Teenage brains were brimming with neuroscientific knowledge at the 2nd Annual Vermont Regional Brain Bee held February 12, 2011 in the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Medical Education Center. A total of 24 Vermont high school students participated in the event.
Following a welcome from Bernardin, student participants were split into two groups for the 50-question written exam and 25-question wet specimens and histology exam. Serving as judges, Jaworski, Bernardin, Morielli and Mark Stefani, scored the results of the exams and identified the top 50 percent of students qualified to move into the semi-final oral exam portion of the event. Standing in a semi-circle facing the screen, the remaining 15 students took turns answering the question projected in front of them. The oral exam featured five rounds of questions, each read by Dr. Sharon Leach.
Responses were recorded and judged by Nishi and Morielli. During lunch, judges tallied each of the semifinalist’s scores while participants and family members listened to a keynote lecture by Leach on “The Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Head Injury and Rehabilitation.” The top five students – Cameron Clayton (Champlain Valley Union), John Corbett (Otter Valley Union), Emma Gause (Champlain Valley Union), Gregory Meyer (Champlain Valley Union) and Benjamin Teasdale (Champlain Valley Union) – engaged in a double-elimination, “Final Jeopardy”-style format oral exam developed by Jaworski, who attended the national Brain Bee in 2010 and adapted this year’s Bee format to mimic the national examination structure. Sitting in chairs at the front of the lecture hall and facing judges Nishi and Stefani, the finalists listened to each question posed by Jaworski, then each recorded his/her response on a paper tablet and raised it up for the judges to view. After four rounds, Gregory Meyer was named the winner of the Brain Bee and his CVU classmates Cameron Clayton and Benjamin Teasdale won second and third place respectively.
The winners received cash prizes provided by the Vermont Chapter for the Society for Neuroscience. As the first-place winner, Meyer will participate in the U.S.A. National Brain Bee at the University of Maryland in Baltimore on March 18 and 19, 2011. The Vermont Brain Bee is one of the outreach activities for undergraduate and graduate students encouraged by the UVM Neuroscience, Behavior and Health Spire.
02-12-2011 By Jennifer Nachbur