Local students are winners in Vermont Brain Bee

BURLINGTON — The fifth annual Vermont Brain Bee (VBB) was held Saturday, Feb. 8, at the University of Vermont’s Medical Education Building in Burlington.
“What a fun and successful day,” said Sharon Leach, PhD and neuropsychologist from the Stern Center for Language and Learning. “We are definitely building beautiful brains in these high school students.”
The Brain Bee is an annual neuroscience competition open to all Vermont high school students. It involves written, practical and oral question sessions. Between these testing sessions and activities to increase knowledge and interest and add fun to the day, there were a 45-minute mock session of neurological and psychiatric case presentations; a keynote talk on brain injury and language research; and, to conclude, a motivational panel discussion by UVM neuroscience undergraduate and graduate students.
Nearly 20 high school students from eight different Vermont high schools participated. Mount Abraham Union High School’s one participant, Hannah Funk, did very well. Both participating Middlebury Union High School students finished in top-three spots: Sonia Howlett tied for third and Jonah Lefkoe took first.
VBB Coordinator Lisa Bernardin, also from Middlebury, says she was extremely proud and excited to see this outcome, as Lefkoe has chosen to study neuroscience after high school. She says he has shown much motivation for neuroscience for the past three years, having been involved in the MUHS Brain Science Club. Students in the club learn brain facts and then present some basic brain information to local elementary school students in a fun manner.
The first-place winner of the regional Vermont Brain Bee goes to the national Brain Bee in Baltimore, Md., on March 14 and 15. Due to a prior commitment, however. Instead, the second-place finisher, Champlain Valley Union High School senior Evan Trus, will represent Vermont.
For more information about the VBB and other neuroscience outreach, visit www.vermontbrainbee.com.  

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