Division of BioMedical Sciences


Programs of Study

(BAW) ACTIVITIES AT MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY of NEWFOUNDLAND

Prizes and sponsors were procured by graduate students and the marketing director.

GOALS

To increase public awareness in the St. John's, Newfoundland area of:

1)     brain issues in general
2)     research endeavours at Memorial University
3)     possible of careers in Neuroscience

  PAST BAW EVENTS

In the past, BAW activities at Memorial University have included:

1)    Proclamations of BAW at St. John's city hall and at the Lieutenant Governor's residence.
2)    Public service announcements on local radio shows.
3)    Demonstrations of neuroscience-related projects at the Newfoundland Science Centre.
4)    Interviews on CBC radio. BAW, the Brain bee and some hot topics in neuroscience were discussed.
5)    Visits to local schools to talk about the brain.

BRAIN STORM COMPETITION

Since 2000, the major thrust of our BAW activity has been organizing competitions involving the brain.  We have focused on high school students because they are at an age when we can encourage them to learn about the brain and possibly choose brain research as a career.  The Brain Storm competition is based upon questions formulated by Dr. Norbert Myslinski, co-ordinator of the International Brain Bee competition.  Questions have been asked by  representatives of the provincial government, major sponsors, radio personalities and local charity organizations.

In 2004, the deputy minister of health asked questions to students, as well as a drug company sponsor and a representative of Epilepsy Newfoundland.  The marketing director of the medical school (in yellow sweater) emceed the event.

 

In 2004, 20 students from 4 high schools took part in the Brain Storm competition held at Holy Heart of Mary High School. About 25 students were in the audience. Cash and other prizes from local sponsors were awarded to all competitors. 

 

Winners of the 2004 Brain Art competition included from left to right C. Smallwood (untitled), B. Keating (complicated), and D. Putt (Draining your brain).  Cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 finishers and all 25 competitors received certificates of merit.  The art was judged by 4 local artists and a neuroscientist/artist.  The art competition began in 2003.

Winners of the 2004 Brain Art competition included from left to right C. Smallwood (untitled), B. Keating (complicated), and D. Putt (Draining your brain).  Cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 finishers and all 25 competitors received certificates of merit.  The art was judged by 4 local artists and a neuroscientist/artist.  The art competition began in 2003.

 Factors Leading to the Success of our Competitions 

1)  * We have found that obtaining funding from outside sources has been very beneficial in enhancing the competitions.  Students appreciate the rewards for their efforts.

*It is critical to have the support of high school teachers and principals.  We find that teachers who teach Advanced Placement Psychology courses are most receptive to the Brain Storm competition. Art teachers encourage students for the Art competition.

* Major sponsors have included pharmaceutical companies and "Let's Talk Science" that provided prize money for the top winners.  The marketing director was instrumental in obtaining the funding.

* Local companies have provided other great prize such as donuts, soft drinks, movie theatre tickets, restaurant coupons, gift certificates.  Each student who participates gets at least one prize (eg. a T-shirt).  Graduate students obtained these prizes.

2)  * Involvement of our graduate students has been essential in the success of the competitions. 

  • Usually one student has championed the art competition. That student has an interest in art and coordinates the judging by arranging local artists.
  • Several students are required to help with the Brain Storm competition.
    • Usually two students help in obtaining prizes from local sponsors.
    • One or two students keep track of the placement of competitors during the competition.
    • A student acts as "Vanna White" to collect one of 3 cards from students as they miss a question.
    • During the introduction ceremonies of the competition, a graduate student tells the high school students of the research opportunities available at our university.