Mythbuster – Are you left or right brained?

By: Akshaya, Science Expo Ontario

 

 

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Myth:

At some point in your life you’ve probably been told that you are either left-brained or right-brained (*cough cough* careers class). And if you have been told that you are right brained you MUST be creative. And if you were left brained you MUST be logical and analytical. Fortunately, you are not one or the other and that is a LIE!

The Science Behind it:

Neuroscientists from the University of Utah conducted a study and scanned 1,000 people’s brains aged 7-29 while they were reading or just lying still. They measured the mental processes occurring on both sides of the brain-a process called functional rationalization. After dividing the brain into 7,000 regions and heavily analyzing each region, no evidence concluded that the participants in the study had a stronger network on either side of the brain. They only found patterns as to why the brain connection might be stronger on one side; stronger connections on one side of the brain often resulted from trauma, intense stressors, and not very common factors.

Steven Novella M.D states that the fixation on individual’s classification as left brained or right brained completely ignores the brain’s anatomy and function. There is a large cable of connection (corpus collosum) between the two hemispheres of the brain and they connect to operate together as a whole. Moreover, the Wada test, where one side of the brain is put to sleep using an anesthetic that targets the blood supply of one hemisphere shows that after a hemisphere has been isolated, other functions are disrupted, proving once again that the two sides are integrated.

The myth was rooted in a discovery in the 1800’s where a person with an injury to one side of their brain suffered the loss of specific abilities. This discovery was then used by psychologists who hung on to the theory, and began classifying personality type based on sides of the brain and their specialization.

The harmless classification eventually spiraled out of control and creating a fixation in society about where individuals should fit. However, this classification proved to be preposterous as Novella states, “Labeling people as left or right brained is no better than approaching people according to their astrological sign or blood type, except that it has the patina of neuroscience that may cause some otherwise-rational people to take the idea seriously.”

So the morale of the story is, don’t close out any potential career paths! Embrace that your brain can be shaped to be both logical and creative!

Epic is in Science Expo for a Reason

It’s been 28 days, 12 hours, and 51 minutes, and 32 seconds since I started my journey with Science Expo. Just kidding, I have no idea how many seconds it’s been. Still, this month with Science Expo has been one of a lifetime.
I was first introduced into the internship by my friend (and sort of boss now) Tina, who encouraged me to try out the internship. At first, I was a bit sceptical. I’ll admit, I was a little scared about the interviews too. I had no idea if I had the qualifications to be working with Science Expo and I really didn’t know what to expect. I walked into my interview, clutching a notebook (my mom said that I should take it, but I had no idea why). I saw Susie and Hillary, and instantly, I felt relaxed. For some reason, this interview felt comfortable. After talking to Susie and Hillary, I felt like I was talking to them as friends. They let me feel at ease and confident to say what I wanted.
It’s been like that for this entire month. I’ve laughed, joked, supported, been supported by the entire team during our meetings. Sure, we had work to do, but being a part of Science Expo really made you feel like you had a monumental contribution to the entire project. That you were a part of the team. The family.
Science Expo has a quality of intimacy and camaraderie that I’ve never seen in any other organization. We worked towards the same goals, helped each other, debated, and discussed our projects with each other. I feel now that I’m not afraid to talk to them like any of my other close friends, and I haven’t even met most of the team.
At the same time, Science Expo has helped me develop in a way that school could never do. I learned what it means to be a part of a team, working not because you want good marks, but because you have the same vision. I felt myself adjusting to the initiative that you need to take in order to do your part. In school, we’ve had teachers constantly remind us what to do, plan out the curriculum, PLUS our parents at home reminding us. Taking a step away from that is liberating, but at the same time reminds you that in the real world, you’re the only one who will be responsible for your responsibilities.
Science Expo has given me a whole new family and given me a new perspective of life and responsibilities that I wouldn’t normally be able to experience in high school, or even university. It’s been a great month, and I have to thank my fellow team members and the crazy Tina Tang who dragged me out on this ride. I’m looking forwards to what next month will hold, and although I feel like it can’t get any wilder than it is now, I know it will.

Science Expo is reaching out to BC!

What is Science Expo?
Science Expo promotes students to have more involvement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities. Founded in Guelph by 5 CWSF (Canada Wide Science Fair) alumni in 2010, over the past several years, Science Expo has been extremely active in Ontario, hosting annual conferences each and initiating programs such as peer mentorship programs as well as the national ambassador program. In 2013, two SE ambassadors from British Columbia hosted a very successful Science Expo Fall Info Night at the renowned Telus World of Science. From their experiences, they realized the need to bring an organization like Science Expo to the West Coast and at a larger scale than the BC Fall Info Night to get more youth interested in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in BC. Thus, they founded Science Expo BC, another headquarter of the nationally-recognized non-profit organization. With a lot ahead for this young organization, Science Expo BC is recruiting!
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to start Science Expo in BC? Be sure to apply!

What are the general qualifications?

• Showing of commitment
• Transparent about their progress; communicates often with the team
• Demonstrates leadership skills, especially among peer group
• Interest towards STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and/or business
• Strong interpersonal, organizational and project management skills
• Keeps a database of progress and any kinds of work done
• Ability to motivate, inspire others and lead by example
• Demonstrated initiative; ability to recognize problems quickly and apply effective solutions
• Excellent communication skills: professional email/phone correspondence, public
speaking and presentation proficiency

Am I eligible?

We are accepting applications from grade 9 high school students to third-year university students.

What are the available positions I could apply for?

Here is the description of the available positions for Science Expo BC:

Marketing Director(s)

Responsibilities
• Responsible for all social media advertisements (Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, etc) and communication through social media
• Creates and implements marketing plan for Science Expo
• Provides resources to ambassadors

Qualifications
• Experienced with implementation of marketing strategy
• Interest, skill and experience with graphics and design (ie. Photoshop, Illustrator)

Outreach Director(s)
Responsibilities
• Communicates with members about updates and information
• Secure sustainable sponsorships for the SE
• Answers any general inquiries
• Builds long term sponsorships with STEM related organizations and institutions

Qualifications
• Exceptional communication skills and patience
• Organizational skills

Conference Director
Responsibilities
• Responsible for financial resources and keeps the availability of these resources transparent
• Be the primary person responsible for the overview and logistics of the flagship conference
• Responsible for organizing data of attendees and event schedules
• Collects data/feedback from Science Expo events

Qualifications
• Able to organize data (using Excel, Microsoft Project, etc)
• Extensive communications skills

SEYEG (Science Expo Youth Empowerment Group) Values
· Professionalism
· Represent SEYEG at networking opportunities
· Clear communication in a timely manner (24 hrs)
· Fun working environment
· Close knit community between SEYEG and our stakeholders
· Fulfilling potential of SEYEG and our delegates
· Exploring youth opportunities in STEM
· People interactions and connections

When is the application deadline?

Application Deadline is March 31st, 2014, and make sure to send in your resumes to
ScienceexpoBC@gmail.com. Submit your application here.

How could I get more information about this organization?

You can go on Science Expo facebook page
you can also get more information through the Science Expo website/blog

Who can I talk to if I get stuck/have any more questions?
For general inquiries, email ScienceexpoBC@gmail.com.

Amanda Quan – a Science Expo Success Story

It’s always amazing to see Science Expo alumni going on to do cool things. Here’s Amanda’s story:

DRSA - Amanda Quan

My experience as a DRSA student took place the summer after I finished Grade 11 IB at St.Francis Xavier SS in Mississauga, Ontario. Although I had participated in French summer programs in previous years, this year would be my first time attending a summer science immersion program. Through the Deep River Science Academy (DRSA) I was able to conduct research in the Hydrogen Isotopes Technology lab at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) as a co-op research student. I found co op to be truly rewarding as it was experimental learning, rather than sitting in a classroom and learning from a textbook. I had the opportunity to work alongside scientists, engineers and other co op students on a real project that contributed to the research of Canada’s foremost nuclear research facility.

I attended DRSA in the hopes to decide which science I wanted to pursue in post secondary education, but during my stay at AECL I realized that there were so many more facets to the world of science than my regular high school teachers were letting on. My mentor and supervisor were very patient and knowledgeable, and without their help it is difficult to imagine how some of our tests and experiments would have turned out! I enjoyed many tours of other labs on site at AECL, and reveled in the opportunity to use high-performance (and unbelievably expensive!) equipment. My DRSA peers and mentors from across Canada were some of the most accepting, accomplished, and driven people that I’ve ever met and they all truly inspire me to do more than I can ever wish to do.

My time spent in the town of Deep River, Ontario is unforgettable. My summer was filled with new experiences, whether it was attending my first campfire and s’mores making session, buying my first bug jacket (the black flies are the ones to watch out for!), or conducting my first Ion Exchange Capacity Test in the lab; the DRSA ensured that every day was enriching, zesty and daring! I believe attending the Deep River Science Academy would be a life changing experience for any student looking to pursue a career in STEM or is simply interested in the amazing world of science.

And because of all this I would like to thank Science Expo for informing me about the Deep River Science Academy at their 2013 Conference; you never know how that singular moment when you open your mind to a new opportunity can truly impact your life.

Cheers,
Amanda Quan

 

Behind the Scenes – Sutina Chou

The Basics:
Full name:  Sutina Chou
Age: 16
School: Bayview Secondary School
Program or Area of Interest: Sciences (Social or Life) or Business

The Usual:
Hidden talents: I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under a minute.

Favourite past time: What spare ti- I mean I like to read and reddit.

Who were you named after: It’s actually just an anglicized version of my Chinese name.

Where were you born: Mississauga

Biggest fear: the dark, the universe having a finite lifespan according the Higgs-Boson particle (more…)

An Introduction to DASTEM

I think the majority of us are used to hearing about STEM all the time. STEM fields, STEM researchers, STEM opportunities…But have you ever thought about taking STEM a little further? One of our keynote speakers at the upcoming conference, Professor Steve Mann – the father of wearable computing, did. Here’s what he thought:

“STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and an agenda of public education is integrating these disciplines. Other interdisciplinary efforts like MIT’s Media Laboratory focus on Art + Science + Technology. Design is also an important discipline, so we might consider DAST = Design + Art + Science + Technology. 

DAST could put a “heart and soul” into STEM, e.g. going beyond “multidisciplinary” to something we call “multipassionary” or “interpassionary” or “transpassionary”, i.e. passion is a better master than discipline (Albert Einstein said that “love is a better master than duty”). (more…)