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International Youth BrainSTEM Summit

• neuroscience ideathon •


July 31st-August 2nd, 2020

Presented by Simply Neuroscience and the International Youth Neuroscience Association

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The International Youth BrainSTEM Summit is a virtual, 3-day neuroscience-themed ideathon open to anyone ages 13-22. No prior experience is necessary and the event is 100% free to attend! Participants will form a team of 2-4 students in their age bracket (13-17 or 18-22) and pick one of 5 categories: ethics, engineering, neuroeconomics, health/public health, or research, each of which will have specific challenges that will be released two days before the competition on Wednesday, July 29th. Students will have approximately 72 hours to develop their project and be asked to propose and pitch an idea in response to the challenge prompt(s) and then present their solution via Zoom to a panel of judges composed of undergraduate students and experts/professionals in their respective category. Throughout the competition, students will be introduced to the wonders of the field of neuroscience and its intersections with other fields in STEM and the humanities while gaining real-world experience with international collaboration, interdisciplinary design thinking, and the necessary skills to bring innovative ideas to life.


Friday, July 31st

10:00 am

2:30 pm


5:00 pm

6:00 pm

7:00 pm

*Opening Ceremony, Competition Details, Q&A*


Workshop: Making the Most Out of A Research Experience w/ Jacob Umans


Workshop: Finding & Securing STEM Internships in HS w/ Shivali Gulati

Workshop: Science Communication w/ Adrian Li

Workshop: App Prototyping Using Figma w/ Skyler Basco

Saturday, August 1st

9:00 am

10:00 am

11:00 am

12:00 pm

1:00 pm

2:00 pm

3:00 pm

4:00 pm

5:00 pm

6:00 pm

7:00 pm

8:00 pm

9:00 pm

9:30 pm

*Solution Submission Deadline*


Presentation Day Kickoff Keynote Speech: Dr. Adam Cassano












Presentation Day Ends

Sunday, August 2nd

11:00 am

2:00 pm

2:10 pm


8:00 pm

9:00 pm

10:00 pm

Top 10 Presentations Begin (open to public)

Top 10 presentations End

Judges Convene & Final Decision Process Begins

*Closing Ceremony Begins: Keynote Speech by Dr. Roger Knowles

Winner Announcement*

Winners Meeting

 **Note: Times are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). An asterisk (*) marks key times on the schedule that all participants should take note of.**

Keynote Speakers

Adam Cassano is an associate professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.  Prior to time at Drew, he earned his Bachelors and Doctoral degrees from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  Over his professional career, he has developed passions for understanding the mechanisms of catalysis used by enzymes and teaching the principles of chemistry to the next generation of scientists and citizens.  At Drew, he has taught over a dozen different courses while specializing in biochemistry.  In his research, he is particularly interested in the role metal ions play in catalyzing the cleavage of phosphodiester bonds, a reaction critical to numerous biological processes.  

Adam Cassano, Ph.D.

Drew University


Roger Knowles, Ph.D.

Professor Roger Knowles took an unusual route to becoming Drew’s neurobiologist and expert in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research. After graduating from West Point in 1986 and majoring in Human Factors, he served as a lieutenant in the United States Army. With the ending of the Cold War, he left the army and went to Harvard University, where he earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 1996.


After two years as a research fellow at the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, he joined the Department of Biology at Drew University in 1998 and spearheaded the drive to develop a Neuroscience major at Drew. During his time at Drew, Professor Roger Knowles has served as Director ofthe Neuroscience program, Chair of the Biology Department and Chair of the Health Professions Committee. He has successfully written 15 grants, published 38 manuscripts and abstracts, mentored 50 undergraduate honors theses, and developed and taught 14 different undergraduate neuroscience courses. One of the highlights of his career was a successful Howard Hughes Medical Institute program grant, which he directed for 5 years and which helped create more research opportunities for Drew undergraduates.

Drew University


13-17 Age Category

First place-winning team will receive...

  • Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus calculator (~$100 value).

  • $50 to be divided equally among members.

  • Physical certificate of achievement and Simply Neuroscience swag in the mail.

  • Recognition and opportunities to present their idea across Simply Neuroscience and the IYNA's social media platforms (reaching audience of >5000 people).

  • $25 coupon for the Art of Problem Solving's books, classes, and products.

  • Automatic acceptance into The Junior Academy of the New York Academy of Sciences in Fall 2020 (approx. 10% acceptance rate).

  • Members of the grand prize team will become Young Members of the New York Academy of Sciences, which entitles them to free access to selected Academy content, a digital Membership Certificate and badge that can be shared on social media or embedded on a personal website, an invitation to attend the annual Global STEM Alliance Summit in NYC, access to digital eBriefings (multimedia reports on research presented at the Academy), digital subscriptions to Academy eNews, Global STEM Alliance, and Career Builder newsletters, and a complimentary year of student/postdoc Academy Membership when they turn 18.


18-22 Age Category

First place-winning team will receive...

  • TI-Nspire CX CAS Student Software (~$70 value).

  • $50 to be divided equally among members.

  • Physical certificate of achievement and Simply Neuroscience swag in the mail.

  • Recognition and opportunities to present their idea across Simply Neuroscience and the IYNA's social media platforms (reaching audience of >5000 people).

  • Members of the grand prize team will earn one year of student membership to the New York Academy of Sciences (a $36 value), which entitles them to free or discounts of 50% or more on all scientific symposia, webinars, and conferences, access to career development resources (e.g.  online courses, workshops, and webinars focused on helping early career scientists and engineers acquire the skills they’ll need to succeed in the workforce), networking & resume building opportunities (e.g. options to present research and connect with leading companies seeking STEM talent), unlimited digital access to Academy publications, including the archive of 500+ eBriefings and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, among the world’s most cited interdisciplinary scientific publications, as well as the ability to connect with other Members through the global Member Directory. 

Second place (runner-up) team will receive...

  • Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus calculator (~$100 value).

  • Physical certificate of achievement and Simply Neuroscience swag in the mail.

  • Automatic acceptance into The Junior Academy of the New York Academy of Sciences in Fall 2020.

  • Members of the runner-up team will become Young Members of the New York Academy of Sciences, which entitles them to free access to selected Academy content, a digital Membership Certificate, which is shareable on social media, an invitation to the annual Global STEM Alliance Summit, and a complimentary year of student/postdoc Academy Membership when they turn 18.

Second place (runner-up) team will receive...

  • TI-Nspire CX CAS Student Software (~$70 value).

  • Physical certificate of achievement and Simply Neuroscience swag in the mail.

  • Members of the runner-up team will earn one year of student membership to the New York Academy of Sciences (a $36 value) and all of its related benefits, including free/discounted access to events, networking &. resume building opportunities, unlimited digital access to Academy publications, etc. as described above.

5 "Best in Category" teams (across both age groups; one each in the categories of ethics, engineering, neuroeconomics, healthcare/public health, and research) will receive...

  • Physical certificate of achievement and Simply Neuroscience swag in the mail.

  • Based on age group, team members will earn either automatic acceptance into the NYAS Junior Academy (for students ages 13-17) or one year of full membership to the New York Academy of Sciences (a $36 value, for students ages 18-22, with all related benefits included as described above.

Note: All participants who submit a project by the deadline will receive a digital certificate of recognition after the competition.


Making the Most Out of A Research Experience w/ Jacob Umans - July 31st @ 2:30 PM ET

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About the Host:

Jacob Umans is an aspiring physician-scientist in the Stanford University Class of 2020. As a cofounder of the IYNA, he is passionate about science education and hopes to share his excitement about all subfields of neuroscience -- especially glial biology and neuroimmunity -- with students around the world. He hopes to go on to earn an MD/Ph.D. after graduating from Stanford and to use his clinical experience develop a research focused on developing a better understanding of and improved therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Outside of neuroscience, Jacob is an avid fan of puns, table tennis, and reading.

Workshop Description:

In this workshop, Jacob will highlight key considerations when choosing and working in a lab to make research experiences as rewarding as they can be.

Finding & Securing STEM Internships in HS w/ Shivali Gulati - July 31st @ 5:00 PM ET


About the Host:

Shivali Gulati is a high school senior from the Bay Area passionate about equitable computer science education and bridging the gender gap in STEM. She is the founder and executive director of Girl Genius, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit striving to connect, empower, and inspire female changemakers passionate about STEAM worldwide. Since 2018, her team has reached 470,000+ girls from 46 states & 75 countries through their magazine issues, virtual events, and social media campaigns. When Shivali is not working on Girl Genius, she can be found interning at companies like Verizon, 3D printing keychains for local organizations, or organizing hackathons throughout the Bay Area. 

Workshop Description:

In this workshop, Shivali will share advice and tips that helped her secure internships at companies such as Verizon, University of Arizona, SRI, and Safe Squad. She will discuss how to cold email companies effectively and maximize your resume as well as provide her advice on getting internships during COVID-19.

Science Communication w/ Adrian Li - July 31st @ 6:00 PM ET

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About the Host:

Zhaolong (Adrian), from Beijing, China, is a rising junior studying cognitive neuroscience and chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests focus on the application of cognitive testing and novel neuroimaging methods in characterizing human behavior and brain structure in obesity, Wolfram syndrome, and other disorders. He also enjoys teaching neuroscience to K-12 students, volunteering in patient care, indie pop, horror films, and traveling the world. 

Workshop Description:

You’ve finished your research project and got some cool findings. Great! But you’re not done: you must effectively communicate your work with other scholars and the general public. After all, good science is meant to be shared; science can inform action. This workshop introduces several ways to present research, what is means to honor (and violate) academic integrity, and asks how science should interact with the public. Real-world, thought-provoking examples will be included to spice up the discussion!

Graphic Design and Figma UI Prototyping w/ Skyler Basco - July 31st @ 7:00 PM ET

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About the Host:

Skyler Basco is a rising high school senior from Long Island, New York enthusiastic about combining her interests for neuroscience, graphic design, and community building to make a change. She is the Vice President of the Board of Directors at Simply Neuroscience, where she assists in the governance of over 200 members to expand interdisciplinary neuroscience education, awarenesss, and outreach globally. She has received multiple finalist placements for her UI, graphic design, and research skills at the National Youth Entrepreneurial Summit, The New York Academy of Sciences Junior Academy, Saturday Science at Columbia University's Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and more. When not working on random STEAM innovation challenges, she can be found building the Class of 2021 Community, drawing 3D illusions, or listening to her "skippy, a beat" Spotify playlist of hype music.

Workshop Description:

Want to create a mobile application prototype in one weekend without any experience? Awesome! All you need is a vision, resilience, and Figma: one of the best UI design and prototyping tools for all ages. This workshop will help you build an eye-catching, functional prototype and YouTube video walkthrough to impress the judges. You'll also learn how to transform your ideas into an aesthetically pleasing reality, gaining an inside scoop on how to market your branding through your slideshow presentation and/or other materials. Attending this workshop may be the last step towards winning this competition!


  • Who can register to participate in the competition?

    • Any students ages 13-22 can participate?

  • What exactly is this competition going to look like? What does it test?

    • You will form a team of 2-4 people in your age bracket. Your team will pick a category: ethics, engineering, neuroeconomics, health/public health, or research, and the specific challenges you'll have to solve in each category will be revealed when the competition begins. Based off of the challenges, your team will come up with an idea (e.g. a new biomedical device, an experiment, a way to resolve a neuroethical question) and develop a pitch to explain your idea and its benefits to the judges in a detailed manner. 

  • How can I receive updates about the competition and stay in the loop?

    • Sign up on the form above and follow @simplyneuroscience and @iyna_official on Instagram. After you register, we will also send you an invite to our Slack platform, where you can find teammates and receive updates as the competition draws near!

  • I have no prior experience in the fields of neuroscience/psychology and/or have never attended an event of this sort before. Will I receive resources or support throughout the competition?
    • Yes! The point of this competition is to cater to students at all levels in their academic and scientific journeys. We aim to introduce students who have not had the opportunity to engage​ in the fields of neuroscience/psychology before to this field while also giving students with existing experience a chance to expand upon their skills and knowledge across disciplines in STEM/the humanities. At the start of the competition, you will be provided with an information packet with everything you need to know about the competition and links to resources to help you get started! We will also have various workshops to help you learn more and our organizers will be hosting office hours and checking your Slack messages to answer any questions you may have throughout the event!
  • Where is the competition being hosted?

    • Online/virtually via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.​

  • Is there a registration fee?

    • Nope! This event is completely free thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and efforts of our organizing team.

  • What will I be expected to submit for my solution?

    • How you present your idea is up to you and will likely depend on which category you select. For example, the engineering category might lend itself better to a video or slideshow presentation, while the research category might be approached through brief written statements. You can also submit code, images of prototypes, and other information you believe will be relevant. All teams will also be required to submit an executive summary outlining their project and its impact, and we suggest that your presentation include the following components: background/problem statement, solution proposal, testing/results/feedback (optional), prototypes/detailed description, feasibility analysis/social impact, and conclusion. We will provide a rubric when the competition begins so you can gain a better idea of what we're looking for!

    • On the final day of the competition, you and your team will pitch your idea to a panel of judges; the first round of judges will be qualified undergraduates with experience in the category, and if you advance to the final round, you will be presenting to experts and professionals with specialized experience in the field. Top 10 finalists will then be invited to present publicly before the overall winners are decided/

  • Whom should I contact if I have any other questions?​



• Expert Judges •


Dr. Caroline Johnson

Sagar Chaturvedi

Vanshika Singh

Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurobiology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine 

Ph.D. Scholar in Neuromarketing with Masters in Neuropsychology from India; neuroscience researcher with expertise in EEG and fNIRS

Senior Research Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the National Brain Research Centre, India

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• Assistant Judges •


Sara Gordillo Sampedro

Rui Zhong

Richard Holman Matanta

Adrian Li

Hajer Karoui

Undergraduate studying 

cognitive neuroscience and chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis

Ph.D. candidate in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto

Ph.D. candidate in Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota

M.D. Candidate at the Universitas Hasanuddin (Unhas) in Makassar City, Indonesia

Postgraduate and MRes (Masters of Research) candidate in Experimental Neuroscience at Imperial College London

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Jacob Umans

James Kelbert

Selina Liu

Leonardo Campos

Natalie Asitimbay

Aspiring physician-scientist in the Stanford University Class of 2020; Co-Founder of the IYNA

Teck Park: STEM-focused Mentorship Program Director & cognitive psychology and neuroscience researcher

Pomona College Class of 2020 with degrees in Neuroscience and Spanish

Undergraduate studying biomedical engineering at Columbia University; neurological disease researcher

Undergraduate student at Nassau Community College aspiring to transfer to Boston University for biochemistry and political science

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Srija Venugopal Raja

Sara Emira

Stuti Chakraborty

Emilee Manske

Samuel George

Undergraduate studying neuroscience at Georgia State University

Occupational Therapist and Global Health Advocate working in Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Youth Disability

HBSc Kinesiology Candidate at McMaster University; rehabilitation program assistant for individuals with MS and/or spinal cord injuries

Undergraduate studying neuroscience at Scripps College

Post-undergraduate from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria; published neuroscience researcher

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Jenna Manzo

Farhat Ullah

Jay Talati

Keer Zhang

Daniel Maguadog

Undergraduate studying cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers University–New Brunswick

HBSc Human Biology & Neuroscience student at University of Toronto

Undergraduate studying neuroscience and behavioral biology at Emory University

Undergraduate & Biomedical Engineering BS Candidate at the University of Florida

Undergraduate Honors Biomedical Sciences BS candidate at the University of Houston

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Ennie Zhu

Fahad Hassan Shah

Ashumi Doshi

Jorge Villanueva

Michael Navarro

Undergraduate studying neurobiology and public health at Brown University

Biologist from the University of Peshawar, Pakistan; Certified Epidemiologist from the University of North Carolina

Undergraduate studying biopsychology and finance at McMaster University; published neuroscience researcher

Cal Poly Pomona Class of 2019 Graduate with a B.S. in Biology

 Undergraduate studying neuroscience at UCLA; conducting research on the neural basis of effort-based decision making

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John Louie Allera

Maheen Yaqoob

Sravan Sridhar

Aymen Arain

John Carlo J. Combista

Undergraduate studying neuroscience at the University of Toronto

Biomedical Engineer from Ryerson University; Technology Analyst at Accenture

Undergraduate pursuing a combined major in Psychology and Economics at Krea University 

Undergraduate studying human biology and health studies at University of Toronto

Registered Pharmacist from the Philippines with research interests in neurodevelopmental disorders

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Julia Potocnjak-Overn

Rahul Sethi

Rachel Kim

Mankiran Bhathal

Laura Maisvoreva

Undergraduate studying Math and Computing at IIT Kanpur

Undergraduate pursuing a degree in the Honours Bachelor of Life Sciences Program at McMaster University

Undergraduate researcher studying health sciences at Mass. College of Pharmacy; Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Candidate 2025

Undergraduate studying medicine at the University of Zimbabwe

Graduate student of Integrative Physiology Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado Boulder. BSc. Biology from The University of Texas Pan-American


• Diamond Sponsors •


• Gold & Silver Sponsors •


• Bronze & Teal Sponsors •


Meet the Core Organizing Team


Athena Yao

Aravind Krishnan

Skyler Basco

Khayla Black

Brian Lee

Chief Operating Officer

Simply Neuroscience


Simply Neuroscience

Vice President

Simply Neuroscience

Chief Executive Officer


Chief Operating Officer


If you have any questions, concerns, or inquiries, please feel free to contact us at!

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