Brain Research Institute (BRI), UCLA

Organized by:
Brain Research Institute (BRI), UCLA

Participating Organizations:

UCLA Campus Programming Committee UCLA Graduate Students Association Project Brainstorm Project Synapse Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program Psychology in Action

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • Conference/Forum
  • Exhibit
  • Lab Tour
  • Lecture/ Briefing
  • Workshop

Target Audiences:

  • Elementary school students(1-5)
  • High School students(9-12)
  • Middle school students(6-8)

Approximate Number of People Reached:


Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

UCLA’s Brain Awareness Week was held March 13-17, 2017, and brought 300 students from underserved, Title 1 schools to UCLA for a full day of neuroscience-related activities. With the goal of inspiring scientific interest and educate students from K-12 schools about the brain, we hosted the following schools: Plummer Elementary, Hazeltine Elementary, Toluca Lake Elementary, Culver City Middle, and Locke High School. Based on the post-event surveys and the feedback we already received from visiting students and teachers, this year’s event was a success.The morning session of educational modules relayed basic neuroscience concepts including brain structure, function, organization and plasticity. Students were then divided into groups and participated in a series of hands-on demonstrations of popular topics including learning and memory, lateralization, addiction, etc., This was followed by a hands-on neuroanatomy laboratory session where they study sheep brain anatomy. They learnt in-depth about brain anatomy as well as get an understanding of what is already known about the structure and function of the brain and what is not. Post-lunch, they visited various neuroscience research labs. While they got to tour labs, they also learnt about some ongoing research projects presented by graduate student volunteers. Research labs that participated this year included those working on Fly genetics, optogenetics in mouse models and human electrophysiology (EEG). This was followed by demonstration activities lead by the post-doctoral group, where students learn first hand how the brain communicates with our senses. The day ended with career panel where they interact with students and faculty and gather advice on higher studies.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Advertisements
  • Emails
  • Mailings
  • Press Release/Media Advisory

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

For schools that had heard about Project Brainstorm, which is a science education outreach program in UCLA, mail communications were successful. The website and press release improved the number of schools interested in our Brain Awareness Week events and we already have new schools that have shown interest in participating in next years events.


Of the Dana Foundation publications/resources distributed at your event(s), if any, please indicate the three most popular. Please choose up to three. If "other," please indicate below:

  • More Mindbogglers!
  • BAW Pencils and Erasers
  • The Mindboggling Workbook

What other downloadable materials would you like the Foundation to provide?

  • Activities/Experiments
  • New Puzzles/Games
  • New Coloring Sheets

Which BAW graphic materials did you use in publicizing your events?

  • BAW Flyer

Feedback & Keys to Success

How do you feel BAW participation benefited your organization and the local community?

Brain Awareness Week events have been conducted in UCLA for several years and we are constantly trying to improve our program and incorporate more hands-on activities that students can learn and benefit from. This year, we had new collaborators in our faculty members that gave lab tours and graduate students and post-doc that presented some very cool hands-on demos in neurophysiology. I can confidently say that the quality of our program is improving and the schools are enjoying visiting UCLA.

Please share any suggestions or lessons learned that may help others plan future events:

We found that with limited time each day during which the students visit, we needed to be very efficient in managing time during the event. Our hands-on activities and lab tours were well received. We also included a career panel for high schoolers where they talked to PhD/Medical students and faculty in neuroscience about going to college and pursuing higher education. Finally, this year we are also trying to build an online platform to make our materials available to school teachers that can be used at different schools.

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Event Photos

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Contact Information

BAW Website:

Contact Name:

Vidya Saravanapandian

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:

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