A University of Maine at Presque Isle Biology professor is assisting faculty from the University of Maine at Machias in offering the state's first-ever regional Brain Bee competition. This event is associated with the International Brain Bee, a not-for-profit neuroscience competition designed especially for high school students that tests their understanding of brains and the nervous system and how they work together.
UMM's Psychology & Community Studies Program, with support from UMPI's Dr. Rachael Hannah, will be hosting the Maine Regional Brain Bee for high school students across Maine on Saturday, Feb. 2 beginning at Noon in UMM's Science Room 102. The snow date is Saturday, Feb. 9.
UMM's Admission team will be providing lunch and admissions tours for participants and parents/chaperones. Those interested in participating are encouraged to sign up soon; the registration deadline is Monday, Jan. 25. To view a short web video that provides more detailed information about the event, please visit www.machias.edu/brain-bee.
Organizers hope this event will help to inspire young people about brain research. Directed by founder Dr. Norbert Myslinski of the University of Maryland, this competition is intended to increase high school students' interest in the brain and inspire them to pursue careers in brain research. The motto for the International Brain Bee is "Building Better Brains to Fight Brain Disorders." The winner of the Maine regional competition will advance to the national competition taking place on March 4-5 at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
"As an external competition, the Brain Bee promotes quality learning and enhances the background of future psychologists. By bringing high school students to a college campus in the pursuit of academic excellence, we also hope to raise their aspirations," said Dr. Uriah Anderson, Assistant Professor of Psychology at UMM. He and Dr. Lois-Ann Kuntz, UMM Associate Professor of Psychology, are coordinating the Maine Regional Brain Bee.
Dr. Hannah, a neuroscientist and UMPI Assistant Professor of Biology, will be serving as the official judge for the Maine competition. She helped initiate the Vermont Regional Brain Bee competition and hopes to bring high school students from Aroostook County to the Maine event.
"I am very excited to be the judge for the first annual Maine Regional Brain Bee and to help get students from Aroostook and Washington counties, and across Maine, interested in science and involved in an international event," Dr. Hannah said. "Faculty members from UMM and I are looking forward to meeting high school students who are interested in life sciences and providing them more opportunities to experience science outside of the classroom."
In addition to the lunch and competition, there will be neuroscience demonstrations before and after the Brain Bee in order to further promote psychological science to participants and non-participants alike. Students from Dr. Kuntz's physiological psychology course along with several others will be assisting with the competition.
A free online question and answer session web video will be made available starting Friday, Jan. 18 to allow potential participants, parents, high school advisors, and/or guidance counselors from across the state of Maine to learn more about the competition and explore sample questions. Organizers will also provide all potential participants with free access to an online study course developed by university faculty to help them prepare for the competition. The event registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 25.