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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
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My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Deirdre Northrup-Riesterer April 17, 2024

Virtual Reality or Lightning in a Bottle?

Escaping the piercing wind along with the everlasting snow of Marquette, I am whisked away to paradise. I peer down at my bare feet and pink toes wiggling in the beating rays of the sun playing peek-a-boo with the horizon and painting the sky crimson peach. The palm trees are gently swaying on both sides of my bronzed body. I gaze up, noticing birds effortlessly soaring in ecstasy. Deep breathes in and out flow simultaneously with the tranquil waves rolling into shore and back into the unknown. I sink a little deeper into the leather couch as the weight of the world is lifted off my shoulders. My body is numb and my mind focused on nothing more than feeling free. Stress, anxiety and worries are automatically washed away thanks to a set of high-tech virtual reality goggles.
In exploration of the astounding world of virtual reality, Dr. Jeff Nyquist, CEO, neuroscientist, and Northern Michigan alumni, has opened the doors of NeuroTrainer to the public. “The World’s First Brain Gym,” as Nyquist refers to it as, is stationed in downtown Marquette on Washington Street.
Once upon a time, 10 years ago to be exact, Nyquist discovered what he considers to be lightning in a bottle. This breakthrough took place at Vanderbilt University while he was exploring cognition. After only two weeks of working with a group of visually impaired kids they miraculously began gaining vision back. In October of 2014 he wiped the dust off this old discovery and fearlessly took a leap of faith in gathering resources necessary to create a company revolving itself around giving power back to the people.
Interested in learning how Northern Michigan University equipped Nyquist for a future career, the Marquette native quickly replied, “It’s really pretty special. I was made into a very strong candidate among a very competitive field.” While acquiring an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Northern Michigan offered the opportunity to work alongside professors in extensive research and provided an immense amount of real life experience that students at higher-end schools don’t even receive. He had no idea what universities would accept him or the vast abilities he developed at Northern. Nonetheless, after applying to eighteen graduate schools, varying from fantasy universities such as Stanford and Harvard to modest community colleges, he was admitted to seventeen of them. Deciding to continue his journey at Vanderbilt University he earned a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience and now owns his very own Brain Gym.
The primary emphasis of the Brain Gym is to provide a workout for the mind resulting in better focus, less distraction and optimal brain as well as eye coordination. These virtual reality exercises are generated to benefit athletics, academics and diminish cognitive decline. On the softer side of NeuroTrainer is the Neuro Spa. This utilizes bliss therapy and guided meditation to develop enduring control over stress, anxiety and sleep issues.
Nyquist believes it is important to focus on one thing at first, and do it very well, before tackling other areas of the virtual world. For the time being, athletes with the desire to outsmart competition or wishing to reduce the impact of concussion are at the forefront of the test site in Marquette. However, “visually impaired individuals will always be at our hearts,” expresses Nyquist.
As you step foot into the Brain Gym your eyes will be captured by the quotes embellished on the walls. One of which declares, “ The body achieves what the mind believes.” These meaningful words reside deeply with Nyquist, “the mind and the body are completely intertwined,” he explains. NeuroTrainer is now offering free sessions at the Brain Gym that will bond the body and mind together in order to provide cognitive advantage. The gym consists of two virtual reality exercise stations with flat screen televisions and virtual reality goggles accompanied by a cozy space for quite relaxation. The company strives to become globally recognized and completely digital in the future. The possibilities are endless, especially for an idea that seemed to be nearly science fiction only a few years ago.
When asked what motivates Nyquist he stated, “There is an ocean of ability right below our surface. We must choose to live in the moment and accept the gifts we are given, not squander them.” Every single one of us has extraordinary abilities; it may just take a little bit of discovering and aspiration to embrace the risk.  His mother’s originality and accomplishments have always been inspirational. With her being a significant role model, he was willing to quit his day job and put everything on the line for NeuroTrainer. Nyquist desires to impact Marquette in a similar way by chasing his dreams and triumph. Entrepreneurship is a process and a treacherous one at that, but Nyquist proclaims, “Seeing others do big things and being successful will change a culture. I learned this at a young age by watching my mom do it herself.”
Not only does Dr. Jeff Nyquist and NeuroTrainer inspire, they provide life-changing alterations.  Whether you choose to unwind in a wooden beach chair surrounded by swaying palm trees and a glistening ocean or enhance physical and mental performance in athletics by placing yourself in an enormous basketball arena, “NeuroTrainer is creating remarkable results for athletes and older folks alike, “ states Nyquist. Step into the wondrous world of virtual reality and become the author of your own destiny.

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