What is the Brain Bee?

Founded by Joe Bello, a current MD student at Dartmouth. Joe has given the responsibility to Ernesto Navarro. With the help of the UCF College of Medicine Faculty (Dr. Mohtashem Samsam and Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya) and the education community in Orange County, have developed the “Central Florida Brain Bee” that was hosted at UCF Main Campus in the Nicholson School of Communication in February 2017. The Brain Bee is a high school competition that aims to expose young minds to neuroscience. Each high school that participated in the competition formed a “neuroscience club” that met after school once a week. UCF Student Neuroscience Alliance members were sent to each of these schools weekly, as volunteers, with pre-made powerpoints to discuss with the high school students. The lecture topics each week varied, but included psychological disorders, neuroanatomy, brain development, stress, aging, sleep, and even current research in neuroscience. The competition itself was broken up into 3 “phases”; Phase 1 was a written exam that consisted of 30 multiple choice and fill in the blank questions, Phase 2 was a neuroanatomy lab-style exam where the students had to name structures and their functions, and phase 3 was a verbal exam where the top 10 students got up on the stage and competed in an elimination style Q&A. In between each phase, speakers from the UCF College of Medicine (Dr. Mohtashem Samsam and Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya) talked about current research, the UCF Medical School, and modern neuroscience. Cash prizes, trophies, food and drinks, and small workbooks and flyers were given to the competitors, and the 1st place winner was offered a trip to Baltimore to compete in the National Brain Bee. 32 High school students from 4 different high schools competed in the 2017 Brain Bee. Since the first successful competition, several more schools have expressed interest in competing in the 2018 Central Florida Brain Bee which will be taking place in February of 2018.

We are looking for volunteers willing to mentor high school students in preparation for the 3rd Annual Central Florida Brain Bee to be hosted at UCF in February 2019.

As a Brain Bee volunteer, you would register for days you could visit a high school to teach (usually in groups of 2-4 people). The powerpoint will be sent to you in advance and is based on a free pdf online:https://www.brainfacts.org/the-brain-facts-book. The lectures usually take about 20 minutes, and the remaining time is spent answering questions and offering advice to the high school students about college, applications, and career choices.

If this is something you would be interested in, click the link below and fill out the volunteer form:


Thanks for your interest! 

How you can help

As a volunteer, you will visit high schools to teach a variety of topics in neuroscience including degenerative disorders, neural development, neuroanatomy, sensory organs, psychological disorders, and many more.