beyond using the sciences. It is for people, above 13, who like to create by inter-phasing cognitive science with other fields of study and to bring it to the next level.

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