This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Calgary Brain Bee and the Canadian National Brain Bee. The Calgary Brain Bee competition is run in conjunction with Brain Awareness Week held each March to promote awareness of brain research globally. Participating high school students in grades 9 through 12 in the Calgary area were tested on their knowledge about the brain and neuroscience research.
On March 18, Anjali Patadia, a grade 10 student of Westmount Charter School was crowned the winner of the 2017 Calgary Brain Bee, hosted by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) and supported by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute Trainee Organization (HBITO). Second place honours went to Aaron Abraham, grade 10, of Webber Academy. Anjali will continue on to the Canadian National Brain Bee held at McMaster University in May where she will compete against other local Brain Bee winners from across the country.
Asked to comment about preparing for the competition Anjali remarked, “I studied an hour every day on the bus coming home from school.” As for nerves, Anjali said, “I was so nervous [during the oral round] that I thought I was going to have a heart attack!” To add to the excitement of the day, March 18 was Anjali’s 16th birthday. She will also be offered a $1,000.00 entrance scholarship to the University of Calgary for winning the Brain Bee.
To prepare for the National Brain Bee in Hamilton, Anjali will have a team of tutors from the HBITO to further her understanding and knowledge of neuroscience related topics including neuroanatomy, brain chemistry, neurological disorders, brain development, and the history of neuroscience. The HBITO consists of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows under the supervision of HBI members, and are engaged in many community outreach initiatives such as the Calgary Brain Bee. Their support has been instrumental in making the annual competition a success each and every year.
Dr. Andy Bulloch, a professor in the departments of community health sciences and psychiatry, and Deputy Director of the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education, reflected on his involvement over the past decade, “When we started Brain Bee 10 years ago it was a modest affair consisting of a single oral competition run one evening after school. I had no idea that 10 years later we would be running a two-part competition on a Saturday, and that the HBITO would be providing tutoring to the students. With the neat interactive displays available during the lunch period, Brain Bee has evolved into a sophisticated event and great PR for the HBI.”
Congratulations to Anjali and thanks to all the participants and volunteers for their enthusiasm in making the Calgary Brain Bee a special event. The HBI looks forward to inspiring youth for another 10 years in neuroscience and brain research.