Brain Awareness Week
The Program is involved in many outreach activities. The biggest outreach effort of the Program is Brain Awareness Week (BAW). BAW is a national outreach effort spearheaded by the Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance. Each year, the Program participates in this campaign by providing brain information for free to children and adults. The Program typically sponsors various events, including Science Expeditions and a collaboration with the Madison Children’s Museum to provide an educational experience for children and adults. Faculty and students volunteer their time to operate stations that children visit to learn more about the brain. Activities in the past have included optical illusions, memory testing, constructing a pipe cleaner neuron, exploring the senses, and seeing a human brain.
The Neuroscience Training Program coordinates part of the curriculum for the PEOPLE Program. The PEOPLE Program is a UW-Madison based initiative to increase enrollment of underrepresented at UW-Madison. Students in the Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine school districts as well as several tribal schools are eligible to apply following their first semester in high school and participate in activities at UW-Madison each summer until they enroll in college. Successful completion of the PEOPLE Program, admission and satisfactory progress at UW-Madison guarantees a full tuition grant for up to five years. The Program coordinates the unit in neuroscience for students during their first summer at Madison, where graduate students serve as instructors. Generally, 10-12 graduate students from the Program participate in this activity. This is a unique initiative to increase diversity at UW-Madison and encourage interest in neuroscience.
Other Outreach Opportunities
The Program also visits area middle school classrooms by request. Graduate and undergraduate students, and faculty provide hands-on brain activities to students as well as families on occasions. Occasionally students are brought to the UW-Madison campus to learn about neuroscience from our faculty. Volunteers for these presentations are solicited via e-mail. In addition, the Program regularly participates in other community outreach activities including family science nights/days at local schools.