Southern California high schoolers form youth neuroscience association to grow and give back

"How can a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm imagine angels, contemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos?" - V.S. Ramachandran

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When high schooler Nikhita graduated from the UCI CNLM's inaugural Summer Brain Camp, she wanted more. More knowledge. More exposure to neuroscientists. More experiments. In chatting with her peers, she found that others at her high school and throughout Orange County shared her interests and also wanted more. She began developing the idea of a community of like-minded youth who gather to explore the world of neuroscience. Working with Manuella Yassa, CNLM Director of Outreach and Education, Nikhita delineated the components of a new community-run program and recruited like-minded peers to serve on its leadership board.

The Southern California Youth Neuroscience Association (SCYNA) was born. The group's vision is to be a platform for high school students to learn, participate, and grow as aspiring neuroscientists, with a mission to establish a community of neuroscience students to further their interest and passion in neuroscience and to fuel a fascination for the brain in the curious minds of younger children. The leadership board is planning events including speaker events where high schoolers engage with neuroscientists as well as  interactive events like debates and journal clubs. Additionally, the members will give back to the community by engaging younger children in neuroscience activities.

"The Southern California Youth Neuroscience Association is the perfect example of a true collaboration between a university and its community," says Manuella. "I am so proud of Nikhita for seeing a gap, envisioning a solution and working hard to realize her vision. The entire leadership board has worked tirelessly over the summer to make this program a reality and engaging with them has been a true pleasure."

To learn more about the Southern California Youth Neuroscience Association and apply to be a member, click here.

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