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About the JMU Brain Bee 

The 6th Annual JMU Brain Bee will be Saturday February 3rd, 2024

The JMU Brain Bee is...

  • Open to all students in Virginia who will be ages 13-19 on the day of the event.
  • NO-COST AND you get a free JMU Neuroscience T-Shirt.
  • Welcoming to parents and guardians, siblings, teachers, and other supporters who wish to attend as audience members.
  • Broken into three different formats; group, individual and finalists rounds. All questions come from the free online book, Brain Facts.
  • Hands-on and fun. Between the group/individual and finalists rounds, participants have lunch in our tasty East Campus dining hall and visit JMU's neuroscience labs to participate in hands-on experiences with neuroscience faculty and students. 
  • A friendly, welcoming, and low-pressure environment. 

Registration Process for the 2024 JMU Brain Bee

Registration will open to all students on November 17th and will close on January 22nd OR when we reach our capacity of 50 students. Please carefully review the important dates and deadlines below. 

  • If more than 50 students submit the registration form, we will prioritize students in the following three categories IF these students register by December 15th. Students who fall into one or both of these three priority categories but do NOT register before December 15th will not be given priority over other students who registered earlier. 
    • Have not competed in a Brain Bee previously
    • Attend school in one of our 7 local districts (Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Augusta, Staunton, Waynesboro, Shenandoah, and Page). This includes private and home-school students residing in these districts.
    • Attend a school with a free and reduced lunch eligibility of 40% or greater (see link on E-Hall question of the registration form for how to find this information).
  • All students who have submitted the form by December 15th will receive an email with their registration status by December 20th. Students who submit their registration form after December 15th will receive notification of their registration status no later than January 15th. Once we reach capacity, we will close the registration form and add a notification on this page.

2024 JMU Brain Bee Registration Form 

The form will open Friday November 17th at 3PM

More About the JMU Brain Bee

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.

Our Philosophy

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  

See what she is referring to in the two quotes below:

"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

Click here for photos from our first five years of the JMU Brain Bee

Click here for JMU's Feature Story about our Bee 

About the USA 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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