College of Arts and Science
This initiative is linked to Prof. Hyland's course NEUR 305 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, which is an upper-division Behavioral Neuroscience course that examines the mechanisms of neural signaling on the level of neurons, glia, and their molecular components. At the beginning of the semester, student teams will propose short, interactive, hands on activities that relate to a theme such as “how the brain works”, or “is your brain a computer?”, which will be presented as a youth STEM workshop at the Linda Vista Public Library. The instructor will work with students during class to develop the activities, and the students will be evaluated on the activity’s effectiveness in communicating neuroscience concepts to a diverse audience. Despite intense public interest in the brain and diseases of the nervous system, students rarely have a chance to learn the basics of neuroscience until college. This might be part of the reason why myths about the brain persist even among educated people. Libraries provide an ideal environment for self-directed exploration and community engagement.