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About the JMU Brain Bee
  • Open to students who will be ages 13-19 on the day of the event.
  • Held the first or second Saturday in February
  • NO-COST AND you get a free JMU Neuroscience T-Shirt!
  • Welcoming to parents and guardians, siblings, teachers, and other supporters.
  • Tests your neuroscience knowledge by asking fact-bact and conceptual understanding questions from the free online book, Brain Facts.
  • More than a competition. You will visit JMU's neuroscience labs to participate in hands-on experiences with neuroscience faculty and students. 
  • A friendly, welcoming, and low-pressure environment. 
About our Director

The first annual JMU Brain Bee was held in February 2019. Dr. George Vidal, associate professor of Biology, is the director of the JMU Brain Bee. Dr. Vidal earned his A.B. in Neurobiology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University. Dr. Vidal currently teaches courses in Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience, and Human Anatomy and mentors undergraduates studying the development of cerebral cortex connections. Dr. Vidal competed in the Brain Bee as a high school student and he credits this experience with inspiring his pursuit of neuroscience.

The JMU Brain Bee Experience

As a Center dedicated to inclusive STEM opportunities that are both accessible and welcoming to all, this is what the STEM Center loves most about Dr. Vidal's design of the JMU Brain Bee...

"We believe we've found a way to recognize, reward, and continue fostering talent while also creating a friendly, fun, and no-stress environment for ALL participants regardless of their background in neuroscience or time to prepare." -Dr. K. Cresawn  

This sentiment is reflected in these quotes from past participants-

"In my awards speech [at the National Bee], I gave special kudos to you, Dr. Vidal, for giving me an incredible opportunity to work with real brains. I got a perfect score on the wet-lab portion, so thank you very much for dedicating your Saturday to help me prepare for that." - winner of JMU Bee and 2nd-place runner up at the National Bee

"The best part of the JMU Brain Bee was interacting with the other contestants! I found it very cool to meet people from all over the state from different backgrounds. Everyone was so nice too, so it made things all the more enjoyable!" - JMU Brain Bee participant

The National Brain Bee Organization

The USA Brain Bee was founded in 1998 and is the world-wide neuroscience competition for high school students. The Brain Bee motivates students to learn about the brain, captures their imaginations, and inspires them to pursue neuroscience careers in order to help treat and find cures for neurological and psychological disorders. There are currently over 200 Local Chapter Brain Bee coordinators in more than 50 countries across 6 continents that conduct competitions annually. The winner of each Regional Brain Bee is invited to represent their regions in the National Bee and the winner of the National Bee is invited to compete in the International Brain Bee World Championship. The World Championship is hosted by a different country every year.

Brain Bees test one's knowledge of the human brain including such topics as intelligence, emotions, memory, sleep, vision, hearing, sensations, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, addictions and brain research. The local competitions are in the question-and-answer format based on material from "Brain Fact", a book that is available online at no cost. The championship competitions may also involve a neuroanatomy laboratory practical with real human brains, neurohistology with microscopes, brain imaging identification and patient diagnosis with patient actors. Source:

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