Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2016 - (Page 10)

A Meeting of the Minds at the NATIONAL BRAIN BEE by William Ellsworth I BECAME INTERESTED IN NEUROSCIENCE, AND IN NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES IN PARTICULAR, WHILE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AS A RESULT OF MY GRANDMOTHER'S STRUGGLE WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. IN THE BEGINNING, I THOUGHT HER FORGETFULNESS WAS JUST "GRANNY BEING GRANNY." OVER TIME, IT BECAME APPARENT THAT THERE WAS MORE TO IT. IN FIFTH GRADE, I RESEARCHED ALZHEIMER'S AND OTHER NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES ON THE INTERNET AND BECAME FRUSTRATED BY WHAT SEEMED TO BE A LACK OF TREATMENTS THAT COULD STOP THEIR PROGRESSION. S ince then, I've explored my interest in a variety of ways. In 2014, I participated in a one-day family neuroscience program at CTY, and in 2015 returned to CTY for a residential summer program on neuroscience. I also attended the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Annual Conference the last two years. At the meeting, I listened to a couple of lectures but occupied most of my time talking with Alzheimer's neuroscientists in the poster section. It was at the 2014 conference that I met Dr. David Eagleman, the person I most admire in the field of neuroscience. Dr. Eagleman runs a neuroscience laboratory at the Baylor College of Medicine, researching a broad variety of topics from synesthesia to time perception. His bestselling book Incognito was captivating and helped contribute to my growing interest in neuroscience. I read about the National Brain Bee while searching online for science competitions. Beginning at the regional level, students ages 13-19 display their knowledge of such topics as intelligence, emotions, memory, brain research, and diseases of the brain. I decided to participate both to challenge and enhance my knowledge of neuroscience and to meet likeminded peers. with the top 20 or so students advancing to the oral section. Although the Brain Bee supplies study materials to help students prepare for the competition, my previous experiences at CTY and the SfN meetings played an important role in my preparation, having provided me with valuable laboratory experience and the opportunity to interact with some of the most talented neuroscientists in the nation. Contestants in the oral round are eliminated after answering two questions incorrectly. Questions started off relatively simple (true or false questions, one-word answers) and became more challenging (asking about highly specific genes, procedures, and syndromes). A handful of students were quickly eliminated, narrowing the field to about 10 competitors. I missed an easy question early and knew it would take intense focus and effort to survive the next few rounds. I managed to stick around until, after what felt like hours of fierce competition, only two of us remained. My competitor hadn't missed a single question, and I knew it would be an uphill battle. A Question of Luck Mind Games Question after question ensued; eventually, the organizers ran out of queries and had to search for more. Fortunately, the final question dealt Georgia's competition, held in January, was based on SfN's Brain Facts booklet about brain development, function, and diseases. It consisted of a written exam, 10 imagine SOCIETY FOR NEUROSCIENCE May/June 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2016

Big Picture
In My Own Words Karl Deisseroth, Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry, Stanford University
Mind Brain Philosophy and neuroscience at CTY
A Meeting of the Minds at the National Brain Bee
Mind over Matter Overcoming communication barriers via technology
A Fish of a Different Color My neuroscience internship
Immersed in Brain Science Summer research at Rockefeller University
Brain Training Four graduate students share their research
Prime Time for Brain Science Exciting new findings, from brain maps to mindfulness
Making the Connection Teaching kids about mind, media, and health
Selected Opportunities and Resources
Pitch Perfect The lure of rugby
My Stress-Free Adventure Scuba, sailing, and discovery
Off the Shelf Review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options Interview with neuropsychologist

Lisa Jacobson

One Step Ahead Ten commandments for college success
Planning Ahead for College Can your dream school become a reality?
Students Review New York University
Creative Minds Imagine Fiction contest winners
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games
Mind + Brain Philosophy and neuroscience at CTY

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - May/June 2016