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MESA students use the brain to understand science

PULLMAN – WSU President Elson S. Floyd will welcome more than 65 Math, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Spokane-area eighth graders who will play judge for a day as they award top honors to the best student submission during the seventh annual Kids Judge! Academic Fair 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. March 12 at Ensminger Pavilion in Pullman.
A part of National Brain Awareness Week Campaign, Kids Judge! pairs senior level neurophysiology students with students in local communities to enhance scientific awareness and give the children an opportunity to act as exhibit critics.
This year’s event brings underrepresented (minority and female) MESA students from the Spokane area, who will spend the day evaluating and providing feedback on student exhibits and the college student’s ability to explain complex neuroscience concepts in simple understandable terms on such projects as: “Need for Speed,” “Jeepers Creepers,” and “Microbial Mayhem.”
Students also will have the opportunity to engage with WSU faculty and students, hold and identify the structures of real human brains, and enjoy a scoop of Jell-O brain alongside their sack lunches.
“One of the best parts of this event is that students get out of Spokane and are given a chance to be in a university environment,” said Bethany Coupens, Spokane MESA Center Middle School Coordinator. “We get visitors coming into the schools, but rarely get to take these underrepresented students to an actual campus. Some have never been out of Spokane, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to expose students to alternative enrichment routes.”
Neuroscience faculty and student volunteers from Washington State will be on hand to assist kids with the activities as a part of their partnership in the Brain Awareness Week campaign, a series of events held around the world to increase public awareness about the brain. The BAW campaign is sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. 

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