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The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Northwood students excel at the Irvine Brain Bee

Neil Godse
BEHIND THE BRAIN: Senior Pedram Jokar analyzes various human brain structures with another high school student at the UC Irvine Brain Bee event.

Northwood students attended the sixth annual Irvine Brain Bee competition on Feb. 10 where they competed in exams and collaborated with peers and neuroscience specialists.

This competition, hosted by the UC Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, focuses on the different parts and functions of the brain. 

Senior Tiancheng Dong, junior Stanley Suen and freshman Ferris Li were amongst the top 10 scorers in the entrance exam and qualified for the second round of examinations. Li was awarded as the regional winner and is looking forward to representing Irvine at the National Brain Bee competition.

“You get an entirely new experience that you don’t get in a classroom,” Suen said. “A typical classroom wouldn’t have rat or cadaver brains like they did here and we got exclusive access to research and lectures.” 

After the qualification exams, students spent time with current neuroscience students, doctors and specialists during lunch, attended a keynote lecture hosted by neuroscience specialists and participated in hands-on lab activities alongside other high schoolers across Orange County. 

“You get really good connections from the event and get to see how medical research works, especially in neurobiology, which I didn’t even know about before doing this competition,” ClubMed co-president senior Pedram Jokar said. “I wanted to introduce this to other students from Northwood interested in medicine this year.”

ClubMed and Manifesting Minds Club promoted this opportunity to their club members. By holding study sessions to prepare for the multiple choice and oral portions of the exam as well as informational lectures about the event. 

Students additionally prepared with review sessions and materials provided by UCI. 

 “Based on what I had seen from the UCI review sessions and website, I knew that the exam would be based on the Brain Thoughts textbook so I reviewed that online over the past week and that is what really helped in the tests,” Suen said. 

Although Brain Bee was created in 2019, the coordinators of the event recently expanded the program to include unique activities, ranging from dissecting and analyzing animal brains to participating in neurological games to better visualize and understand the concepts that they had studied. 

According to coordinators, the event is an opportunity not only for students to compete but also to allow them to display their accomplishments to professors, connect with students of similar interests and develop test taking skills that they can use in the future.

“I was familiar with neurology prior to the competition because of the Biology Olympiad so on top of that to prepare I read the recommended textbook two times through and just continuous repetition of my notes for maybe one to two months before the exam,” Li said. “I would also recommend that for anyone wanting to participate.” 

The nationals exam will be taking place from April 19-21 at the University of Central Florida with the top 40 regional winners across the country. 

“This experience was really great,” junior Zeynep Arat said. “I got to do things like hold a brain and meet new people that are interested in neuroscience also, which is definitely a unique experience so I really enjoyed it and look forward to participating again next year.”

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About the Contributors
Raya Abu-Tarif
Raya Abu-Tarif, Staff Writer
Raya is a staff writer for the Northwood Howler. You can always count on her having a book on her and she can usually weave Taylor Swift, Grey’s Anatomy, or Gilmore Girls into any conversation.
Neil Godse
Neil Godse, Photographer
Neil Godse is a Photographer and Junior at Northwood. He used to love aviation, traveling, and youtube - until junior year happened. Now you can see him doing Physics homework, and in his 13 seconds of break time, he is mindlessly scrolling through reels until the time is just right to start work again (12:00 AM sharp). If it wasn’t obvious already, he loves taking photos, and can be seen stalking people around the school (only for Howler of course).

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