On Saturday, February 11, five graduate students from the University at Buffalo Neuroscience Club gathered at Canisius College to present a review class for the annual Brain Bee. The Brain Bee is a competition that tests high school students’ knowledge about the brain and is sponsored by the Buffalo Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Dr. Elizabeth Hogan, a faculty member at Canisius College, has been organizing this event for the last 3 years with the help of Neuroscience graduate student Sarah Hayes and other members of the University at Buffalo’s Neuroscience Club. Several UB Neuroscience graduate students, including Sarah Hayes, Katelyn Carr, Jason Kushner, John Fleites, and Ginger Lasky were on hand to review material from a neuroscience handbook published by the Society for Neuroscience and freely available online. Area high school students went over this material with the graduate students to prepare for the competition. Sarah Hayes described this opportunity as “[allowing the graduate students to] inspire high school students to become interested in Neuroscience.”
The Brain Bee competition itself took place on Saturday, February 25th, 2012, at 10am. Eight high school students competed. Four judges, Tadeusz Kaczynski, Lara Duffney, Jay Garaycochea, and Claire Modica, all graduate students in the UB Neuroscience Program, assisted in the event.
The competition consisted of three parts: first, students were required to answer multiple choice questions; second, students were shown images of the brain and were required to name particular regions; finally, students were required to provide short answers to questions of increasing difficulty. In order for a student to advance to part three, it was necessary to complete parts one and two with less than three wrong answers. The students had a renewed slate at the beginning of the third part, and they took turns answering in rounds, with the end of each round bringing about elimination of students with three wrong answers. The winner of the Brain Bee was Aman Shamaa, followed in second by Kelsey Bennett, and in third by Korey Wirth. The winner of each local Bee is invited to compete in the National Brain Bee competition.
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Elizabeth Hogan, Sarah Hayes, and the rest of the UB Neuroscience graduate students that volunteered their time, this year’s Brain Bee was again a great experience for all involved and another success!