Northwestern and Dordt colleges will host the third annual Brain Awareness Day on Sat., March 20, beginning at 9 a.m. in Christ Chapel. Brain Awareness Day gives students and adults the opportunity to learn about the brain through activities, a lecture and free literature about current research in neuroscience.
It is “a community outreach created to make the community more aware of brain related health research and to help people have a better understanding of the brain,” said Assistant Professor of Biology Ralph Davis, who is organizing the event.
Brain Awareness Day is sponsored by the biology departments of the two colleges in conjunction with Orange City Health Systems. The events were held at Dordt last year, and they may be moved back again next year.
Beginning at 10:15 a.m. on the second floor of Van Perseum Hall, students from the upper elementary grades and older through adults will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities. They can dissect sheep brains, create bead neurons, watch demonstrations of nerve conduction, create nervous system structures from modeling clay and participate in optical illusions. Northwestern’s neuroscience students will coordinate these activities.
“Neuroscience students can share their knowledge of the brain one-on-one with students and adults,” said Davis.
NW students will be offering tours of their research lab to community members in attendance, and there will be a drawing for a free children’s bicycle safety helmet donated by Orange City Health Systems. Also, free literature about current neurological research and resource organizations will be given to participants.
Emile Fernando, a physician’s assistant at the Center for Neurosciences, Orthopaedics, and Spine in Dakota Dunes, S.D. will speak in the chapel at 9 a.m. about brain anatomy and how it relates to neurosurgeries such as craniotomies. Fernando is a graduate of Briar Cliff and the University of North Dakota.
“The brain is one of the last frontiers in biology and is associated with who we are, our personhood. We desire to understand the brain. We want to understand ourselves better,” said Davis.