Outreach Event: Brain Booths!

Psychology in Action's Outreach Initiative teamed up with Interaxon, an interdepartmental undergraduate neuroscience educational outreach group at UCLA, to participate in two events with the Los Angeles community. To learn about future Interaxon events, please visit their web calendar. On Saturday, October 19th, 2013, Psychology in Action and Interaxon members hosted a "Brain Booth" at STEAM Nation in Culver City. 1,600 school children and more than 200 educators participated to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math education. Hosted by STAR EducationSTEAM Nation is the largest single-day event for these topics in Los Angeles County. At the Brain Booth, children and their guardians were invited to handle preserved human brains (gently, respectfully, and with gloves, of course). The volunteers had as much fun as the participants, despite the sudden heat before midday. Natalie De Shetler, one of the volunteers, reported the typical dialogue with the younger kids:

"What IS THAT?" A child would ask.

"A brain!" A volunteer would reply.

"No?! What kind of brain? Like a human brain?"

"Yep. A human brain. Wanna touch it?"

"Ewwww, nooo.... [starts to run away, then approaches again gingerly, but very cutely] Hmm... hmm... YES!"

Natalie De Shetler, a doctoral student of the Psychology Department
Natalie De Shetler, a doctoral student of the Psychology Department
Nicco Reggente, a doctoral student of the Psychology Department
Nicco Reggente, a doctoral student of the Psychology Department

Then on Monday, October 21st, more Psychology in Action members volunteered with Interaxon for a more in-depth version of the Brain Booth for interested undergraduate UCLA students. They discussed the surface anatomy of the brain, answered questions, and invited students to handle the brain as well!

Andrew Westphal, a Doctoral student from the Psychology Department.
Andrew Westphal, a Doctoral student from the Psychology Department.
T.Chow_Interaxon
T.Chow_Interaxon

We would like to thank the donors of the specimens displayed at these events (our volunteers treat the brains with the utmost respect). Your generosity helped inspire scientific curiosity for children and undergraduates in the Los Angeles area!