Colorado State University's neuroscientists are looking for volunteers to teach local ninth-grade biology students about the brain, sensory processing, nervous system disorders and other brain-related topics during Brain Awareness Week, March 24-28, at Preston Junior High. Volunteers attend a 30-minute orientation, spend time on their own or with other station members learning about their station and volunteer during the 90-minute session.
The exciting week reaches more than 300 students a year, providing them with hands-on information through interactive stations. Students from Preston and other local junior high schools are participating. The program is designed to build enthusiasm in young students for science, promote awareness about the brain and nervous system, and encourage students to consider exploring neuroscience fields as a potential career.
In addition to the opportunity to see brains, spinal cords, nerves and eyes, students learn about topics such as neurotransmission; see examples of brain waves; see how the brain is affected by traumatic injuries and illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and drugs; and learn how the body's sensory systems are connected to the brain.
Volunteers sign up for one of 14 stations and help students interact and understand the specifics of their assigned station. Students spend 90 minutes visiting all 14 stations. Volunteers are trained during orientation by Cynthia Smeraski, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State.
Dr. Smeraski is seeking people with a level of expertise or interest in neuroscience, including community members, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and faculty. Last year, the program included the efforts of 75 scientists who helped create the program or volunteered at Preston. Volunteers often serve as diverse, inspiring role models for junior high students who are considering career paths in the sciences.
Brain Awareness Week, a series of events sponsored by institutions around the world in March, is promoted by the Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. Supplies are provided by Colorado State University, the Front Range Neuroscience Group and Preston Junior High.
Volunteers are asked to attend one of the upcoming orientation sessions to sign up. Contact Dr. Smeraski for the orientation schedule, or to sign up, at 491-8143 or firstname.lastname@example.org.