The Vermont Brain Bee (VBB) is a competition and a day of exploration for high school students with interests in neuroscience and the inner workings of the brain. These students can demonstrate their knowledge at the annual Vermont Brain Bee held at the University of Vermont each February.

We have held 11 Annual Vermont Brain Bees, going from 11 students from 3 schools participating in 2010, to 48 students from 8 schools participating this past February, 2019. Over the past eleven years, more than 380 students have participated in the Vermont Brain Bee. This event has even inspired many to pursue neuroscience as a career. And there are now more than 60 competitors at the National level – proof that high school students’ interest in neuroscience has grown across the country! We’d love to reach more students in more rural parts of the state so that they, too, can participate in this exceptional and exciting, educational program that has an impact on each of their futures in science. Best of all, this event is free!


Grace Widelitz, 2019 Third place finisher, 2018 (finalist) & 2017 participant, Middlebury Union High School 2019, University of Pennsylvania 

Through the little amount of neuroscience coursework at MUHS, I began to discover my passion for neuroscience, but wanted more. Then I found the Vermont Brain Bee, the perfect next step to exploring the field with access to amazing UVM professors and grad students who taught me so much about their research and shared fundamental neuroscience knowledge. Having the opportunity to more deeply explore the field through the VT Brain Bee helped confirm that I want to continue studying neuroscience in college and I believe that anyone who has the opportunity to participate in this unique experience should take it!

Kameron Clayton, Champlain Valley Union High School 2010, 2011 VBB alum, PhD candidate in Acoustic Neuroscience, Harvard University.

As a high school student growing up in rural Hinesburg, I received little exposure to neuroscience through my coursework. Luckily for me, and now many other students, the VT brainbee was created in my Junior year of high school, 10 years ago. By leveraging the expertise and resources of the UVM neuroscientists, Lisa has created a treasured educational experience, one which led me to pursue neuroscience as a career.

Jonah Lefkoe, 2014 VBB winner, 2013, 2012 participant, Middlebury Union High School, Harvard University.

Participating in the Vermont Brain Bee was one of the most important experiences of my high school career. Vermont Brain Bee allowed me to pursue my intellectual passion for neuroscience, and the work that I did in connection to my high school neuroscience club was vital for my admission to college. I am convinced that enrichment programs like Vermont Brain Bee are essential for expanding Vermont high school students’ collegiate prospects and academic vistas.

Picture of Tony Morielli

Tony Morielli, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Director of Graduate Neuroscience Program, University of Vermont. VBB neuroscience judge.

Each year the Vermont Brain Bee gives Vermont high school students the opportunity to work directly with UVM neuroscience undergraduate and graduate students.  These interactions start with undergraduate and graduate students teaching high school students using active teaching methods, hands-on work with neuroanatomy samples, and human brain cuttings at our neuroscience boot camps. In sum, the neuroscience boot camp and VBB provide outstanding formats for mutually enriching interactions between the members of the UVM scientific community and the Vermont scientists of the future.