A 16-year-old Sydney girl has won an international neuroscience competition hosted over six days in the city of Cairns, Queensland.
Jade Pham, 16, from Bankstown in Sydney’s western suburbs, won the International Brain Bee competition on Tuesday. The win at international level followed state and national victories for the talented teenager.
The win came as ‘quite a shock,’ Jade told the Daily Mail Australia. She said the competition ‘really defined her [my] passion for neuroscience.’
Jade Pham (second from the right), 16, from Sydney’s western suburbs, won the International Brain Bee competition on Tuesday and stood among top neuro-scientists at the finals in Cairns, Queensland
Following steady wins as New South Wales Brain Bee champion and Australian Brain Bee Champion in 2014 (pictured), Jade (right) said the win came as quite a ‘shock’
The bright 16-year-old girl’s fascination with the brain started with anatomy books and the horrible science series.
Entering the competition, Jade described herself as a ‘strong opportunist and an avid science enthusiast.’
‘I didn’t know much about neuroscience, and joined mainly for the idea of learning more,’ she said.
In preparation for the event, Jade read textbooks, wrote out questions, watched YouTube clips and spent a day visiting museums and professors.
The year 11 student at James Ruse Agricultural High School (pictured) scored 126 out of 150, half a mark ahead of a United States student
Entering the competition, Jade (right) described herself as a ‘strong opportunist and an avid science enthusiast.’ In preparation she read textbooks, wrote out questions and watched Youtube Clips
She said that one of the most exciting moments during the competition was the ‘Patient Diagnosis’ segment.
‘I know it was an exam and I should say something like snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef [was the most exciting part of the trip], but I love mental challenges, and something that requires more than just memorising,’ she said.
The most terrifying moment in the competition was the moment before the ‘live questionnaire,’ she said.
‘I was really, really, unprepared compared to my time in the national Australian Brain Bee,’ said Jade.
Australian Brain Bee winner Jade Pham, went onto the ‘nail biting’ competition against 24 competitors from 24 countries, ‘the largest ever…gathered in Cairns’
SOURCE: OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL BRAIN BEE WEBSITE
‘It’s really not about winning…I’m pretty sure that attitude got me to this stage. It’s being able to improve yourself, learn more, and really to ‘better’ yourself,’ she said.
‘The point of these competitions and of school is to learn new things, understand new concepts and apply them in real life…hard core memorising and then forgetting the critical information learnt isn’t the way to approach it,’ she continued.
To Jade the most important lesson she learnt was that winning isn’t everything and that learning was the ‘most brilliant’ of lessons.
She hopes that her experience will stand her in good stead with her goal of becoming a neurosurgeon.
The ‘nail biting’ competition saw a total of 24 competitors from 24 countries, ‘the largest ever…gathered in Cairns,’ said Prof Vaughan Macefield the National Coordinator of the Australian Brain Bee Challenge.
‘The competition included identification of structures in real human brains, and diagnosis from clinical signs in videos of real neurological cases. Jade excelled in the latter, scoring a perfect 30/30,’ continued Mr Macefield.
The year 11 student at James Ruse Agricultural High School scored 126 out of 150, half a mark ahead of a United States student.
Jade won $3,000 prize money and hopes to pay off her education bills, then buy herself a bow for archery.
She said she had no idea she’d end up champion when she filled in the initiating online quiz, and her advice to other students is: ‘If you have a passion, go for it’
The International Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition for high school students, like Jade Pham (pictured), hoping to motivate ‘young men and women to learn about the human brain and aspire to follow careers in basic and clinical brain sciences,’
The would-be neurosurgeon is also able to choose a laboratory anywhere in the world to do her internship and the United States is high on her list.
Her advice to other students is: ‘If you have a passion, go for it.’
The International Brain Bee is a neuroscience competition for high school students hoping to motivate ‘young men and women to learn about the human brain and aspire to follow careers in basic and clinical brain sciences,’ said the contest website.
The brain-child of Dr. Norbert Myslinski, the International Brain Bee was founded at the University of Maryland in 1998.
The competition was held in Cairns, Queensland, from Thursday August 20 to Wednesday August 26 with the competition consisted of 5 parts including an: Anatomy Challenge, Histology Challenge, Patient Diagnosis Challenge, Short Answer Challenge, Live Question and Answer Challenge