Meeting of the minds to maximize outreach

The Intermountain Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience hosted the first meeting of the Utah Brain Education Alliance (UBEA) on January 12, 2013, at the University of Utah Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (see agenda below). Volunteers from undergraduate institutions across the region - including The U of U, Brigham Young University, and Weber State University – gathered to share learning activities and ideas, and to build community in preparation for Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2013.

“The ultimate goal is a brain-literate Utah,” says Amy Davis, Ph.D., associate director of the Brain Institute and co-organizer of the event.

Brain Awareness Week, an annual worldwide campaign sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, is designed to elevate public awareness about the benefits of brain research. During the week of March 11-17, 2013, volunteers will bring information and hands-on activities - including a chance to touch a real human brain - to thousands of children, grades K-12, and to the general public.

“Brain Awareness Week is important because it allows kids to interact and learn about the brain, and science, in ways that they would not normally have access to within the public school system,” says BAW volunteer and undergraduate at Weber State University, Taylor Frost.

Funded by the Castle Foundation and the Society for Neuroscience, the first annual UBEA event was created to strengthen BAW efforts in Utah. This year’s meeting will feature a keynote address by Molly Malone, senior education specialist at the Genetic Science Learning Center who will provide insights on how to create effective teaching materials for K-12 classrooms. Attendees will also learn about their colleagues’ favorite educational modules, and will be able to try out hands-on activities for themselves.

“This will enrich the experience for all involved and diversify the knowledge that we can each bring to our BAW presentations,” says Lauren Fowler, Ph.D., professor at Weber State University and BAW volunteer. “It is also a fantastic opportunity to meet other students with similar interests across the state.”

U of U BAW chair Jeff Yarch adds, “The energy at these types of events can be contagious and I think participants will leave the event invigorated with the BAW spirit.”

Inaugural Utah Brain Education Alliance Meeting Agenda

Saturday, January 12, 2013, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (SMBB), 36 South Wasatch Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 (SMBB map)

10:00 a.m. - noon     Student groups from Weber, BYU and the U of U will present their favorite educational modules

12:15 - 1:00 p.m.     Catered lunch in SMBB

1:10 - 2:00 p.m.       Keynote: Molly Malone, Senior Education Specialist, Genetic Science Learning Center,
                                 “Effective K-12 Outreach: Developing Classroom-ready Educational Modules”


2:00 - 3:00 p.m.       Hands-on time with interactive modules and the Brain Institute's Lending Library

Last Updated: 1/14/15