The Stellar Program in Neuroscience and Society has been established in recognition of the fact that scientific advance, today more than ever, relies on a partnership between science and society, that one will not advance without the other. The program draws upon the resources of clinical and basic scientists, health care providers, nurses and scholars from other fields, including communications, the humanities, and business, to put before the public and to engage that public in discussion about the pivotal role of the brain and brain research in our lives.
The Stellar Program is named in honor of the late Dr. Eliot Stellar, scientist, scholar, and gentleman, who served both as a director of the Mahoney Institute and Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Stellar was a life-long advocate of the “one university” philosophy – a view that Penn, working collaboratively as a community of scholars spanning disciplines as diverse as medicine, business, and philosophy, is uniquely poised to generate knowledge, teach new generations of learners, and contribute in meaningful ways to society. Many tributes to Eliot Stellar exist on the Penn campus, including the Stellar-Chance research building and the Eliot Stellar Visiting Fellows Program, which each year brings talented scholars to campus to interact with faculty and students in the neurosciences. The Stellar Program in Neuroscience and Society will complement this latter initiative by linking visiting fellows with Penn faculty in public program settings.
The Stellar Program creates opportunities for collaborative engagement of Penn's 12 schools in an educational outreach effort. It provides an unusual opportunity to show how research, from its most fundamental, basic level to very specific clinical areas, contributes to our understanding of brain diseases and disorders and to the development of new treatments and therapies. The Stellar Program offers to the public the highest-quality, up-to-date information about brain diseases and disorders, from one of the finest academic and medical institutions in America, in forms accessible to audiences with only a general understanding of science and a thirst for more.
We welcome contributions and pledges in support of the Stellar program. To make an on-line contribution today, please click here
If you wish to make a pledge or multiple-year gift, please send a brief message to us at: email@example.com and we will get back to you promptly. If you prefer to contact us in writing the address is: The Stellar Program for Neuroscience and Society, The Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, 215 Stemmler Hall, 3450 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6074.
The 2009 Kids Judge Fair brought 130 Philadelphia youngsters to Penn to learn about the brain from Penn students and faculty.
Getting The Message Out
About Brain Research
The Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences has been involved in outreach programs since early in the 90's - designated the "Decade of the Brain". It started with a faculty member and a few graduate students going out to local schools with a cart full of brain science stuff including sheeps' brains that the students could touch, and a human brain in a jar that they could study, and lots of other brain science things to experiment with. Science teachers were invited back to Penn to see demos of modules that they could incorporate into their classes. This approach was very popular with the schools but it was very labor and time intensive.
Brain Awareness Week had the same goals as the Decade of the Brain but had the advantage that it didn't end after ten years. It was initiated by the Dana Alliance and picked up later by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). For one week in March, members of the Society are encouraged to promote awareness of neuroscience research in any way that they can. The University of Maryland's contribution was a brain bee for high school students. This was so successful that, with the backing of the SfN, they turned it into an annual national event.
Brain Bee: INS became involved at the beginning without really knowing how to organize it or even how to find the students to take part - enter Penn's Upward Bound Program who were looking for competitions to engage their high school participants - any kind of competition. MINS is now gearing up for the local heat to be held on February 5th, 2011. It is open to any area high school student who wants to learn about their brain. The questions all come from the SfN publication - Brain Facts - and Philadelphia area high school students can sign up and receive the book by contacting Angela Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One thing leads to another and our brain bee venture led to our offering an Introductory Neuroscience Course for high school students during June and July when INS graduate students teach their own particular area of expertise. It's a win-win situation, exposing young students to the science of the brain, and our graduate students to a challenging teaching situation.
The National Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fair Partnership is an education program designed to make scientists better communicators and elementary-school children better scientists. Universities and other institutions across the country organize and host this unique twist on the traditional science fair, but the science fair is held by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates - and the judges are fourth graders. The Kids Judge Fair is sponsored by the Biological Basis of Behavior Program, the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Science, Access Science, the Center for Community Partnerships, the Provost's Interdisciplinary Seminar Fund and the National Kids Judge! Neuroscience Fairs Partnership. This year's Kids Judge! will be held December 1, 2010. View our photos and learn more.
Finally, MINS has recently forged a link with Penn's Center for Community Partnerships. This program, which is funded by NIH, builds bridges between Philadelphia teachers and Penn faculty and students, and again our students gain valuable teaching experience while the teachers have access to the latest neuroscience research.
For general inquiries and information, please contact Jane Hoshi.