Jordan Raschi hopes her research at the University of Michigan one day helps stroke patients recover their manual dexterity.
Movement has been a theme throughout her life, beginning with the dance classes she took as a girl growing up in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania. She is on track to graduate this December with a Bachelor of Science degree in movement science with a minor in biochemistry.
Raschi plans to attend medical school and become a doctor.
“I’d like to see how this technology may lead me to different discoveries in medical school,” she said of her research. “With my volunteer experience, I’ve worked one-on-one with patients who have suffered from strokes, and it made me realize the importance of research.”
Raschi has been busy during her time at U-M. She belongs to the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and has worked as a teaching assistant, peer adviser and personal tutor. She has volunteered with Heartland Hospice since July 2021, visiting with patients and providing support to their families.
Raschi began working in the School of Kinesiology’s Brain Behavior Lab in the winter semester of her freshman year. She joined the school’s honors program as a sophomore.
Raschi’s research involves transcranial direct current stimulation, or electrical stimulation of the brain. She said such stimulation is typically done through two bilateral pads. However, she uses a special cap with eight tiny electrodes that electrically stimulate targeted areas of the brain and can be operated remotely.
“New research shows that targeting an entire network of the brain could be more beneficial and have a greater effect than targeting one area,” she said.
Raschi is exploring whether the device can be used to enhance manual dexterity in healthy individuals to see if the technology can eventually help people who have had a stroke.
“We’re not just trying to use what they have post-stroke,” she said. “We’re trying to actually gain back some of that they lost.”
Raschi said she has realized during her time at U-M the importance of leading a balanced lifestyle and having a tight-knit group of people, such as peers and faculty members, to rely on for support.
After she graduates with her bachelor’s degree, she plans to tap into her artistic side and travel around the United States and Europe with her partner, a professional disc golf player, for several weeks and spend much of the time drawing.
Then, she hopes to start medical school in fall 2023. She said she wants to focus on either neurology or plastic surgery.
Raschi said one reason she wants to be a doctor is she enjoys helping people.
“I like caring not only for patients, but their families, as well,” she said.