Knowing Neurons


Brain Awareness Week in Istanbul, Turkiye (2024)

Hisar School in Istanbul, Turkiye, partnered with Knowing Neurons, organized Brain Awareness Week 2024 activities with Hisar high school students this year. Hisar high schoolers are already involved in the Turkish Translation Project at Knowing Neurons, spearheading translating neuroscience infographics into Turkish to make science accessible to a Turkish-speaking audience. They also engage with Knowing Neurons’ published articles on a weekly basis, and write personal reflections based on the content. 

“Happy Brain Awareness Day! As the Knowing Neurons team we organized a “Brain” fair in our school lobby with the Animal Welfare & Conservation Club. With our interactive and informative workshops we caught the attention of most of our classmates. It was a great opportunity to remind ourselves about our fascinating control center.” (Damla Cayci, KN Student Leader)

Under the supervision of their teachers Sedef Seker and Emine Ulusoy, Hisar Knowing Neurons Team partnered with the Hisar Animal Welfare and Conservation Club to plan and carry out activities on March 20th to share their fascination with the nervous system! 

The activities included sheep brain dissection, a game with Knowing Neurons’ Weird Animal Brains infographics, Sensation Stations, Crafty Neurons, and mini competitions, all cultivating in the final Brain Bee Station!

“The Brain Awareness Day at Hisar was a great opportunity for students to engage in activities related to the brain and gain an awareness of its importance in an entertaining way. I believe supporting such neuroscience activities in Turkey will inspire more students to become passionate about this fascinating field.” (Arda Ozkurt, KN Student Leader)

The team now aims to spread their excitement about the nervous system to a broader audience, and carry out the same activities with their peers at neighboring high schools in Istanbul next. 

SciComm Workshops at University High School (2023)

This fall, Knowing Neurons took science communication into the community! In collaboration with CELL Scholars at UCLA and with generous support from the National Science Policy Network, we held two workshops on science communication for local high school students in Los Angeles. Members of Knowing Neurons based at UCLA headed out to University High School for engaging workshops (with pizza!) to conduct neuroscience demonstrations, tell students about careers in STEM, and demystify how students can get involved in science communication.

On October 11th, Knowing Neurons and CELL Scholars team members presented a workshop session on Careers in STEM and Science Communication for a group of 20 high school juniors and seniors. The presentation shed light on the many career paths available in STEM, which are not just limited to academic jobs but also include careers in science writing, media, science policy, industry, marketing, and advertising. A highlight of this workshop was the inclusion of a hands-on neuroscience demonstration using a portable electroencephalography kit that records a subject's brain waves in real time. The demonstration centered around eliciting the P300 "oddball" event-related potential as a volunteer listened to a stream of tones that occasionally had an "oddball" tone at random intervals. Students were able to see neuroscience in action!

Two weeks later, on October 24 we returned for a more specialized workshop on Science Writing for a General Audience. This workshop was designed for a smaller group of students, composed of the six high school mentees currently participating in UCLA's CELL Scholars mentorship program. Through this program, juniors and seniors are able to conduct research in scholarship-supported positions at UCLA labs. Therefore, the science writing workshop was more interactive and focused on introducing the fundamentals of science writing, best practices, how to pitch an article to a journalistic outlet, and how to approach writing a piece. Students were sent home with take-home worksheets that will help them refine their science writing skills and draft an article pitch. Through our partnership with CELL Scholars, these students will be invited practice their science writing skills by submitting an article to Knowing Neurons based on their experiences conducting research in UCLA labs.

Knowing Neurons organizers: Bar Yosef, Keionna Newton, Lauren Wagner

CELL Scholars Collaborators: Megan Chappell, Rachel Rothschild, Natella Baliaouri, Benita Jin, Malia Belnap

UCLA PhD student Bar Yosef explains the EEG demonstration to high school students, with Malia Belnap volunteering as the test subject.

UCLA PhD student Lauren Wagner dissects the standard structure of a journalistic science article, and how this format differs from research articles.

UCLA Science Outreach Symposium (2023)

Knowing Neurons attended UCLA's second annual Science Outreach Symposium on Friday, October 20th! This event brings together students, faculty, and administrators from across campus to learn and connect about science outreach. The program consisted of morning science communication workshops, a plenary short talks, a tabling and networking fair, and a professional panel, all followed by a networking happy hour in the evening.

Knowing Neurons sponsored one of the morning workshops, focused on Science Communication Writing, with support from the National Science Policy Network. This workshop, led by an invited lecturer from the University of California, Santa Barbara Creative Writing program, covered the basics of science writing for a general audience for an audience of STEM graduate students and faculty.

We also had a table at the activities fair, where our CEO, Carolyn Amir, delivered a flash talk about or organization to the audience.

Knowing Neurons CEO and UCLA PhD student, Carolyn Amir, describes Knowing Neurons to the audience at the 2023 UCLA Science Outreach Symposium.

The organizers of the symposium, from left to right: Kayla Lim (KN Illustrator), Melis Cakar (KN Illustrator), Dr. Cheylene Tanimoto, and Lauren Wagner (KN Editor-in-Chief).

SciComm Workshop at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2023)

To educate undergraduate students about importance of science communication, Knowing Neurons held a workshop at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) on September 7, 2023. The workshop was sponsored by National Science Policy Network  and featured Dr. Farah Lubin, a distinguished professor at UAB, as a speaker.

The following workshop was open to any undergraduate student from an underrepresented background at UAB. The amazing talk by Dr. Lubin introduced students to the importance of proper science communication, and how to communicate your research in an accessible way for everyone to understand! Students were able to participate is active discussions while enjoying hot coffee, tea, and cookies. The workshop also included a panel of current graduate students at UAB who were able to share their experiences with science communication.

Following the workshop, students had an option to write an article for Knowing Neurons, which is an amazing opportunity for undergraduate students to get writing experience and strengthen their CV! Several students are currently in the process of writing a piece for Knowing Neurons with the guidance from Anastasiia Gryshyna (a Knowing Neurons member and a workshop organizer), and from Julia Julien (current graduate student at UAB).

Knowing Neurons organizer: Anastasiia Gryshyna

UAB Speaker: Dr. Farah Lubin

UAB Collaborators: Keri Dickens, Sammy Stocking, Julia Julien, Shannon Gilstrap, Oge Ngwu-Hyacinth, UAB Psychology DEI Committee

Dr. Farah Lubin discusses science communication in the context of her own research.

Undergraduate students attending the UAB science communication workshop with a graduate student panel and speaker Dr. Farah Lubin.

Brain Awareness Week at UCLA (2023)

On April 18, 2023, Knowing Neurons partnered with the UCLA Brain Research Institute on their annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW) activities! We piloted both Spanish and English versions of our Lesson Plan about The Microbiome for a total of 45 seventh graders from the Los Angeles area. The middle schoolers learned about the interaction between gut health and the brain in an interactive presentation, and then finished the lesson with an activity where they practiced designing their own microbiome experiment.

BAW is an annual event that takes place at universities around the world, with the goal of increasing awareness about the wonders of brain science among youth. See our recently published article by Vidya Saravanapandian for more information about BAW!

Brain Awareness Week: Joining Forces to Solve the Puzzle

UCLA neuroscience undergraduate Janvi Subramanyan delivers the English presentation about The Microbiome to a group of 30 7th graders.

UCLA neuroscience graduate student Ana Rodriguez delivers the Spanish presentation, El Microbioma, to a group of 15 7th graders.

Students practice designing their own microbiome experiments in a hands-on activity.

UCLA Science Outreach Symposium (2022)

On November 10, 2022, Knowing Neurons leadership organized and hosted UCLA's first Science Outreach Symposium!

The event was sponsored by UCLA's Graduate Programs in Biosciences and the Brain Research Institute, and celebrated groups and individuals at UCLA who work to make science more accessible to the public and increase diversity and equity in STEM.

Arielle Hogan (KN Chief Executive Officer) and Lauren Wagner (KN Editor-in-Chief) deliver opening remarks at the 2022 UCLA Science Outreach Symposium.

Kayla Lim and Melis Cakar (KN team members) chat about neuroscience communication with Bineh Ndefru (UCLA Materials Science PhD student) at the tabling fair.

Although UCLA has no shortage of science outreach organizations, there is not a unified channel or forum for them to meet, share ideas, and form collaborations. Therefore, this event served as UCLA's very first forum dedicated to science outreach, bringing together groups and individuals from across campus to share their projects and make connections! The symposium's sessions consisted of short talks, panels, a tabling/networking fair, and a happy hour with snacks and drinks. The panel discussions focused on two topics: Striking the Balance: Academia and Outreach, and The Future of Science Outreach at UCLA.

See a list of participating groups below: