This week, the DKPL Children’s Department would like to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Chris Hill,  Assistant Professor of Biomechanics at NIU. If you have ever wondered how the brain makes your body work, then read on to find out about Dr. Hill’s research and what you need to study to do work similar to his.

What is your name? 

Chris Hill 

What is your job title and where do you work? 

Assistant Professor of Biomechanics and Neuromotor Control 

What do you do for a living? 

I study how the brain changes when you learn how to do new things. 

Note from Miss Julie: Dr. Hill sent me a link to this video from Khan Academy that he likes because it explains the process of how the brain learns. Enjoy!

If someone is interested in your line of work, what should they do to achieve their desired outcome? Is there a certain field of study or certain experiences that they should strive for? 

The first step is for you to finish high school and go to college. When I went to college, I studied kinesiology, which is the field that tells us what makes the body move. However, you could study other fields like biology, neuroscience, or psychology. The most important thing I did was get involved in research early on. I went to people that were researching topics I was interested in and asked if they needed help. They never said no. This gave me valuable experience and connections with people in the field that I would not have had otherwise.    

With regards to your work, what is the most amazing or exciting thing you have ever discovered, learned, or created? 

The most amazing thing I have found in my studies is that when you learn, your brain physically and permanently changes. Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s just like riding a bike; you never forget”? When you learn how to ride a bike, your brain physically grows new connections that lets you perform and remember how to ride a bike without ever forgetting. These changes are the reason why you never forget how to do certain tasks. 

What are your hobbies? Do you like comic books, manga, music, scifi? Sewing or art? Tell us what you like! 

In my spare time, I like playing golf and video games. I’m into reading both comics and books. 

Tell us something fun about yourself! A silly story, a fun thing you have done, or something you are proud of… what would you like the children and families of DeKalb to know? 

Growing up in rural Mississippi, my parents and grandparents never had the opportunity to finish high school and go college. As result, my family made it a priority for me to further my education and I am the first in my family to graduate from both high school and college. I am proud what I have done with the opportunity my family gave me. 

Do you have a favorite section in the library to read or find books? What is your favorite memory of time spent in the library? 

I remember going to a library with my grandparents during the summer breaks between school years. Like most kids, I was obsessed with dinosaurs. Every time we would go to the library, I would go directly to section with the dinosaur books and spend, what felt like hours, going through those books. 

Please list your favorite book (or books!) from when you were a child. Why did you love this book so much and how old were you when you read it? 

The Hobbit was my favorite book. I first read it when I was 12. 

What genre do you like to read now that you are an adult? Do you have a favorite author? 

I read a mixture of genres. Currently I am reading a biography about the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. My favorite author is Cormac McCarthy.   

If families wanted to see the work that you have done or read a book or research paper that you have written, where would they go to view your work?   

They can go to my profile on Researchgate. If they find a research article of mine that they can’t access openly, they can always email me and I would be more than happy to send them a copy.  
Note from Miss Julie:  Dr. Hill’s email is [email protected] should you have any issues reading his papers.

Thank you, Dr. Hill, for taking the time to tell us about yourself!

If you are interested in reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, or watching the movie or listening to an audiobook, take a look at our choices below!

Audiobooks and eBooks can be found at Omni OverDrive.

Audiobooks, eBooks, movies, music, and books about The Hobbit can be found on Hoopla.
Or, you may reserve a physical copy of the book, movie, or music directly from the DeKalb Public Library.   

If you are interested in learning more about the brain, or in doing fun puzzles to grow your brain, check out the 78 offerings that are available on Hoopla.

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