SfN18 Celebrates Brain Awareness

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With this year’s Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting now in full swing, downtown San Diego couldn’t be more bustling. Everywhere you turn, street signs, store windows, and flyers read “Neuroscience 2018” to encourage visitors to check out at least one of the many events happening at the San Diego Convention Center.

Helping to kick off the meeting on Saturday was the Brain Awareness Campaign reception and poster presentation. Alongside the reception stage, shared by numerous Brain Awareness Week “influencers,” were aisles lined with more than 40 colorful poster boards created largely by neuroscientists at various stages of their careers to showcase their neuroscience outreach initiatives.

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DIY: Brainy Crafts for Brain Awareness Week

Two weeks from now, people all over the world will be taking part in activities organized by people who share our love for the brain. (BAW) is a time for everyone to pause from their busy schedules and find a way to celebrate and learn more about the organ that is responsible for everything we do. Not sure where to start? We’re here to help.

We wrote a recent post on making “Sweet Brains”—or colorful cupcakes that resemble brains—for those of you with a sweet tooth. We also took some time to try out “recipes” for do-it-yourself arts and crafts that are great for anyone wanting to sport the latest trends in brain-wear.

First up: Brain Hemisphere Hats

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Brain Awareness Week Reception at SfN

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On Saturday, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) kicked off its annual meeting with 30,000 people registered to attend the five-day program at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, DC. The meeting provides one of the world’s largest forums for neuroscientists to debut research and to network with colleagues from around the world.

The Brain Awareness Week (BAW) reception was one of the first events, and it welcomed a diverse group of organizations to showcase their efforts in promoting the annual campaign to the public. President of SfN and member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, Eric Nestler welcomed attendees and encouraged them to keep creating compelling content and engaging in BAW with hopes of making it a year-round effort.

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Brain Awareness Week Partner Interview: NW Noggin

This is the third in a series of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) partner interviews, in which partners share their BAW experiences and tips for planning successful events. Bill Griesar, Ph.D., is a psychology and neuroscience professor at Portland State University (PSU), Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver, and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), and is the neuroscience outreach coordinator for NW Noggin (Neuroscience Outreach Group Growing In Networks). Griesar works together with Jeff Leake, who also teaches at PSU and WSUV, and is NW Noggin’s art education coordinator.   

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Griesar (left) and Leake (right) at the 2016 Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego

NW Noggin was conceptualized in 2012 for a group of middle school students at a public school in Portland, Oregon. With support from organizations like the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) and the Association for Psychological Science, your group has now expanded to a nationwide focus. Can you talk about how you were able to expand so rapidly in such a short amount of time? 

BG: Through the tireless enthusiasm of our graduate and undergraduate volunteers, who quickly discovered how much they enjoy sharing what they’re learning about the brain with young people and the public. It’s also the multi-disciplinary nature of the outreach, with young scientists and artists working together and discovering similarities in their process: the creative experimentation, the structure-function relationships, the fun, often the messiness, and certainly the need to communicate!

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