SpectrUM Discovery Area to Host Brain Bee Competition at UM

February 11, 2015

The Big Sky Brain Project and the University of Montana spectrUM Discovery Area will host western Montana’s first Brain Bee competition on Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Skaggs Building on the UM campus. The Brain Bee is a competitive Q-and-A event that allows area high school students to test their knowledge about the most complex organ in the body.

The first-place prize is a scholarship to compete at the U.S. National Brain Bee held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the weekend of March 20-22.

“Within a week of putting out the flyer, we had a number of students sign up from the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, which was really exciting,” said Amanda Duley, spectrUM brain lab manager and Brain Bee event organizer. “I’ve also had teachers and parents asking about this unique STEM experience, so it is apparent that we are filling a need. We hope to be able to expand our reach in the upcoming years.”

A total of 22 students from Florence, Lolo, Hamilton, Corvallis and Missoula are currently registered for the event. Registered participants are invited to attend free brain training workshops led by UM neuroscientists. The trainings include neuroanatomy laboratories using real brains, neurohistology with microscopes, brain imaging identification and a mock Brain Bee training for the live competition.

To learn more about the Brain Bee and the Big Sky Brain Project, visit http://spectrum.umt.edu/exhibits/BrainBee/default.php or call Duley at 406-728-7836.

The Big Sky Brain Project and spectrUM also are seeking sponsors for the event, which is free to participants. Sponsors will be recognized in Brain Bee press and promotional materials, on the spectrUM website, and on a recognition placard placed in spectrUM’s downtown location before the event and for several months after. Interested sponsors can call 406-728-7836 or visit http://spectrum.umt.edu/exhibits/BrainBee/sponsor.php to make a pledge.

The International Brain Bee, founded by Dr. Norbert Myslinski, is a program of Mankind for International Neuroscience Development Inc. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Big Sky Brain Project is a partnership between the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience and the spectrUM Discovery Area. It strives to increase neuroscience literacy in Montana’s K-12 students while putting the next generation of Montanans on the fast track to careers in STEM fields.  

Committed to inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all, the spectrUM Discovery Area is an interactive science center located in the heart of downtown Missoula. Annually, spectrUM serves more than 50,000 Montanans through in-museum and mobile programming.

SpectrUM’s national sponsors and partners include SciGirls, NISE Network, Western Montana Area Health Education Center and the Noyce Foundation. SpectrUM is supported by an array of funding sources, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program. Its Science for All Scholarship Fund has given the gift of science to more than 9,500 Montana children.

The spectrUM Discovery Area Downtown, located at 218 E. Front St. in Missoula, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $3.50 per person. Teachers or schools interested in booking a field trip to the spectrUM museum or arranging a stop on spectrUM’s mobile tour can call 406-728-7836.

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Contact: Amanda Duley, brain lab manager, spectrUM Discovery Area, 406-728-7836, amanda.duley@umontana.edu.