Broome student is WA bid for Australia’s brainiest kid

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Year 10 student Harman Sharma from St Mary's College, Broome has won the WA championship and will now represent the State at the Australian Brain Bee Challenge.

More than 80 outstanding Year 10 students from WA competed in a multiple-choice neuroscience quiz at The University of Western Australia.

The savvy scholars outsmarted more than 500 teenagers from 23 schools to make it through to the WA finals.

In a nail-biting finish Rushi D'Cruz from Goldfields Baptist College was one point behind the leader followed by Isobel Yates from St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls.

St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls won the team challenge ahead of St Mary's College, Broome and St Mary's Anglican Girls' School.  

The shortlisted students travelled from 17 schools around the State to compete. The meeting of minds included a brain-teasing team challenge and neuroscience quiz to test their knowledge of the brain and how it works.  They also toured UWA's world-class facilities and met with renowned scientific researchers. 

"I am amazed at the level of neuroscience understanding shown by these young people," State Coordinator and UWA Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger said.  "These Year 10 students have a depth of knowledge expected of university undergraduates in the UWA Neuroscience Major."

Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) National Co-ordinator and neuroscientist Professor Linda Richard said the competition gave students a feel for what a career in neuroscience might be like.  

"Neurological and mental illness account for a huge proportion of the disease burden in our community so we need to attract the best and brightest minds to take up a career in science," Professor Richard said.

Some 5550 students from 300 schools across Australia and New Zealand took part in the first round of this year's competition.

The student who tops the State finals will be offered a place in the Australian Brain Bee Challenge National Final, to be held in Perth next April at the Symposium of Western Australian Neuroscience Annual Conference. The national winner will compete at the international level later next year.

ABBC is supported by major sponsors, QBI and UQ, along with the Australian Neuroscience Society and the Neurotrauma Research Program in WA.

The Australian Brain Bee Challenge is the country's only neuroscience competition for high school students designed to test knowledge about a range of topics, including intelligence, memory, emotions, sleep, Alzheimer's disease and stroke. 

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