Kickstarting the brain: juniors start neuroscience club

New club gets high turnout at first meeting

By David Lin and Rajiv Venkatesh

Neuroscience club held its first-ever meeting on Feb. 17 with the goal of educating members about opportunities in the field. Co-president Mahi Patel said she and her fellow co-president, junior Cecilia Hu, decided to start the club in the summer before their junior year after realizing that HHS was one of the few schools they had observed without a neuroscience-focused club. 

However, the club only truly formed halfway through the first semester, Patel, a junior, said, as they worked to create an officer team and find an advisor, which proved to be the most challenging part.

“One day, the temperature was over 100 degrees, and we were walking around knocking on doors, trying to get a teacher to agree,” Patel said. “Eventually we sent out a bunch of emails and we finally got a teacher to become our advisor.”

At STEM night, Rao said the club hoped to make neuroscience fun through activities such as matching a series of brains to their respective animals and putting the human brain together one lobe at a time.
(Photo by Nicole Pimenta Innecco)

Right before winter break, the club was approved by ASB and began planning its next steps. On Feb. 3, neuroscience club participated in STEM night, an event intended to introduce elementary and middle school students to various STEM fields. At the event, the club offered an activity in which participants felt three different textures — slime, noodles and Jell-O — and had to guess which one was the closest to the texture of the brain, social media manager, junior Sana Rao said. 

“Lots of kids were really interested in the activity, and parents were coming up to us and saying, ‘Wow, this is so cool,’ and things like that,” Patel said. “A lot of HHS students also came, so we knew that there was an interest in the club.”

At the club’s first meeting, the officers decided to repeat the activity due to its previous popularity. Although she was initially concerned about the turnout at the meeting, Rao said about 20 to 25 students attended, surpassing her expectations.

Junior Hossna Adel said she hopes the club provides her the opportunity to learn something new in the STEM field. Adel said many people likely attended the meeting as a result of the club’s participation in STEM night.

In the future, Rao said she hopes the club grows in popularity and endures for years to come. As for this year, Hu said she hopes to hold an event in which members can visit nearby neuroscience labs, such as the one at Stanford University.

“Since we don’t have to fulfill a requirement like studying for an AP test, we have a lot of freedom as to what we teach club members,” Patel said. “We’ll have lessons, as well as fun activities to go along with them, which we hope will set them on the path to becoming doctors or researchers in the neuroscience field in the future.”