This is the first in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Kyle Frantz, Ph.D., is a professor and science educator in the Neuroscience Institute and department of biology at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Dana Foundation: You’ve helped organize the “52 Weeks of Brain Awareness” programming in Atlanta, Georgia for many years now. Are there any new developments planned for Brain Awareness Week (BAW) in March?
Kyle Frantz: Our frequent poster title “52 Weeks of Brain Awareness” in Atlanta reveals our approach to sharing enthusiasm about the brain and behavior year round. We engage tried-and-true, as well as novel, programs, events, and lesson plans every year.
One of our hot endeavors this year is the second annual city-wide Atlanta Science Festival, founded in part by long-time brain awareness supporter, Jordan Rose of Emory University’s Center for Science Education. Literally thousands of visitors will touch a human brain at festival events (carefully, and with gloves, of course)! A captivating new lesson plan we are implementing in several programs uses the Roboroach from Backyard Brains to control cockroach movements remotely by microstimulation of their antenna nerves. We’re working with local experts Chris Goode, LizAnn Amadei, and David Nicholson to wow audiences with these critters and enable participants to design experiments based on this technology. New developments like these are usually based on audience feedback, presenter interests, and ideas from collaborators and neuroscience educators around the world.