Max Talsky '10
Max Talsky '10 grew up in Hanover, N.H. in the shadow of the White Mountains, so perhaps it's no wonder he became an outdoor enthusiast at an early age. He's passionate about hiking, camping, climbing and kayaking, and after graduating from high school he took a year off to take a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course in the Patagonias.
When he arrived at GMC he was ready to declare adventure education as his major-then he took an introductory psychology course his freshman year. "NOLS showed me how much I loved the outdoors but I didn't want it to be my whole life. I was really intrigued by psychology and how I could apply it to different situations."
For his senior thesis, Max is collaborating with assistant professor of psychology Jen Sellers on a study about the hormone testosterone. Sellers' past research on testosterone as a personality variable has been published in leading psychology journals, so Max has the benefit of working with a national expert and graduating with practical research experience.
While testosterone is identified as a male hormone, women's bodies also produce it, and Max explains the current research is divided on how the hormone affects behavior in the two sexes. "There's a debate in the literature-one group says testosterone elicits the same behaviors in men as in women. Other researchers say it causes different behaviors."
Max is also curious about how the gender of scientists doing the studies may be affecting research outcomes. He expects to find a connection, but he understands science is a painstaking process of inquiry-sometimes results are inconclusive. But like tackling an unfamiliar route climbing an ice wall, that's part of the challenge. "I hope there's a connection but if not it will be an excellent senior thesis," he says.
When away from his books this semester, Max has spent a lot of time in the mountains and playing on the GMC lacrosse team. He was named to the all-conference second team in the North Atlantic Conference in 2009 and was the leading scorer for the Eagles this year before his season was cut short by a broken collarbone suffered in a recent match against Castleton. "Our team has really come a long way this year and as one of the seniors I was disappointed I didn't get a chance to play in our last game. But I was introduced as a starter before the game, so I felt like I was part of it."
Depending on how quickly his collarbone heals, Max wants to work this summer as a ranger at Glacier National Park or Teton National Park. He received an internship last summer as a climbing ranger at Yosemite. A member of GMC's prelaw program, he is also looking ahead to taking the LSAT in preparation for law school applications. "I'm looking at Vermont Law School-it seems like a really attractive option because it combines my interests in human behavior and the environment."