The Brain Bee is a key component of Brain Awareness Week (BAW), an educational outreach mission aimed at increasing public awareness about neuroscience. BAW was first launched in 1996 through the joint efforts of the Society for Neuroscience and The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and is celebrated annually during the third week of March. Neuroscientists around the world volunteer their time and efforts to increase public interest and knowledge about the brain and the importance of neuroscience research. BAW activities include public lectures, neuroscience laboratory tours, and hands-on projects to engage students of all ages in learning about neuroscience.
The first National Brain Bee competition started in 1999 and is now a regular event held during Brain Awareness Week in Baltimore, MD. Local brain bees are offered throughout the United States, typically in January and February. There will be four local brain bees offered in Michigan this year. We are excited to join our fellow neuroscientists by hosting the First annual Southwest Michigan Brain Bee at Western Michigan University on February 5, 2011. Please be aware that each student is allowed to compete in only one local brain bee. Furthermore, we are offering tours of our Neuroscience Laboratories at WMU so students can see the fun and exciting research that is happening at WMU!
Winners of all the local brain bee competitions will be invited to participate in the US National Brain Bee Championship, to be held in Baltimore, Maryland on March 18-19, 2011. The winner of the Southwest Michigan Brain Bee will receive $500 to be used solely for participation in the US National Brain Bee in Baltimore. If the winner decides not to attend the US Championship, the money will be offered to the runner-up. If the runner-up is unable to attend, the prize money will not be awarded. The US National Champion is typically awarded $1,500, a paid summer internship with an esteemed neuroscientist, and a trip for two to the International Brain Bee Championship. Additionally, the school of the US winner is awarded a prize. In past years, the winning school received a microscope, compliments of Carl Zeiss, Inc.