AUC Hosts Inaugural Sint Maarten Brain Bee Competition for Sint Maarten Youth
Thirty ambitious high school students took to AUC’s auditorium on Saturday for Sint Maarten’s first-ever Brain Bee competition. The event tested students’ knowledge of the brain with a written quiz and oral questions covering neuroscience, sensations, cells, neurochemicals, and more.
Round after round, contestants were eliminated until just one competitor, Aryan Notani of Learning Unlimited Preparatory School, was left standing. Mr. Notani was named the first Brain Bee Champion while his classmates, Riya Baharani and Harsheda Jadhav took second and third place.
Dr. Gautam Ullal, associate professor of neuroscience and semester 4 lead, spearheaded the event.
“I’ve been nurturing this idea ever since I joined AUC in 2016,” he says. “Getting to know our students and seeing how involved we are in community, it was a natural fit.”
Having spent 13 years with Brain Bee at McMaster University in Canada, Dr. Ullal knew enough to launch the Sint Maarten Brain Bee chapter. Since then, he has relied on members of the AUC community to help with logistics and mentoring students.
In total, nearly 30 AUC staff and students volunteered on Saturday, led by 3rd semester student Amin Najmabadi. Clayton Barnes, a 1st semester student and Brain Bee alum, kicked off the competition as deans, principals, teachers, and parents took their seats. At the front, Dr. Athena Andreadis, Dr. Mary Lucero, and Dr. Mike Michel joined Dr. Ullal as expert judges.
Competitors received a special surprise when the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Wycliffe Smith, and Acting Head of the Division for Education Innovation in Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Ms. O. Boirard, entered the Auditorium to cheer them on.