BIDDEFORD, Maine – The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has invited University of New England Assistant Professor Michael Burman, Ph.D., to participate in “Super NEUROScience Saturday” on Nov. 23, at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Through demonstrations and hands-on activities, Super NEUROScience Saturday aims to foster a better understanding of the brain and how it functions, improve student study skills, promote improvements in neurological health, and boost general science literacy among young people. Attendees will include students as well as legislators, policymakers and scientists.
Burman is a faculty member of UNE’s Psychology Department and the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences (CEN) who teaches both introductory and upper-level psychology and neuroscience classes. He is also coordinator of CEN’s successful K-12 Outreach Program, which aims to increase interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, and neuroscience, in particular, among students in southern Maine.
CEN’s K-12 Outreach Program reached over 3,500 Maine students last year by placing UNE faculty, staff and students into K-12 schools to teach grade-appropriate interactive training modules in topics such as traumatic brain injury; learning and memory; human neuroanatomy; neurological disorders; cognition and attention; and sheep brain dissection.
The White House Office of Science and Technology was made aware of UNE’s K-12 Outreach Program though UNE’s participation in theDANA Alliance for Brain Initiatives’ Lending Library Program and previous collaborations on teacher education with the outreach arm of the national Society for Neuroscience.
Burman’s research at UNE focuses on the intersection of memory and negative emotionality. His lab conducts behavioral, pharmacological and physiological research relevant to anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and specific phobias.
“At UNE, we firmly believe in both hands-on education and giving back to our community,” says Burman. “Our K-12 Neuroscience Outreach Program allows us to do both. Our students gain valuable knowledge and experience by bringing exciting demonstrations and activities to small groups of students in our area schools. Local K-12 students benefit by being exposed to material and expertise that they otherwise would not have access to. We have a great team working hard on this program and are honored to be chosen to represent UNE at this exciting event.”
Super NEUROScience Saturday will take place in a new Smithsonian exhibit space called “Q?rius.” Groups of students will participate in sessions that rotate in 15-minute intervals through a variety of neuroscience-centered experiences. Burman, along with collaborators CEN Director Ed Bilsky, Ph.D. and Outreach Coordinators Kristen Erickson and Alex Deal, will lead an interactive station that focuses on learning about the mind and challenging the senses. They will use interactive demonstrations to illustrate how to use attention and cognitive tricks to enhance memory and information retention.