Two students from the Queens Gateway to Health Science Secondary School earned second and fourth place honors during the recently held New York City Regional Brain Bee.
Second place winner Koryalys Edwards was approached by teacher Prudence Mougis to participate in the competition. Because of her interest in all parts of the body, Edwards decided to do it.
“When I heard about it I was very excited,” said Edwards, a sophomore from Corona. “I immediately said yes.”
Ashley Jabar, a junior at the school who came in fourth in the competition, was approached by her AP biology teacher about it and also decided to participate, saying that it sounded fun.
In order to prepare, the students had to read Brain Facts, which is published by The Society for Neuroscience. They also met after school with Mougis, who quizzed them, and quizzed each other.
During the Brain Bee, the 38 students who participated were quizzed on brain-related questions during eight rounds.
Jabar, a resident of South Ozone Park, said that she learned a lot about neurotransmitters. Edwards said that she thought the general complexity of the brain was very interesting.
“They were marvelous, and we were so happy for them,” Mougis said, adding that it was a success just for the two to have participated in the competition. “They ended up just doing really well. It’s a little icing on the cake.”
Edwards, who conducts summer research and wants to go into medicine, said that she thinks what she learned in the Brain Bee will help her with her future research.
The knowledge that Edwards and Jabar gained through the Regional Brain Bee goes beyond just what they were tested on. Jabar said that, through the process, she learned how to work better with other people and learned that even in a competition setting the mentality does not have to be about beating the other person.
Although Edwards and Jabar had not known each prior to the competition, they have now developed a friendship.
“After a week of working together, we became really, really close,” said Jabar, who wants to become a math teacher.
Edwards and Jabar thanked Mougis for her assistance and support. Mougis also extended her gratitude to the school’s principal, Cynthia Edwards, who she said urged her to encourage the students.