Senior Tori Davis gets nervous. Is it Huntington’s? Parkinson’s? It’s 50/50. She has to get this right to move on to the next round. Let’s go with Huntington’s, Davis decides.
“The answer is Huntington’s,” announces the speaker.
I’m going to the fourth round? Davis thinks. I didn’t think I would make it past the second round of the Brain Bee, we didn’t even learn this stuff in class.
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The Brain Bee is a competition held by the Society of Neuroscience that East students attended Feb. 12, it is an international competition held in any city containing a chapter of Society of Neuroscience.
This is the fourth year the Kansas City chapter put on a Brain Bee. Thirty East students, primarily from anatomy classes, attended the bee. Five made it however, none placed.
“I thought it was something beneficial for them,” anatomy teacher Rubye Davis said. “They got to learn some things about the brain that we don’t typically cover so they have questions more in depth. Like they talked about Parkinson’s, just other things that we don’t typically focus on.”
Participants are put through a round of seven questions. If they got the predetermined amount of questions correct they moved on to the next round, overall the competition consisted of eight rounds. The final four people left in the competition moved on to the final round, in which the students continued to answer questions until they got three questions wrong and were eliminated. The order they got out in determines the order they finished in.
The third place contestant received $50, the second place received $100, the winner received $300 and a place in the national brain bee held annually in Baltimore.
This year the national competition will be held in March, the winner of each local brain bee is sent to participate. The rules for the national bee are the same as the local bee, but at this competition the winner gets to go to the international bee.
This year, the international brain bee will be held in South Africa in July. More than 30 countries compete in this bee including: Canada, Germany, India, Kenya, Romania and Singapore. The winner of the international competition is awarded $3,000 and a summer research fellowship with an acclaimed neuroscientist that will be decided according to what country the winner is from.
Senior Elizabeth Wilcox said it was impressive how prepared some people were for the competition because the prize of internationals would be a big deal if you are into neuroscience.
The local brain bee also presents an opportunity for students to get to meet the scientists in the area.
“It’s like a day for them to network with people,” Rubye Davis said. “Because they tell when they’re done to come talk to them because they’re all scientists and in years past we’ve actually had students who have gotten jobs working for the summer with them. So it’s a good way for them to do more with science.”
The biggest part of the bee is to get the students excited about neuroscience.
“Really anyone who participates here can intern here or work in the lab in the summer,” Stefanie Kennon-McGill, secretary for the Society of Neuroscience Kansas City said. “It’s a really great opportunity to get involved and kind of get a leg up on their research careers instead of waiting until they get to college.”
Overall, Wilcox made it to the third round and enjoyed the experience.
“Looking back, I am really glad I did it,” Wilcox said. “Because we got over 10 points of extra credit for doing it and my grade definitely could use it. I could have prepared myself a little more since I didn’t study at all and didn’t do very well.”