Community Outreach

The Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences has been involved in community outreach programs since early in the 1990's - designated the "Decade of the Brain." It all began when a faculty member and a few graduate students starting going out to local schools with a cart full of brain-science stuff like sheep's brains that the students could touch, a human brain in a jar that they could study, and other materials to experiment with.

Today MINS is active in a much broader range of community outreach and partnership activities in the Philadelphia area, organized by the Graduate-Led Initiatives and Activities (GLIA) Committee of the Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG).

Click on the pictures and links below for more information

Brains in Briefs

Brains in Briefs is a website featuring short, public-friendly descriptions of NGG students' scientific publications. Our goal is to communicate the essentials of our new findings in a clear and approachable manner that frames the research in a larger, relevant context.

Neuroscience Public Lecture

The Penn Neuroscience Public Lecture Committee hosts a bi-annual event featuring research from Penn Faculty and open to all to attend. Our most recent lecture, "The Autistic Brain: Piecing Together the Puzzle," was attended by over 250 people from the greater Philadelphia community! Videos of all public lectures are available on NGG's YouTube channel.

High School Neuroscience Textbook

Neuroscience: A Primer is an introductory neuroscience textbook for high school students, written entirely by NGG students to complement the Upward Bound Neuroscience course we teach every summer. The Primer is available for purchase on Amazon and Lulu. Cover art generously provided by Greg Dunn.

Elementary School Outreach

In 2014, NGG students began visiting local elementary school classrooms to teach young scientists about brainwaves, neurotransmission, and brain anatomy. We've already reached over 400 students in grades K-5. Our main partner is Independence Charter School.

Upward Bound Neuroscience Course

Brain in Briefs

NGG students teach a summer Neuroscience course to Upward Bound students. The class meets biweekly, and exposes roughly 20 local high school students from low-income families to the basic concepts of neuroscience. The textbook for the course, Neuroscience: A Primer, was written and published by NGG students.

Research Fridays

Upward Bound Research Fridays pairs high school Upward Bound students with NGG graduate student mentors who help the students complete an independent research project and poster. The program ends with a poster session where the students get a chance to show off their hard work!

Kids Judge!

Kids Judge, sponsored by the Biological Basis of Behavior program at Penn, is a fair that teaches neuroscience concepts to local third-and fourth-grade elementary school students in a fun and interactive way. Penn undergrads and grad students present stations on a variety of topics from taste and vision to brain lateralization and comparative anatomy. The elementary students then judge and vote for their favorite exhibits!

Philadelphia Science Festival

NGG students lead neuroscience demonstrations at various Philadelphia Science Festival events including Science After Hours, Clark Park Discovery Day, and the Science Carnival. Our most recent exhibits featured auditory illusions, memory games, and a brain controlled helicopter!

Brain Awareness Week

During this two-day event, young visitors to the Franklin Institute Science Museum get a chance to build their own neurons and learn about the electricity in their brain with NGG student volunteers. This event is part of the national Brain Awareness Campaign and is sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Brain Bee

The Brain Bee is an international competition, sponsored by the Society for Neuroscience, for secondary school students to test their knowledge of facts about the brain. NGG students run the Philadelphia Brain Bee and host weekend study sessions to ensure that the competitors are prepared for their big day.