“How do you spell Neurotransmitter?”

by Leah Anderson

Originally published September 2004.

This year’s community outreach activities were an outstanding success!

First grader’s examine a human brain
First grader’s examine a human brain

The future funding of our research is critically dependent on public support from voters, lawmakers, and philanthropists. Therefore, in conjunction with the SFN’s Brain Awareness Week, the Atlanta Chapter of the SFN (ACSFN) sponsors visits to local schools. These visits are an excellent opportunity for us to educate students, teachers and parents on the exciting and important work we do as neuroscientists. This past spring was our biggest and best outreach effort with more than 17 visits made by 30 volunteers. We reached more community members than ever. We visited elementary, middle, and high schools in 5 urban and suburban public school districts as well as a few of the nearby private schools. We participated as guest lecturers, science night exhibitors, and SCITREK volunteers. Each year, there is a wide variety of ways for neuroscientists to get out and work with the community. The feedback from these visits was overwhelmingly positive. We received very thoughtful emails of thanks from parents and teachers, as well as crayon-drawn cards of thanks from elementary students!

When comparing rodent and primate brains, the students notice more wrinkles in the monkey brain.
When comparing rodent and primate
brains, the students notice more wrinkles in the monkey brain.

Chances are, if you didn’t volunteer this year, one of your coworkers did. If you have yet to participate in any outreach activity, I encourage you to talk to one of us about our experiences. I guarantee you will hear some funny and amazing stories about the student’s enthusiasm and curiosity. The ACSFN has accumulated a database of schools, teachers and successful lesson plans for volunteers to use in setting up their visits. We have games, activities and specimens available whenever you may need them. Therefore, participating in community outreach has never been easier! If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to volunteer for upcoming community outreach activities, contact the ACSFN outreach coordinator, Leah Anderson at lrander@emory.edu.

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