New York City’s 2018 Regional Brain Bee

Guest post by Brandon Barrera

The battle of the best and brightest of brainiacs from New York City’s greater metropolitan area high schools came to its conclusion this Saturday at the 2018 Regional Brain Bee, held in the Great Hall at the City College of New York.

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Photo credit: Jacqueline Silberbush

The annual neuroscience competition offers curious young minds the opportunity to flex their gray matter know-how, learn about the latest in brain research, and lets them jump at the chance to get “hands-on” with humanity’s most precious organ—a human brain, in the flesh.

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2017 NYC Regional Brain Bee Champions

For the first-place winner of this year’s Regional Brain Bee, biology was always the high school senior’s favorite subject in school. But it wasn’t until she was 14 years old that Winsome Ching narrowed her focus to neuroscience. After visiting a museum celebrating Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud in Vienna, Ching was “hooked” by his theories on the brain, she says. Since then, she has transitioned from Freud’s psychoanalyses to the biological aspects of brain function.

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Ching’s passion for neuroscience shined through at the Brain Bee this past Saturday, along with her peers from 33 high schools spanning across Long Island, Westchester County, and New York City’s five boroughs. Half of Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall was filled by a grid of white tables, adorned with the students’ name cards, directly facing the judges’ table; the other half was bustling with family members, friends, and teachers all gathered to cheer on the participating students. In the time before the competition began, students were scattered throughout the auditorium for one last chance to review notes and textbook chapters on the brain. Once all participants checked in, the competition began.

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Winners Announced: 2016 “Design a Brain Experiment”

After nearly six months of brainstorming, researching, writing, and waiting, the moment has finally arrived: the two winners of this year’s “Design a Brain Experiment” can claim their victory!

In the fall of 2015, we asked US high school students to come up with their best proposals for a brain-related experiment and submit them to the Dana Foundation’s annual contest. As the objective was not to have a completed science experiment, submissions were judged on the ingenuity and scientific accuracy of their proposed experiments. A record number of entries were received this year, making the task of selecting our winners even more challenging for our judges.

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Test Your Knowledge: Brain Trivia

Do we really only use ten percent of our brains? Is it possible to be genuinely skilled at multitasking? With so much information out there about our brains, separating fact from fiction is not always an easy feat. Part of our mission at the Dana Foundation is to educate the public about the brain and its functions and potential; so we set out to do just that at this year’s NYC Regional Brain Bee.

We approached attendees at random and asked a set of brain-related trivia questions. With a mixed bag of responses, our goal was to not only debunk some common misconceptions, but share a few new facts as well:

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Record Turnout for NYC Regional Brain Bee

Twelfth-grader Melissa Cao, from Long Island’s Bethpage High School, took home the grand prize after a close race with two other finalists at Saturday’s Regional Brain Bee at Columbia University in New York City. The local event is part of an annual international neuroscience competition. Winners advance into the national and then international competitions during the spring and summer months as part of Brain Awareness Week (BAW).

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Program moderator Carol Mason, Ph.D., awards Cao her first place prize. Photo credit: Jacqueline Silberbrush

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