Lyric Westlund

Q&A with Lyric Westlund COS ’25, Science Connects to Innovation Scholarship Recipient

Tell us about yourself (where you are from, your year, hobbies, etc.).

I am a third-year behavioral neuroscience student from a rural area called Perrysburg, about an hour south of Buffalo, NY. I love being outdoors. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and still find so much peace in places with more trees than people. I went to Iceland on dialogue this past summer and lived out of a tent, and it was by far the best experience of my life. Hobbies include reading, gym, writing, exploring, and hanging out with friends.

What inspired you to pursue behavioral neuroscience?

I pursued my major because my dad was a biology teacher, and he had been teaching me about the world around me since I was a little kid. Having spent most of my time outdoors, I was very interested in understanding the world I was interacting with and how I could do everything I could. I have also always loved to challenge myself, so even though I was not formerly taught chemistry in high school, I wanted to prove that I could move to a big out-of-state school and figure out biochemistry. I have changed my major twice, starting with Biochemistry and then a short period in Biology before settling on Behavioral Neuroscience. After finishing my last co-op, I realized that I had put too much emphasis on proving that I could and never paused to ask what I wanted to do. After Iceland, I dove into discovering who I am and what I like to be. Behavioral neuroscience gave me the flexibility to understand the science I found so exciting and be in a field that would allow me to understand people, organizations, and operations. 

Where do you see your entrepreneurship ideas going in the next few years?

Entrepreneurship is a new idea, and I am excited to have the space and resources to explore options. Right now, I am learning all about what it means to be a startup at my co-op, which runs a startup accelerator. It’s been a fantastic experience, and I look forward to where it takes me. I am still figuring out the best way to use entrepreneurship to drive positive change that resonates with my values. I’m excited about what the future holds. 

What advice would you give students interested in entrepreneurship and science?

My advice is not to let it intimidate you. Considering entrepreneurship as a STEM major can feel like starting to hike a mountain where you can’t see the top. It seems impossible, and imposter syndrome creeps like a shadow. However, young entrepreneurs have many mentors and resources if you start looking for them. Eventually, you will see your technical starting point as an advantage, not a disqualifier. 

How has implementing entrepreneurship changed your view on science and your current study area since you started?

I’ve changed my major twice, and it has a lot to do with the effect of integrating entrepreneurship into my plans. I want to be a part of something incredibly innovative and moving. I thrive, prefer environments that allow me to change, and consistently work through my values. I want to be changing and moving towards a better future every day. Startups are the driving factor of meaningful change. They are the center of innovative, economic, and societal growth. This has pushed me to switch the BNS to practice the cross-link between a biological understanding of human behavior and an actionable change method. I want to show why the connection between science and entrepreneurship can change the world. It has taught me to be more confident in my science skills and my ability to apply them to make an impact.

What is something that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of my growth this past year. Like I said, I grew up in the middle of nowhere. I graduated with 25 other kids. It’s Northeastern, which was a change. It was a tough transition, as I know it is for many students. At the end of my first semester, by the time finals came, I was struggling and having a hard time. I tried moving my flight home one day earlier because I was so homesick and stressed with all the change. Now, I live in the middle of Boston and happily call it home; I am a Dean’s List student, I am going to be a top three author on a cancer genetics research paper from the research hospital I’ve been looking up to since I was a kid, I am a writer for HerCampus, I spent a month living in a tent in Iceland and plan to spend next fall abroad, and now I am running a first of its kind robotics accelerator program. At every single one of those steps, there were significant periods of intense uncomfortableness, imposter syndrome, and even feelings of defeat. I never thought I would be here. I’m proud that even though it wasn’t easy, I kept moving, dreaming, and moving forward. It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life so far. 

What does winning this scholarship mean to you?

Winning this scholarship was the first moment I realized that pursuing entrepreneurship is possible for me. Not only is it possible for me, but I could also help others know it’s possible for them. My parents are both schoolteachers and genetically, I’m wired to want to teach whatever I can learn to anyone who desires to listen. This scholarship showed me that I’m on the right track. In addition, as someone who struggles with being able to afford college and often feels the anxiety of handling your own money as a college student, this scholarship has helped relieve some of that tension.

Behavioral Neuroscience