2021 alumna featured on Netflix show about the teenage mind

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Last month, Vox’s second season of the series The Mind, Explained premiered on Netflix. The second episode, titled “Teenage Brain,” featured Sohini Alim, an alumna from Townsend Harris’ class of 2021 and a current freshman at Stony Brook University. As a Harrisite, Sohini served as president of the Neuroscience Club and was a writer for the science and technology department of The Classic

As president of the Neuroscience Club at THHS, Sohini’s picture and contact information were posted on the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA), a nonprofit organization that aims “to inspir[e] the next generation of neuroscientists,” website. Here, the producers of The Mind, Explained found an image of Sohini and contacted her through email. 

Sohini said, “I guess having your picture up online makes you seem more approachable and like a real person, not a robot.” 

The producers scheduled a Zoom interview with her after she expressed interest in being on the show. 

“During the interview, it was just me vividly explaining everything that goes on in the brain as you’re growing up, and I guess they were really impressed by that,” Sohini said. “They were like ‘we also like your personality,’ so they were like ‘let’s bring you up on the show.’” 

Filming took place at the Vox Studios in Manhattan, which Sohini said had few people in it during filming due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite being nervous during her interview with the crew members, Sohini mentioned that they tried to make her comfortable throughout the process, at one point even “trying to change my mood when I got nervous by asking me a fun question.” She spent all afternoon that day filming at the studio. 

Both seasons of the series have scientists, experts, and guests explore various neurological topics. Season one focuses on memory, dreams, anxiety, mindfulness, and psychedelics, and season two delves into attention, the teenage brain, personality, creativity, and brainwashing. 

In particular, episode two of the second season, focuses on how the brain operates in the developmental phase of adolescence, dissecting the archetypal behaviors associated with youth such as recklessness and awkwardness. In order to examine the topic more thoroughly, teenagers were brought in to provide their insight. Sohini, identified on the show as a senior at Townsend Harris, provided scientific explanations surrounding teenage behavior throughout the episode.

Sohini said that she first became interested in neuroscience at the THHS Neuroscience Club, where she found that the student leaders “made all the subjects seem interesting” and “engag[ing].” Additionally, she was able to learn alongside her club members which motivated her to do research on her own. Eventually, in her senior year, Sohini became the club’s president. 

For others that are also interested in neuroscience, Sohini said “Don’t try to force it. […] If you’re not actually into it, it will show and I would say that [..] neuroscience is genuinely my passion and I think that’s what really shined through to the producer and she could see how I was getting into it.” 

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