Bringing Neuroscience to Local Schools
“I like doing outreach because it conveys the positive benefits of science to people and shows them that science doesn’t have to be scary.”
Alexa D’Ambra, Neuroscience PhD student
During the year, our graduate student outreach teams provide presentations and activities at elementary and high schools throughout the Northern California region. For example, in 2019, schools included William Land, Rhoda Maxwell, Plainfield, and Zamora Elementary Schools in the Sacramento and Woodland areas. Visits involved 25 graduate student volunteers, reaching 238 students, including one bilingual classroom and one classroom for the deaf and hearing impaired. Students learn about brain anatomy (complete with brains for students to hold and dissect), traumatic brain injury and helmet safety, how optical illusions work and basic concepts of neuroscience.
Through the support of the UC Davis Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, students are provided with learning materials and gifts, such as brain-shaped erasers and neuroscience stickers, to keep them excited about neuroscience and remind them of our visit. The students love being scientists for a day, and many classrooms send thank you letters to the graduate student volunteers.