So. Md. Brain Bee Will be All the Buzz Feb. 21

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (Feb. 2, 2009)—The Third Annual Southern Maryland Brain Bee will be held on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 1 p.m. in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary's Hall at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). The event is a one-day academic competition for local high school students. The Brain Bee is free and open to the public.

"The International Brain Bee motivates our youth to learn more about the brain," said International Brain Bee founder Dr. Norbert Myslinski of the University of Maryland. "We need their energy and their passion to help find cures for Autism, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and other brain disorders." Myslinski explains that the Brain Bee is an attempt to motivate students to learn about the brain, to capture their imaginations, and to inspire them to pursue careers in biomedical brain research.

The local Brain Bee is planned, coordinated, and executed by volunteer SMCM students in the Neuroscience cross-disciplinary minor program and in the Women in Science House (WiSH) LLC. This year's sponsors include the SMCM neuroscience program, admissions office, and department of psychology. Brain Bee volunteers have also raised money from fundraising activities and t-shirt sales at "SMCM Neuroscience Day" in November.

Students can enter the Brain Bee as individuals, as part of a three-person team, or both. No prior knowledge or classroom experience in neuroscience is necessary, and there is no entrance fee to participate. The students are provided with study materials (a 74-page book with illustrations, also available as a CD or for free download) about the brain and nervous system in advance. They compete in several rounds of question-and-answer, neuro-anatomy identification, and mock patient diagnoses. This year there are 66 students registered to compete, with 19 groups and 17 individuals planning to participate. The 66 students are from five high schools: Leonardtown High School, Great Mills High School, St. Mary's Ryken High School, Forrest Career and Technology Center (all in St. Mary's County), and Patuxent High School (in Calvert County). This doubles the number of participants in last year's Brain Bee, which had 33 students from three high schools.

There are nearly 70 local Brain Bee coordinators worldwide that conduct competitions annually. The winner of each local Brain Bee is invited to attend a National Brain Bee competition in his or her own country, and the winner of each National Bee is invited to compete in the International Brain Bee Championship. The U.S. National champion receives $1,500, a paid summer neuroscience research internship, and a trip to the International Brain Bee Championship in Montreal.


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