Yale University

Organized by:
Yale University

Participating Organizations:

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Dept of Neuroscience, Graduate and Professional Student Senate, Dept of Neurology, Dept of Neurosurgery, Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity, McDougal Center, Dept of Psychology, Dept of Psychiatry, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • Lab Tour
  • Lecture/ Briefing
  • School Program

Target Audiences:

  • High School students(9-12)
  • Middle school students(6-8)
  • Patients & Caregivers

Approximate Number of People Reached:

100 students and 100 parents

Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

Yale’s Brain Education Day includes a key note presentation a by a Yale science faculty member and multiple activities in which the students learn about neuroscience. This year’s key note presentation was on autism; the students and parents participated by pretending to be part of a research study where they had to respond to facial expressions. The students were able to learn about how researchers do science and even how they can become involved in a research study. Activity stations include sheep brain dissections, human brain imaging techniques, sensory and perception, a tour of the Cushing Center, and a Brain-Machine Interface station. During the sheep brain dissections, students are taught the functional roles of the different areas of the brain while dissecting a preserved brain. In the human brain imaging techniques station, students learn about MRI and EEG and visit the mock MRI scanner (this is a cardboard set-up that looks like an MRI machine for demonstration purposes). In the sensory and perception station, students listen to electrophysiological recordings from cockroach legs and perform a Von Frey touch sensitivity test. Students also receive a docent led tour of the Yale Cushing Center, watch videos describing brain-computer interfaces, and play with EMG-controlled robotic claws. All activities are designed to be flexible for all ages and simple to learn. Our objective with these stations is to expose students in a hands-on manner to a diverse array of neuroscience in order to better prepare them for future careers in science. We believe that we are achieving our goals as 43% of our target students in the Pathways to Science Initiative have persisted in college STEM majors, double the national average.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Advertisements
  • Emails
  • Mailings

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

We target 1,300 students in Yale's Pathways to Science Initiative, in order to have a more concentrated effect on local New Haven youth, 89% of whom are either women, minorities, or upcoming first-generation college students. Events are advertised to them by postcard, which they typically respond very well to. We follow up through their schools and via email.


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:

  • Q&A: Answering Your Questions About Brain Research
  • It’s Mindboggling!
  • More Mindbogglers!
  • Staying Sharp Bookmark
  • BAW Stickers
  • BAW Pencils and Erasers
  • The Mindboggling Workbook
  • Staying Sharp: Successful Aging and the Brain

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

  • Puzzles: Grades 6-8
  • Puzzles: Grades 9-12
  • Puzzles: BAW Favorites

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

  • New Puzzles/Games

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?

Our BAW is the Neuroscience Outreach Program’s largest event. It benefits our organization by bringing the largest number of volunteers today to meet and interact with the local community. The community is also able to directly interact with neuroscientists and Yale students. Immediate outcomes from the event have included local students deciding to complete CT Capstone Projects on neuroscience topics or pursue STEM majors in college. Schools also contact us after this event for field-trips.

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

Activities are always better than lectures. Students learn better when they are actively engaged in what they are doing. Perform a variety of activities as neuroscience is an extensive field; that way, if a student doesn’t respond well to one activity, they will have the opportunity to become excited about another activity.

Did/do you like our Facebook page?


Event Photos

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Contact Information

BAW Website:


Contact Name:

Sara Katrancha

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:


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