Members of the UB Neuroscience Graduate Student Association and the Buffalo Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience helped organize the local Brain Bee competition for the fifth consecutive year. The Brain Bee is a competition for high school students in which they are tested on their knowledge about the brain. The event was led by Dr. Elizabeth Hogan, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Canisius College, with the help of several Neuroscience graduate students.
Prior to the Brain Bee competition, NeuroGSA members Sarah Hayes, Tom Covey, Nived Nair, Courtney Benson, and Claire Modica conducted a review class for the competitors based on the material from the Brain Facts handbook. Brain Facts is a free access primer published by the Society for Neuroscience covering information about the brain and nervous system, and the reading material serves as the basis on which the Brain Bee students are tested. The UB graduate students prepared presentations from each chapter in the Brain Facts book which enveloped a wide range of neuroscience topics including development of the nervous system, the neural basis of learning and memory, neurodegenerative diseases, and research techniques used to study the nervous system.
The Brain Bee competition was held on February 15rd, 2014 at Canisius College’s new Science Hall. Three UB graduate students, Lara Duffney, Jay Garaycochea, and Jia Cheng, assisted in the event as judges. During the competition, students answered multiple choice and short answer questions about the brain and nervous system, and they were also required to identify different parts of the brain. Each year the winner of the Western New York Brain Bee goes on to compete in the National Brain Bee.
The continued effort of Dr. Hogan and the UB Neuroscience graduate students has led to another successful Brain Bee. The NeuroGSA’s involvement in the community provides enduring motivation for high school students to learn about the brain and pursue careers in neuroscience.