University of Vermont

Middlebury H.S. Student Wins Fifth Annual Vermont Brain Bee at College of Medicine

2014 Vermont Brain Bee participants
Participants in the 2014 Vermont Brain Bee participate in the practical exam in the Pathology Lab in the UVM College of Medicine's Given building. (Photo: Jennifer Nachbur)

The human brain is a mystery to many and a challenge to others who are fascinated by its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, the nervous system, and behavior and learning. On Saturday, February 8, 2014, more than 20 high school students from across the state of Vermont embraced that fascination, demonstrating their neuroscience know-how at Vermont’s fifth annual Brain Bee. Hosted at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the event tested students' brain and nervous system aptitude through written, practical and oral examinations.

Middlebury Union High School senior Jonah Lefkoe received first place at the Bee. Evan Trus, a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vt., earned second-place honors, followed by a tie for third place by Ian Lund of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, Vt., and Sonia Howlett from Middlebury Union High School.

The Sullivan Classroom in the College’s Medical Education Center served as the event "hub," with small-group classrooms and the Pathology Lab also utilized for the annual statewide competition, which aims to promote learning about and interest in the field of neuroscience among highschoolers. UVM neuroscience graduate students and faculty assisted with examinations, judging and scoring at the Bee.

In addition to completing examinations, student participants listened to neurological and psychiatric case presentations by Sharon Leach, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist at the Stern Center for Language and Learning, and UVM/Fletcher Allen child and adolescent psychiatry fellow Feyza Basoglu, M.D., as well as a lunchtime keynote address by UVM Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Michael Cannizaro, Ph.D., regarding "What’s the Story with the Prefrontal Cortex? Shedding Some Light on the Matter.” Following the final Oral Bee Round, during which the winners were determined, participants heard from a panel of UVM undergraduate and graduate students studying neuroscience.

Evan Trus, second place winner of the Vermont Brain Bee, will represent Vermont at the National Brain Bee at the University of Maryland in Baltimore on March 14 and 15, 2014. First-place winner Jonah Lefkoe is unable to attend due to a previous commitment, the Middlebury High School spring drama production.
The Vermont Brain Bee is presented by the Vermont Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and the UVM Neuroscience Graduate Program and Neuroscience, Behavior and Health Initiative. Learn more about the 2014 event.