The Second Annual UAA Brain Bee was held Saturday, Feb. 16, on the UAA campus. The Brain Bee is a fun and lighthearted neuroscience competition for high school students in grades 9-12. Students compete in a simple question and answer forum followed by a hands-on practical portion that involves answering structure and function type questions on human brain models. The Alaska Brain Bee is an extension of the International Brain Bee competition, which occurs on both a national and international level.
Blake Endres, a junior from Robert Service High School, was the winner of the Brain Bee. Blake will represent the state of Alaska at the National Brain Bee, which will be held March 2-4 in Baltimore, Md., thanks to generous donations by the WWAMI School of Medicine and the UAA College of Arts and Sciences. Second place was awarded to Sarah Johns, a sophomore at Houston High School, and third place was awarded to Cooper Danner, a junior from Colony High School. Other participants included: Meret Beutler (IDEA Home school, Wasilla), Sherrie Yang (East High School) and Christian Bullard (Wasilla High School). The UAA Brain Bee is sponsored by the UAA Center for Community Engagement and Learning (CCEL) and is one of the service outreach components of the UAA neurophysiology & neuroanatomy course. Eleven UAA students assisted with the Brain Bee and organized Neuroscience games and activities (Ashley Newell, Janine Ray, Megan Aspelund, Alexandra Francian, Kristine Burke, Rachel Franz, Trevor Griffith, Erik Woelber, Kristoffer Auza, Melanie Alvarado, Lisa Griswold).
Caroline Wilson, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, and her community engagement student assistant Sean Costello coordinated the event. Two UAA professors were also judges during the competition: Christopher Jung, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, and Gwen Lupfer, Ph.D., Department of Psychology.
The event was followed by a viewing of “Nanocam: A trip into Biodiversity” at the UAA Planetarium.