Up close with Canada's "brainiest" student

Prerana Keerthi shares her experience of winning the national Brain Bee competition

Hamilton, Ontario – May 27, 2017 – Prerana Keerthi, Winner of the 2017 Canadian National Brain Bee

On May 27th 2017, 15 exceptional high school students from across the country were tested on their knowledge of neuroscience and the brain through a variety of challenges in the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee.

The winner, Prerana Keerthi from Toronto, Ontario, will represent Canada at the 2017 International Brain Bee competition in Washington DC. This Grade 11 student from The Woodlands Secondary School will compete against winners from up to 30 countries.

1. How did it feel to win the 2017 CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee?

I was a little bit surprised, as all the other participants were extremely well prepared and the competition was close. I was mostly happy that I won and that my hard work paid off.

2. What made you decide to participate in the competition in the first place?

I participated in the Toronto Regional Brain Bee last year after hearing about it through the biology club at my school. I did well at the competition that year, which encouraged me to participate again this year.

3. How did you prepare for the competition?

I tried to memorize the content by continuously reading over the competition materials, printing them out, and highlighting concepts I found very relevant. To prepare for the neuroanatomy section, I mostly looked at online images, but I also had the opportunity to watch a sheep brain dissection at University of Toronto.

4. What was your favourite part of the national competition?

I enjoyed the neuroanatomy section the most, since looking at a real human brain is definitely a unique opportunity, not available to many human students. It was nice being able to look at a structure in the brain, and understand what it was actually used to do.

5. What are your feelings regarding the upcoming international competition?

I'm a little bit nervous, but mostly excited! I have a lot more preparation to do, but I'm glad that I've made it this far. Ultimately, I'm just going to give it my best.

6. Would you consider pursuing a career in neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the field that I want to enter in the future. I'm interested in either becoming a neurologist or doing neuroscience research. Hopefully, I will be able to do both at different stages of my career!

7. Why do you think learning about neuroscience is important?

Nervous system disorders affect more than 1 billion people worldwide, and by studying neuroscience, we are better equipped to find cures for these disorders. Aside from that however, I think that we should learn more about neuroscience, for the sake of curiosity. The human brain is one of the most complicated mysteries and it is the structure that makes us human. By studying the brain, we can also learn a bit more about ourselves.

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