Brain Awareness Week Open House 2009

“I love this event. The kids are great, and they get a huge kick out of all of the activities.” - Tony Azevedo

“The opportunity to work with kids and share my knowledge of neuroscience made this experience incredibly worthwhile!” - Mitra Barahimi

“It was great to help kids learn outside the classroom in a fun, hands on environment.” - Beth Dingman

“I really enjoyed this experience. It was a fun and interesting way to interact with kids about science.” - Emily Eck

“Brain Awareness Week at the University of Washington is the single best event for neuroscience learning in Washington State. It's also a great way for those of us who do neuroscience research to bring our work to the community and get future scientists interested in exploring one of science's last frontiers: the human brain.” - Jess Fox

“BAW open house is a great way to introduce kids to brain science with hands-on exhibits. As a volunteer, I often learn new and exciting things about how our brains work. I come back every year to help kids learn and to learn more myself!” - Stephanie Furrer

“BAW was a success! It was a learning experience for the volunteers and children who attended.” - Angela Garinis

“It was a lot of fun. Everyone really enjoyed themselves (even the adults!) and it was great to see them get so excited about neuroscience. I hope to be involved again next year.” - Katie Ho

“I had a great time. It's nice to see so many children (and adults) interested in the brain.” - Ben Land

“It was a lot of fun - even more than I expected. It was really neat seeing the kids get so excited about what we were talking about... one student thought it was so cool that he kept bringing friends back to show them the exhibit.” - Stephanie Martin

“I loved it. There aren't many opprotunities as great as BAW to interact with younger students in a fun and engaging manner. I'm telling everyone I know to come and help next year.” - Joshua Nahum

“The BAW was a great opportunity for kids to experience the excitement of the brain and to meet passionate neurobiology students.” - Matt O’Brien

“I was having a bad week, and it made me remember why I fell in love with neuroscience.” - Julia Pollak

“I have volunteered for BAW for two years now, and I love it! The kids are always amazed by the illusions, and it's great to teach them and see their "aha!" moments.” - Preethi Raghu

“Brain Awareness Week is always a good time. I love seeing all the kids (and teachers) get excited learning about the brain, and as a break from my day to day it leaves me reinspired about how cool my own science is.” - Benjy Smarr

“I found it very rewarding and encouraging to watch the children get excited about neuroscience.” - Elizabeth Snider

“I love it more every year!” - Bryan White

“It's such a great feeling to get a K-12 student to go "WOW!" about something that I really care about. To inspire passion takes a lot more effort than some people realize, and when I manage to achieve it, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.” - Eric Zimmerman

Brain Awareness Week Open House 2008

“It was a wonderful experience. I'd forgotten how fun it was to work with kids. I wouldn't hesitate to volunteer again and in fact, I'd love to get more involved next year!” - Mitra Barahimi

“Here's my impression of BAW: One crazy-fun-hectic-squishy-intense-educational-weird-kooshball flying-crafty-brain-filled day! =)” - Melissa Caras

“BAW was a great way to interact with children, parents, and teachers and encourage them to think about their own brains. It's a great event that improves public perception of scientists, promotes science education, and fills in the gaps in the Washington state science curriculum.” - Jess Fox

“It's fun to teach kids something new about their brains, but even more rewarding to see them excited about science. Even if they don't remember all the details of what we taught, hopefully they'll remember the feelings of curiosity and discovery. If they came away with an enthusiasm for science, then we were successful.” - Sean Georgi

“I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I just didn't think it would be conducive to learning if you channel huge crowds of kids through dozens of exhibits - they'll get tired and overloaded quickly, while the experiences remain pretty superficial. After seeing the action though, I think there was plenty of opportunity for real thinking. I really enjoyed interacting with the teachers and chaperones too - they learn just as much or more, and may carry that over into their teaching.” - Juliane Gust

“BAW is always the outreach highlight of the year. It's fun for a range of ages -- older students enjoy problem-solving while they learn about the scientific method, and younger kids just love playing with the exhibits! I hope that this fun experience will inspire kids to enjoy science and take care of their brains.” - Robin Harris

“I hope the students had as much fun as I did exploring how the brain takes in and processes information. It can be tricky engaging students enough that they come away with good information, but it's important to make learning fun too.” - Denise Inman

“I had a great time. My knees were sore from crouching to be at eye-level with the kids, but it was definitely worth seeing the kids having fun at the tables! When an illusion caught the kids, I really enjoyed watching their eyes open in amazement followed by ‘Do it again!!’" - Forrest Jespersen

“I had a great time. I enjoy seeing kids enthused about science, and the brain specifically. My hope is that something stuck in their brains by the time they left.” - Ben Land

“I thought this was a great opportunity for younger kids to be exposed to topics relating to the brain and sciences in general. I was very impressed by the kids' level of interest and cooperation. They seemed to be enjoying not only the hands-on excitement, but also the subject matter of the exhibits.” - Brynn Lydum

“This is a great event, please contact me for future activities. Everything is well planned and the kids really look like they have a good time learning about brain 'stuff'. Keep up the good work!” - Adria Martig

“It was very exciting to see the bright faces of the children when they experienced fundamentally new or counterintuitive phenomena.” - Sheri Mizumori

“This was a fun hands on experience to interact with kids.” - Jen Osborn

“The number of students who were interested in the brain was pretty amazing and unexpected. I felt happy that I could 'wow' them with optical illusions. I am really looking forward to doing BAW Open House again next year. I also want to do classroom visits for the kids who couldn't make it this year.” - Preethi Raghu

“I had a great experience doing this. The kids were more involved in the activity than I expected, and adults and kids alike seemed to be interested in what we were teaching.” - Suzanne Reeve

“I had a really good time teaching the children and would love to do it again next year.” - Rakendu Shukla

“It was a rewarding experience as always. I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with some of our future neuroscientists and was impressed with the overall level of curiosity and interest they expressed. I look forward to BAW 2009!” - Hilaire Thompson

“This is an amazing opportunity both for the volunteers and for the attendees of the open house. The volunteers get to interact with kids and support their curiosity as well as connect them with science in an engaging way. The kids get to learn more about the brain and the many ways brain science interacts with their lives.” - Carrie Tzou

“We've come a long way to be serving 600 kids at the BAW Open House. Every thought, time, effort and talent counted. No grad student can execute an event of this scale alone. That's why we work as a team.” - Hiro Watari

“I loved it! Having us all work together to get kids excited about neuroscience is very rewarding. We can achieve a lot when we pool our resources and talents.” - Bryan White

Brain Awareness Week Open House 2007

“Kids love their brains, and their brains sometimes took the kids by surprise. It was great fun watching them explore and become curious, and I enjoyed being around their excitement and able to discuss with them.” - Tony Azevedo

“I was unsure of what to expect, but had a great time interacting with students and other exhibitors. I'm always excited to see the fresh perspective that young people bring to science. I just wish I had heard about this activity in years past.” - Courtney Bello

“It's always exciting to see kids learn something new or discover a different way to view the world. Helping out at the Brain Awareness Week Open House was a richly rewarding experience, and a whole ton of fun!” - Sean Georgi

“The kids surprised me with their ability to work through problems and come up with unique hypotheses. They really got creative, and it was great to see them so excited about science!” - Robin Harris

“It was so much fun to interact with many different kids and teenagers. Watching them try to pick out a pattern based on what they had just learned and then have them be able to explain what that cell does was especially memorable.” - Christena Kolakowski

“I had a great time learning with all the young students. It feels good seeing the kids engaged and excitedly learning about brains, and its rewarding to give good face-time for science to such a young audience.” - Benjy Smarr

“The success of the crafts table is due to Berit's hardwork and creativity. The table was full of participants the entire day. I think everyone had a great time.” - Kathryn Tabor

“Working together with so many other graduate students at UW on this relatively large scale educational outreach event was a major step toward establishing a true tradition of outreach and community service within our science programs.” - Jonathan Ting

“What made the BAW 2007 a smashing success was that over 20 grad students came together and contributed their very best!” - Hiro Watari

Brain Awareness Week Open House 2006

"Volunteering for the BAW and Health Sciences Open House keeps me connected to my classmates and to the community." - Janet Altman

"We share our knowledge and experience through outreach because we are truly passionate about what we do." - Jonathan Ting

"Good company, funny kids, a noble cause and a free lunch.  It's a no-brainer!" - Talley Lambert

"You don't fully realize what you know until you share it with others." - Bryan White

“This experience afforded us the unique opportunity to step back from our research projects and our subfields within neuroscience to determine how to present our collective ideas to a more general audience.  The end result was just as rewarding for me as the planning process.” - Joy Sebe

"Advocate diversity in science.  Make neuroscience accessible to a diverse group of young students." - Joy Sebe

"Working as a team.  Serving the community.  It’s satisfying." - Hiro Watari

“I'd do it again." - Elena Cherny

"Working off-campus can be isolating at times, but doing outreach activities with my peers helps me feel like I'm part of a community" - Ross McDevitt

"It was rewarding to watch the eyes of kids and parents alike light up as they realized the computational capacity of their own brains." - Berit Jacobson

"I really enjoyed guiding kids through activities that 'fooled' their senses and made them think about how their brains work to perceive the world." - Doug Wacker

"Working at the BAW Open House is great.  The kids have a good time and learn about neuroscience, and so do I.  It's a great trade." - John Meitzen

"As a scientist in training, if you can explain your work to a six year old, then you know you really understand it." - Max Sizemore

"The spark that I got from describing what I do to an enthusiastic lay audience gave me more from outreach than I ever put in." - Abby Person

“Outreach to the local community and sharing the excitement of neuroscience research and concepts with students is an important part of our mission at the University of Washington”

Mike Shadlen & Tom Reh,
2001-2007 Directors, Graduate Program in Neurobiology & Behavior

Many volunteers have participated in our outreach events over the years.  Read what they have to say about their experiences.


University of Washington, Seattle

Neurosci Community Outreach