Winners of the 2021 WA Brain Bee Challenge were congratulated at a special awards ceremony at the Perron Institute.
The Australian Brain Bee Challenge is the country’s only neuroscience competition for high school students. The WA competition within this national event is supported by UWA, the Perron Institute and the Neurotrauma Research Program.
Over 300 WA students participated in the online competition, and in preparation, some of these students were able to participate in an excursion to UWA.
The recent ceremony hosted by the Perron Institute was attended by the winning Year 10 students, their teachers and parents. In presenting the awards, UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma gave an inspiring speech, explaining his background as a chemical engineer in Canada and encouraging students to explore and pursue their passion for neuroscience.
“The brain is the last frontier. If we have a good understanding of it, we will be transformed,” he said. “Don’t look at your interest in the brain in a limited way. The sky is the limit.”
St Hilda’s student Catherine Yang, who migrated to Perth from China, was the overall winner of the WA Brain Bee competition.
“I’m interested in physics and the multidisciplinary nature of science. One day I hope to be working for NASA,” she said.
“It was great to gain knowledge beyond my year level. I’m really pleased to have had this opportunity and I hope to represent Western Australia well in the national event later this year.”
Image (L-R): Dr Jenny Rodger, Perron Institute CEO Steven Arnott, WA Brain Bee 2021 winner Catherine Yang and UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma.
The winner of the national Brain Bee will have the opportunity to participate in the international competition.
As winner of the WA Brain Bee, Catherine also has the opportunity to be coached by neuroscience students and researchers at UWA and Perron Institute.
Charlotte Isbister (St Hilda’s) and Sampurna Mitra (Perth Modern) tied for second place.
Prizes were also presented to the group video competition winners, Woodvale Secondary College for “Homer Simpson’s Brain” and Bunbury Catholic College, People’s Choice for “The Brain is like a school”.
Brain Bee State Coordinator, Dr Jenny Rodger (Associate Professor at UWA, head of Brain Plasticity Research at Perron Institute), played the winning videos from the group video competition. She commented that the winning videos were accurate and creative depictions of the brain and its functions.
Congratulations and well done to all winners and participants.