Neuroscience graduate students are involved in many outreach activities to share our knowledge about the brain and neuroscience research with Los Angeles students and people around the world.
Brain Awareness Week
Every year, an entire week in March is devoted to celebrating the brain! Over 250 students from local elementary and high schools come to learn about and be fascinated by the brain. Neuroscience graduate students volunteer to conduct interactive presentations on various neuroscience topics ranging from brain injury and synaptic function to hemispheric differences and motor systems. They also allow the students to tour their laboratories and talk about what they do, showcasing their model organism or general research topic. Brain Awareness Week is an important event that always receives media attention.
For more information about BAW: http://www.bri.ucla.edu/outreach/brain-awareness-week
A neuroscience graduate student TAs this course, in which undergraduate students teach K-12 grade students about the brain. Project Brainstorm aims to stimulate interest in science for children and young adults by providing hands-on learning experiences that emphasize the function and importance of the brain. The students in this course visit classrooms all over Los Angeles to do group activities, interactive games, and hands-on exercises with brain models and real animal and human brains.
For more information about Project Brainstorm: http://www.neurosci.ucla.edu/ProjectBrainstorm.asp
AWiSE STEM Day
This year, a new outreach event was started to encourage girls to do science. With the guidance of UCLA’s AWISE (Advancing Women in Science and Engineering), over 80 graduate students volunteers created a full day of hands-on activities to showcase science, technology, engineering, and math to middle school girls. Neuroscience graduate students had a strong participation presence in all STEM fields, with activities including a DNA extraction, electrolysis, and comparative neuroanatomy.
For more information about AWISE: http://ucla.orgsync.com/org/awise/
Psychology in Action
Run by graduate students in the department of psychology at UCLA, Psychology in Action works to bring psychological research to the public. They often collaborate with neuroscience graduate students and the undergraduate outreach group Interaxon to bring brain education to the general public.
For more information about Psychology in Action: http://www.psychologyinaction.org
To reach a wider audience, neuroscience graduate students contribute to a neuroscience education website, called Knowing Neurons. This website includes short articles about diverse areas of neuroscience in a way that all people can understand. Often these articles include original images and infographics to better illustrate the topic of the article. The website was founded by a current neuroscience graduate student, Kate Fehlhaber, and has featured many other UCLA NSIDP authors.
For more information about Knowing Neurons: knowingneurons.com
NSIDP graduate students also volunteer to talk to grade school children about what it's like to be a scientist. They also participate in local school’s Science and STEM day activities. Other graduate students volunteer to judge the annual California State Science Fair.