Wayne State University

Organized by:
Wayne State University

Participating Organizations:

Wayne State UniversityWayne State University School of MedicineUniversity of Detroit – MercyMichigan Science CenterSociety for NeuroscienceMichigan Chapter of the Society for NeuroscienceDANA Foundation

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • Exhibit

Target Audiences:

  • General Public

Approximate Number of People Reached:


Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

Our event is called “Brain Day in Detroit”. This is an annual event held at the Michigan Science Center during BAW. The event had existed in various forms for around 20 years, but has now solidified with a strong partnership with the Science Center and the participating groups. During the event we create 10 “stations” throughout the science center, each with a different theme. These stations were: 1 Exploring smell 2 Miracle workers (Miracle berries and the sense of taste) 3 Lifespan Neuroscience 4 Electric cockroaches (spiker boxes) 5 Human brain display 6 Protect the brain – head safety 7 Addiction and learning 8 Sensory plasticity using prism goggles 9 Higher cognitive skills 10 Motor city cortex (motor skills and plasticity) To encourage visitors to visit each station, we handed out Brain Day “passports” (with brain facts on it); those completing the passport by visiting each station received a prize (a foam brain). One of our goals is to bring the research community and the public together. We had 114 volunteers during the day: scientists, doctors, and students at all levels. This allowed the public to have conversations with “real neuroscientists”. This also provided an opportunity for students to learn how to communicate the importance of their work to the lay public.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Advertisements
  • Calendar Listings (newspapers, radio, television)
  • Posters/Flyers
  • Press Release/Media Advisory
  • Social Media

Other Publicity Methods:

Radio interview on local news radio (WWJ 950 in Detroit)

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

Social media, especially that of the Michigan Science Center, which has a large number of followers (and members).


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:

  • It’s Mindboggling!
  • BAW Pencils and Erasers
  • BAW Buttons

What downloadable materials from the Foundation did you use for your events?

  • Puzzles: K-12
  • Mindboggling Coloring Sheets

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

  • Activities/Experiments

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

  • BAW Logos

Feedback & Keys to Success

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

Many benefits: it helps to create a stronger relationship between the universities in Detroit and the Science Center. It helps to educate our students in the importance of communication with the public. And it helps to demystify neuroscience to the general public when they are talking to people “just like them” who are the practicing scientists.

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

Each of our stations is organized by a station leader; this helps to decentralize the workload. We meet a couple of times prior to the event, and importantly soon after the event, to help optimize our efforts. Social media is cheap and easy; the outlets of the Science Center are most effective, but the ones of the universities were useful as well. Our university was helpful with their “traditional” media contacts which resulted in radio interviews (free advertisement” as well as an article about our event in the Sunday Detroit Free Press.

Did/do you like our Facebook page?


Quotable comments which capture successful aspects of your event(s):

Our event was well summed-up in this article published in the largest newspaper in Detroit, which refers to the event as a "mind-blowing experience". http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2015/03/21/brain-day-detroit/25157061/

Event Photos

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Contact Information

BAW Website:


Contact Name:

Tom Fischer

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:


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