The MIND Network is a student-founded organization devoted to promoting diversity in neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology by building multi-level mentoring networks of students and faculty of all backgrounds.
What is Matrix Mentoring?
Matrix mentoring embraces the idea that everyone has something to learn and something to teach. Each participant in the MIND Network is paired with both mentors and mentees at multiple career stages. For instance, a graduate student might be mentored by a faculty member, a postdoctoral scientist, and a more senior graduate student, while in turn being asked to provide mentorship to a fellow graduate student and one or more undergraduates. MIND Network events thus tend to be vertically integrated, where clusters of participants from undergrads to professors swap information and advice about careers, professional development, and life in general. By having multiple points of contact for each participant, matrix mentoring helps to ensure that new members can be woven into a broader tapestry of mutual support and can always find someone they click with in the network.
How do I get involved?
The MIND Network needs participants at all levels, from college freshman to senior faculty. Please send an email to
What does MIND stand for?
The MIND network was founded in 2018 by Rutgers graduate students Keith Perkins and Basilio Furest as a way to pay forward the quality mentorship they had received in their careers and to help ensure that they and their fellow students would continue to receive high quality professional development opportunities. Since they are both neuroscientists, they originally intended the name MIND to stand for Mentoring to Improve Neuroscience Diversity. However, the program rapidly broadened its academic scope and the word MIND is now no longer an acronym but instead refers broadly to all the academic disciplines exploring mind and brain. In this regard we follow the example of ESPN, which originally stood for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network but now doesn’t stand for anything.
MIND Network Leadership
Keith Perkins (President & Founding Director) is a PhD student in the Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience program within the Rutgers Psychology Department, where he studies how the brain's smell system knows about what's happening in the other sense. Keith is a proud native of New Orleans and graduate of Southern University at New Orleans. He's also a Fellow in the Neuroscience Scholars Program run by the Society for Neuroscience. If he's not in the lab, you might find him out in a swamp looking at wildlife or in front of a TV cheering for the Saints.
Basilio Furest Cataldo (Vice-President & Network Liaison) is a PhD student in the Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience program in the Psychology Department, where he studies how the brain’s cerebral hemispheres work together to understand communication signals using the songbird auditory system as an animal model. Basilio was born in Uruguay, immigrated to the United States from Brazil at age 10, and got his undergraduate degree from the College of Charleston. In his spare time, he watches “futbol”, is anxiously waiting for the next FIFA World Cup, and practices the electric guitar.
John McGann is the Director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. His research lab explores how the brain uses learned information to interpret incoming sensory information and respond to it appropriately. John got his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale University and did his postdoctoral training at Boston University. He likes to hike in the woods with his family and tell longwinded stories with great enthusiasm.
Melchi Michel is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department. His research seeks to understand how our sensory systems make statistical inferences about the world and apply that information to determine where to focus the eyes as we look around our environment, as well as how to relate the brain’s processing of visual information to our perception of the visual world. Melchi served in the US Army prior to earning his PhD from the University of Rochester and pursuing postdoctoral training at the University of Texas at Austin.
Rachel Cultice (she/her) (Event Operations Manager) I'm a social psychology doctoral student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I work in the Social Cognition Lab, directed by Dr. Laurie Rudman, and the Close Relationships, Identity, & Stigma Lab, directed by Dr. Diana Sanchez. My research investigates intergroup and interpersonal dynamics with a focus on sexuality, and reducing disparities and discrimination experienced by women. Currently, my projects investigate sexism in the queer community, masculinity, and sexual relationship dynamics using dyadic, longitudinal, and experimental methods. Outside of my research, I am passionate about community work (I am the Vice President of Personnel at the Pride Center of New Jersey), I take ballet classes, and I love playing with my two dogs, Bagel and Betty.