A Global Feat at the 2015 International Brain Bee

Earlier this year, we recognized the winner of the NYC Regional Brain Bee, which took place shortly before the 20th anniversary of Brain Awareness Week.  Now, we are pleased to announce  the winner of the 2015 International Brain Bee.

From August 20-26, the 17th annual International Brain Bee took place on the other side of the globe in Cairns, Australia. Like its regional predecessor, the competition is limited to high school students, ages 13-19, and serves as a stimulating challenge for those interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience. With 24 participants from 24 different countries, this was the largest competition since its inception in 1999. Students journeyed from their homelands of Grenada, Iran, Macau, Romania, Nepal, Ukraine, Japan, and the United States along with many more, to participate.

Hailing from a suburb outside of Sydney, Australia, 16 year-old Jade Pham triumphed after celebrating her prior successes at state and national levels. Pham told United Kingdom reporters that she was motivated to learn more about neuroscience. When it came time to prepare for the event, she “read textbooks, wrote out questions, watched YouTube clips, and spent a day visiting museums and professors.”

Vaughan Macefield, Ph.D., B.Sc., served as the national coordinator for the International Brain Bee. “The competition included identification of structures in real human brains, and diagnosis from clinical signs in videos of real neurological cases,” he explained. “Jade excelled in the latter, scoring a perfect 30/30.” The event was composed of five parts: an anatomy challenge, histology challenge, patient diagnosis challenge, short answer challenge, and live question & answer challenge. When it came down to the final round, Pham edged out her U.S. opponent by merely half a mark.

Currently a junior at James Ruse Agricultural High School, Pham was awarded the grand prize of $3000, which she plans to put towards the cost of schooling and a bow to practice archery. In addition to her monetary trophy, she will have the opportunity to choose a laboratory anywhere in the world for an internship that will aid in her aspirations of one day becoming a neurosurgeon.

Pham told reporters, “I know it was [like] an exam and I should be saying something like ‘snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef [was the most exciting part of the trip], but I love mental challenges, and something that requires more than just memorizing.” When asked if she has any advice for her fellow peers, she remarked, “If you have a passion, go for it.”

To read more about this impressive victory and see pictures of the winner, click here.

– Seimi Rurup

One response

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