Jericho Junior Places Second In 2023 Brain Bee Competition


Great Neck South High School sophomore Erin Wong buzzed her way into first place at the 2023 Long Island Brain Bee competition, narrowly edging out the second and third-place winners Stephanie Hsu, a junior at Jericho High School and Melody Hong, a sophomore at MacArthur High School during two rounds of testing, including a multiple-choice exam based on Brain Facts – a book published by the Society for Neuroscience, and a laboratory practical exam following a series of hands-on lab demonstrations to identify anatomical structures and functions in real human brain specimens.
The event was hosted by the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell on March 4, 2023. This buzzworthy event brought together nearly 70 students from more than 25 Long Island high schools throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, to test their brain knowledge. The competition exposes young scholars to the study of the brain and motivates early career interest in the fields of neuroscience research and clinical sciences. Crowned “queen bee,” Wong will go head-to-head with other regional contest winners during the US Brain Bee at the University of California next month.
As part of the simulation, students rotated from station to station, examining different brain-related models and presentations, while being guided by Zucker School of Medicine student volunteers and Northwell Health faculty. As part of this unique opportunity, student volunteers got to be teachers for the day, teaching young scholars anatomical brain facts. For student Shahzaib Saleem, Class of 2024, volunteering for the Brain Bee was a no-brainer. “I definitely want to teach one day which is why I chose to do this. My future is in medical education and I love neuroscience,” explained Saleem. “I wish I had something like this in high school because it’s important to have that exposure early on. This is a great opportunity for the students to figure out whether or not this is something they’re interested in, and it helps students know what you’re going to be looking at and what you’re going to be working on within the field.”
Participants also learned about contemporary topics relating to the brain by attending a research poster session, where they were able to learn further from Zucker School of Medicine students about brain-related studies, topics and projects. Keeping with the theme of advancing understanding of the brain and medicine, the high school students took part in a neuroradiology session with neurology resident and Zucker School of Medicine alum, Dr. Brian Emmert, ’19. As part of his presentation, Dr. Emmert shared MRIs and CT scans of brains that have experienced trauma, strokes, and tumors.
“It was great to be back teaching these high school students; it feels like home,” said Emmert, who will begin a fellowship in epilepsy and medical education at the University of Pennsylvania after finishing his final year of residency later this year. “Studies have shown that early exposure to neuroscience makes people less apprehensive about studying the brain and approaching the brain. There is a shortage of neurologists and neuroscientists, and so it’s important for us to keep pushing and fostering the next generation and keep them interested and engaged, especially as our population ages and we need more people to treat neurological diseases.”
Special thanks to Dr. Nassrallah, Vanessa Reddin, PhD, associate professor, Science Education, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Brain Bee 2023 organizer, and Maya Frankfurt, PhD, professor, Science Education, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Brain Bee 2023 judge, faculty from Hofstra University departments of Biology and Psychology, as well as Zucker School of Medicine students, physicians and neuropsychology residents from Northwell Health for assisting with competition activities and the Neuroscience Club at Hofstra University. Generous support of the LI Brain Bee 2023 was provided by Northwell departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Lenox Hill Hospital, Cardiology at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Radiation Medicine at Northwell Health and Radiology- Vascular/Interventional Radiology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
—Submitted by the Zucker School of Medicine


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