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Taking on the world in the 2019 International Brain Bee

At the recent 2019 International Brain Bee (IBB) Championships in South Korea, ACG Parnell College Year 12 student, Sophia Ye, was awarded fourth place – an incredible achievement in this challenging neuroscience competition where material is drawn from university and medical school course content.

“Sophia is an exceptional student with a real passion for biology. She is an inspiration to our students, demonstrating what can be achieved when you aim high and set yourself no limits. We are incredibly proud of her” said ACG Deputy Principal, Lisa Chamberlain.

Along with 27 national and regional champions from across six continents, sixteen-year-old Sophia faced two-days of intense high-level competition to demonstrate graduate-level knowledge in neurosciences, neuroanatomy, neurohistology and neurological patient diagnosis.

“The competition was definitely challenging, mainly because of the amount of content we had to know” said Sophia. “It did vary across the sections though; some parts were easier than I expected, and some were much harder. I felt most confident about the patient diagnosis section. It is something I find really interesting and have enjoyed researching and learning about.”

2019 International Brain Bee Co-Chair, Dr Julianne McCall, commented “The IBB is much more than a competition; it is a community. Not only did the students demonstrate brilliant knowledge of the many facets of the field of neuroscience, they did so with enthusiasm and comradery, and that combination is powerful. We look forward to following the students as they advance through their ambitious academic and professional careers.”

Sophia is in full agreement and believes “the most important thing I’ve taken away from the International Brain Bee is the incredible friendships I made during the competition. The other students were all so encouraging and motivating. The organisers and coordinators were also really supportive and had many valuable insights about pursuing a scientific career. Overall, it was just so amazing to have a community from all over the world sharing the same passion, and the connections made throughout the competition are definitely continuing to inspire me.”

The primary goal of the IBB is to motivate students to learn about the brain and to inspire them to pursue careers in neuroscience so they can help treat and find cures for brain disorders.

“I would love to continue to study the brain in the future” Sophia explains. “I’m not entirely sure whether I would like to do medicine first and then specialise in neurology or contribute to neuroscience research. Regardless, I think it is a fascinating and important field of study and can’t imagine doing anything else at this stage.”