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Yvette Leung of Brookville Wins 11th Annual Long Island Brain Bee at C.W. Post

Will represent Long Island at U.S. National Brain Bee in Baltimore March 19-20


Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations
C.W. Post Campus,
Long Island University

Dr. Paul Forestell, provost of the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, with 2010 Long Island Brain Bee finalists (L-R) Samantha Dayton of Farmingdale, N.Y. (3rd place); Dylan Ander of Hewlett, N.Y. (2nd place), and Yvette Leung of Brookville, N.Y. (1st place.)Brookville, N.Y. – Yvette Leung of Brookville, a senior at Jericho High School who took a college course while in seventh grade, won the 11th annual Long Island Brain Bee at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University today, Saturday, March 6, 2010.

Leung correctly answered every question she was asked in the quiz-show-style neuroscience competition. Her final question asked the name of the disorder that causes an “overwhelming sense of impending doom.” The correct answer was panic disorder.

The second place winner was Dylan Ander of Hewlett, N.Y., a sophomore at Lawrence Woodmere Academy High School. The third place winner was Samantha Dayton of Farmingdale, N.Y., a senior at Sachem High School East.

Leung credited her “absolutely fabulous” science research teacher at Jericho High School, Serena McCalla, with helping her prepare for the Brain Bee, which drew 32 competitors from across the region.

“I like neuroscience because it’s a relatively new field of science that merges many disciplines together – biology, chemistry, physics,” said Leung, who lives with her parents, Cynthia and Benny Leung in Brookville. “It’s all stuff that relates to your daily life. When your mom tells you to go to bed earlier and get plenty of sleep, you learn there’s a scientific reason why that’s a good idea.”

Leung – a close friend of Anouva Kalra-Lall of Roslyn, N.Y., winner of the 2009 Long Island Brain Bee – will represent Long Island at the United States National Brain Bee March 19-20 in Baltimore.

Leung has been accepted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and expects to enroll there. But she’s already has three college credits under her belt, from when she took Introduction to Computer Science with Professor Seth Magot at C.W. Post while still in middle school. “It was challenging, obviously, but it was a nice experience to see what college is like,” she said.

The Brain Bee is open to all high school students who have read "Brain Facts," a 65-page primer on the brain and nervous system. All questions at the Brain Bee come from the book, which is published by the Society for Neuroscience ( and available for download on the Long Island University Brain Bee Web page at

The first, second and third-place contestants received trophies and prizes. The winner of the Long Island Brain Bee and his/her chaperone receive an all-expenses paid (air fare, hotel and meals) trip to the National Brain Bee at the University of Maryland, Baltimore on March 20 and 21, 2010.

The National Brain Bee Champion wins $1,500, a paid summer internship with an esteemed neuroscientist, and a trip for two to the International Brain Bee Championship in San Diego Aug. 12-15.

Long Island Brain Bee competitors have won the International Brain Bee twice: Bhakti Nagall from Farmington High School in Farmington, Conn., in 2004, and Saroj Kunnakkat, from Lynbrook High School in Lynbrook, N.Y. in 2003. Since it began in 2000, Long Island Brain Bee winners have finished in the Top 10 at the International Brain Bee five times.

As in years past, the organizers of the Long Island Brain Bee, led by C.W. Post professors Barbara Bauer and Dr. Grace C. Rossi, offered free weekend workshops in January and February to help competitors prepare for the event.

The Long Island Brain Bee is one of 70 local Brain Bees to be held around the world this year. Winners of the local Brain Bees will compete in 24 national Brain Bees, and the national winners will meet in Toronto for the world championship. For more information, visit

The National and International Brain Bee are part of Brain Awareness Week. Spearheaded by the Dana Alliance, a private philanthropic foundation, and the Society for Neuroscience, its goal is to motivate youth to learn about the brain and pursue careers in biomedical brain research in the war against mental retardation, cerebral palsy, spinal-cord injury and other brain disorders.

Examples of Brain Bee questions

1. What is "agoraphobia"?

  1. fear of heights
  2. fear of farmers
  3. fear of crowds
  4. fear of homework

2. Which endocrine organ controls our "biological clock"?

  1. casio-peia
  2. temporal lobe
  3. retina
  4. pineal gland

3. What important function does the "cochlea" control?

  1. sweating
  2. hearing
  3. eating
  4. smelling

Answers: 1. c, 2. d, 3. b.

Posted 03/09/2010

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