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March 3, 2003
Fourth Annual Brain Bee Held at Southampton College

Long Island High School Students Display Superior Skills in Quiz Competition

Contact:
(631) 287 8313
Fax: (631) 283 4081

Southampton, NY- Southampton College was buzzing with tension this Saturday as the top science students in the area vied for first place in the fourth Annual Brain Bee. Participants traveled from towns all over Long Island, including Holbrook, Port Jefferson Station, West Babylon, Lindenhurst, Selden, and Roslyn Heights.

Thirteen students came to Southampton College to test their knowledge of the brain and how it relates to intelligence, memory, emotions, sensations, movement, stress, aging, sleep and neurological disorders, such as drug addiction, Alzheimer's disease and stroke. The winner of this regional Brain Bee would walk away with a $12,000 scholarship to Southampton College and the chance to participate in the International Brain Bee at the University of Maryland Baltimore Medical School March 10-15, 2003.

This year's winner, Saroj Kumakkat, 16, of Lynbrook High School in Lynbrook, swept the contest, answering every question correctly. Kumakkat is no stranger to the Brain Bee, having taken second place for the past two years. The second and third place winners, Rohit Repala and Craig Massie, both from Comsewogue High School of Port Jefferson Station, have also participated previously, with Repala placing third last year.

The contest opened with a brief speech by Dean Charles Hitchcock, where he emphasized the College's commitment to help "create a new generation of scientists." He went on to praise the Brain Bee for encouraging local young people to pursue a career in science. Professor Paul Forestell echoed that sentiment later in the day, stating that he and Professor John Neill were willing to "do what it takes to make the Brain Bee work for more students." They hope to provide more study materials for future Brain Bee hopefuls, including tutorial CD's and in-school seminars. The International Brain Bee awards thousands of dollars in scholarship money to its top three finalists. The first place winner attends the Neuroscience Conference in New Orleans and is awarded a cash prize of $3000. Last year's Southampton College Brain Bee winner, Vikas Gupta, another student from Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station, went on to win second place in the International Brain Bee. The 2000 winner, Ashish Bhatt, is now working at Brookhaven National Laboratory studying the effects of deep space radiation on mouse brain and behavior. This study will help decide whether we can safely send a manned mission to Mars.

Internationally, the Brain Bee is part of Brain Awareness Week (March 10-16, 2003). Spearheaded by both the Dana Alliance, a private philanthropic foundation, and the Society for Neuroscience, the goal is to motivate youth to learn about the brain and pursue careers in biomedical brain research in the war against mental retardation, cerebral palsy, spinal-cord injury and other brain disorders.

For more information on the local competition, contact Dr. John Neill at (631) 287-8202 or John.Neill@LIU.EDU

Brain Facts Booklets

All questions for the Southampton College Brain Bee competitions come from the book "Brain Facts: A primer on the brain and nervous system" (2002), published by the Society for Neuroscience. The current booklet is now posted in Adobe pdf format at: http://apu.sfn.org/content/Publications/BrainFacts/index.html

Information about the Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Week is available at: http://apu.sfn.org/BAW/index.cfm

International Brain Bee The next International Brain Bee Championship will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 14, 15 and 16, 2003. The winner of the local competition will be eligible to represent Long Island University at the International Brain Bee.

The winner of the local brain bee will be expected to answer questions from a booklet entitled, "Update 2001: Visions of the Brain". The current version is available at: http://www.dana.org/books/press/progressreport/

More information about the Charles A. Dana Foundation can be found at their website: http://www.dana.org/

For more information about the past Southampton Brain Bee go to: http://www.southampton.liu.edu/news/brainbee/

In-service or Continuing Education Credits In cooperation with a teacher's school district, teachers who complete the Brain Bee Prep course with their students will receive 1 professional development credit. Contact Danielle Muschter in the Continuing Education Department of Southampton College at (631)287-8316.

Summer Psychobiology Workshop Students and teachers can also attend a week-long Southampton College summer workshop on Psychobiology in residence in the Hamptons. Brain Bee Finalists are awarded FULL scholarships to the Summer Psychobiology Workshop.

For information about the workshop go to: www.southampton.liu.edu/summer/2003/summer.htm

Photo available by e-mail

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