Fifth Annual Competition McMaster University May 26, 2012
On May 26th the top high school students from across Canada came to McMaster University to compete for the right to be called the best brain in Canada. These are the students who won their regional competitions and the right to be called the best brain in their regions. They studied hard to prepare for challenging events that tested their knowledge of neuroscience and their skills at patient diagnosis and neuroanatomy.
The competitors represented regions across Canada, from East to West: St. John's: Greg Penney Halifax: Amrit Sampalli Montreal: Laura D'Aronco Ottawa: Adil Abdulla Toronto: David Kim Guelph: Toluwanimi Odemuyiwa Waterloo: Jessica Johns Hamilton: Manjot Sangha London: William Klanac Edmonton: Sandy Xu Calgary: Shine Vazhappilly Vancouver: Laronna Sewell Victoria: Eugene Tang
All of the competitors were amazing and did extremely well. But there can be only one in first place.
The winners in 2012 are:
First Place and 2011 CCNBB Champion: Laronna Sewell representing Vancouver
Second Place: Adil Abdulla representing Ottawa
Third Place: David Kim representing Toronto
1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners won trophies and cash prizes. Laronna also won a travelling trophy to display at her high school for one year, and the opportunity to work as a summer intern in a neuroscience laboratory. The challenge is not over for Laronna -- she will represent Canada at the International Brain Bee (IBB), July 22-27 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.
What is a Brain Bee?
The Brain Bee is a competition for high school students, grades 9 through 12. Students study topics on memory, sleep, intelligence, emotion, perception, stress, aging, brain-imaging, neurology, neurotransmitters, genetics, and brain disease (just to list a few). It is designed to stimulate interest and excitement about the brain and neuroscience research and it is an exciting opportunity for high school students. The International Brain Bee was established in the 90's by Dr. Norbert Myslinski at the University of Maryland. The brain bee brings the students to the local university in their region to meet students and professors who are doing brain research. It is an avenue of communication, through media and students, to raise awareness of brain research in the community. It is a mechanism to attract bright young minds to the study of neuroscience.
It was a long day with many tough challenges. The morning started out with a hearty hot breakfast buffet, and then a multiple choice exam. From there, a walk to the neuroanatomy labs of the Education Program in Anatomy where they were challenged with the same (very difficult) bell-ringer exam (real human brains) that is given to the medical students at McMaster (thank you Dr. Laurie Doering for offering this excellent experience). That was followed by the Patient Diagnosis exam in the Centre for Simulated Learning where the medical students train. It is set up with realmedical offices and real equipment and offers the Standardized Patient Program with professional standardized patients (SPs) trained to reproduce a patient with a brain disorder or disease. The students interviewed and diagnosed nine different SPs. Finally, after 3.5 hours of morning tests, it is lunch time.
After lunch we launched into the afternoon challenges. First, 20 questions in multiple choice format in the lecture hall where the students performed in front of parents and teachers (holding up A, B, C, and D cards to indicate their answers for all to see). At this point, all the scores from all the tests so far were added up, and the top 3 competitors advanced to the final rounds of oral questions. The first set of questions was set up similar to Final Jeopardy; a question was read aloud and the students had only a few seconds to write down their answer and hold it up to the audience. It was so close! The third place winner was only 1 point away from the other two. The second set of questions required spoken answers, again only a few seconds within which to respond. Another very close competition! 1st and 2nd place were only 2 points apart!
Congratulations everyone in 2012. And the challenge is out for the new competitors in 2013!
The following video show scenes from the morning competition (neuroanatomy and patient diagnosis) -- it is not working quite yet, we will fix it by tomorrow so check back! It is worth watching!