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Brain Bee Challenge puts students to the test

From little things, big things can grow. In 2011, two Indigenous students were selected to attend the Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC), the premier neuroscience competition in Australia. This year, seven Indigenous students were selected from a pool of 1,225 students from across Queensland for the State finals of the ABBC.

“You have to be brave enough to have a dream of what you want to achieve. When you have that dream, think of it like a little seed that you have planted. Keep watering that little seed with belief, and that seed, that dream, will grow. What ever you dream to be can come to life,” said Jeremy Donovan, GenerationOne spokesperson, who addressed the students attending the competition.

“If you put your mind to it, and believe in yourself, it shows that Indigenous students can compete on an equal footing with all other Australians” said Jeremy.

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge motivates young people to learn about the brain - and has been created to inspire students to pursue careers in science, and particularly, neuroscience research.

 “Encouraging students toward a career in neuroscience is our goal and we’re excited that we’re now reaching students in remote areas of the state – particularly a growing number of Indigenous students,” said Professor Linda Richards, National Director of the ABBC. 

“GenerationOne works with organisations who promote the pathway into careers for Indigenous Australians. The Australian Brain Bee Challenge is a perfect way to introduce young people to the opportunities that exist to study and work in neuroscience,” said Jeremy.

“These seven young people need to be celebrated as they are the generation who are making the change, and paving the way for Indigenous people going into neuroscience,” he said.

Work in the neurosciences could involve more than working in a laboratory. It could involve working in neurosurgery, psychiatry or radiology, working on brain-related information technology, working as a journalist in the field of science communication, or collaborating with other fields such as the arts.

“All of these careers are available to young people who dare to dream,” said Jeremy.

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge is an annual neuroscience competition held at the prestigious Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), a $63 million state-of-the art research facility at the University of Queensland (UQ). Students were also able to tour the laboratories, and mingle with some of Australia’s leading scientists, including Nobel laureate, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn.

Congratulations to the seven students and their school communities, including: Martin Doyle of St Laurence’s College; Keeahn Bin Dol of Pimlico State High School; Ce’Nedra Phillips, Kalen Santo and Ayesha Woibo of Woree State High School; and Tayla Herd and Sheyne Hope of Mabel Park State High School. A special congratulations to Martin Doyle, who was recognised by the Australian Brain Bee Challenge organisers for his outstanding score, and top Indigenous student


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