Marshall University ‘Brain Expo’ for elementary school students to take place Oct. 2


More than 400 elementary school children from around the tri-state region will visit Marshall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, to learn about the brain and nervous system through activities and games.

Usually held in the spring, the Brain Expo was scheduled for Oct. 2 as a make-up day for the March 2015 event canceled due to extreme weather.

This is the seventh Brain Expo to be held at Marshall. The event features 27 interactive stations in the Memorial Student Center, where children explore various parts of their nervous systems. They also learn how the brain controls their bodies and why healthy lifestyle choices lead to better brain health. Activities at the stations include learning to juggle, playing a memory game, coloring their own “brain hat,” and building brain cell-shaped key chains.

More than 200 Marshall students and faculty from the College of Science, the Department of Psychology and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will oversee the activities. The St. Mary’s Medical Center will present a station about brain and spinal cord safety.

The event is part of Brain Awareness Week, an annual global effort founded in 1996 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. The Brain Expo at Marshall was founded by Dr. Nadja Spitzer and Dr. Brian Antonsen, both of whom are neuroscientists and faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Events like the Brain Expo are an excellent way of increasing public awareness of brain research at Marshall and in gaining the interest of students who may choose a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, Spitzer said. Through the many fun hands-on activities, attendees get to better understand the brain.

“Our goal for the Brain Expo is to interest children in science and research at a young age through games and activities that demonstrate the relevance of neuroscience in everyday life,” Spitzer said.

Registration for the Fall 2015 event is full, according to Spitzer, but anyone interested in the Spring 2016 program can e-mail brainawareness@marshall.edu

For more information about the Brain Expo and Marshall’s Brain Awareness Program, visit www.marshall.edu/baw.

Friday’s program is supported by the National Science Foundation (Cooperative Agreement Award number EPS-1003907), Marshall’s College of Science and Department of Biological Sciences.

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Photo: Elementary school students learn about the brain and nervous system at last year’s Brain Expo.