To prepare for the southern Maine Regional Brain Bee Competition, volunteer college undergraduates enrolled in the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine program worked in small groups to prepare high school students for the competition on UNE’s Biddeford campus Tuesday..

To prepare for the southern Maine Regional Brain Bee Competition, volunteer college undergraduates enrolled in the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine program worked in small groups to prepare high school students for the competition on UNE’s Biddeford campus Tuesday..

BIDDEFORD — Kyle Ryan, a senior at Kennebunk High School, was the winner of the Southern Maine Regional Brain Bee that took place at the University of New England on Tuesday.

High School participants from Biddeford, Kennebunk and Saco studied for weeks before attending the event. Preceding the competition, students participated in a variety of morning activities, from microscope work to sheep and human brain dissection. The goal of the entire event was to prioritize brain education and promote the university’s growing neuroscience program.

“The rules and the regulations are simple: At least three high schools need to be represented in order to compete in this regional competition,” said Michael Burman, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and faculty coordinator of UNE’s Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences K-12 Outreach Program.

The Southern Maine Brain Bee was held at the same time and in collaboration with the Northern Maine Brain Bee at the University of Maine in Presque Isle and the Western Maine Brain Bee at the University of Maine in Machias.

After close examination of the state scores, the winner will go on to represent Maine in the national competition in Baltimore in March 2016. Finally, the winner in nationals will participate in the International Brain Bee Championship held in Sydney, Australia. Approximately 30,000 students compete annually in this world competition.

Students will be asked questions about the human brain – including topics such as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, a variety of brain-related diseases, strokes, epilepsy, mental illness, addiction and brain research.

To prepare for the Brain Bee, volunteer college undergraduates enrolled in UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, or OMS, worked in small groups Tuesday to prepare the high schoolers for the questions to come.

Sarah Delangee, a second year student in the OMS program, worked closely with a group of three students by pointing out the brain structure and its functions.

“We’re all second-year medical students and we (took) a neuroscience course in the fall through our program,” said Delangee. “We learned about this opportunity to educate younger students about the brain and many of us want to participate simply to be a participant in the lives of these aspiring students.”

Second-place winner Jessica Patterson, a senior at Thornton Academy, said that this is her second year participating in the Brain Bee competition and this year’s competition was just as exciting as the last.

“I really like studying the brain and when I enroll in college I want to major or minor in neuroscience,” said Patterson. “I’m fascinated by the brain functions. I’m taking AP Psychology right now at Thornton and it’s endlessly interesting.”

Owen Williams, a senior at Biddeford High School and participant in the competition, stated that he’s been preparing for months to be ready for the Brain Bee. Like Patterson, he is currently enrolled in an Advanced Placement science class and wants to work in the field of neuroscience in the future.

“I like looking at the brain’s functioning capacities from every angle,” said Williams. “I enjoy studying psychology, sociology and neuroscience because I can understand both how the brain functions with outside stimuli and internal chemical changes.”

At the end of the competition, students clapped as Ryan posed for photographs. He will go on to the national competition in Maryland to compete for the chance to travel to Sydney for the International Brain Bee Championship.

— Krysteana Scribner can be reached at 282-1535.


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