The 2nd Annual UAA Brain Bee was held Saturday, Feb. 16, at the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building on the UAA campus. The Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition for high school students in grades 9–12. Students competed in a question and answer forum followed by a hand’s on practical portion that involved 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, is the winner of this year’s Brain Bee. He will represent the state of Alaska at the National Brain Bee on March 2–4 in Baltimore, Maryland, with support from the WWAMI School of Medical Education 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). The event was coordinated by Caroline Wilson, Ph.D., UAA Biological Sciences, and her student assistant Sean Costello. Two UAA professors were also judges during the competition: Christopher Jung, Ph.D., Biological Sciences, and Gwen Lupfer, Ph.D., Psychology. The event was followed by a viewing of “Nanocam: A trip into Biodiversity” at the UAA planetarium.