AZ Brain Bee Winner Finishes Second at U.S. National Championship

Graduating Senior from Mountain Ridge High School places second at U.S. National Brain Bee

  • AZ - Glendale
Brain Bee Cha,pionship

Rishi Suresh poses as one of the finalists in the U.S. National Brain Bee competition

By finishing first at this year's Arizona Regional Brain Bee hosted by Midwestern University, Rishi Suresh (Graduating Senior, Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale) became eligible to compete at the 2024 U.S. National Brain Bee Championship at the University of Central Florida in April. Among some of the brightest students in the nation, Rishi turned in an exceptional performance, finishing in second place after a tiebreaker.

The Brain Bee, a competition for high school students that focuses on neuroscience, includes local, national, and international levels of competition. The winner of the local AZ Regional Brain Bee advances to the U.S. National Brain Bee, where participants compete to win prizes of $1,500, $1,000, and $500. The first-place winner then advances to the International Brain Bee, where competitors display their knowledge in the subjects of neuroanatomy and neurohistology, and winners receive $3,000 and a personalized plaque for first place, $2,000 for second place, and $1,000 for third place.

Reflecting on his experiences with both the Arizona Regional Brain Bee and the National Championship, Rishi recalls, "The national championship was different from the Regional Brain Bee at Midwestern because it tested me on a broader scale. The U.S. National Brain Bee Championship tests competitors on content from several books about identifying neuroanatomy, neurohistology, MRI scans, and diagnosing patients. The national competition is also more elaborate, including oral, written, and lab practicals for students to compete in."

"The format of the competition is also different because it spans three days, which includes the first day being an optional social activities day where you have a chance to meet and interact with competitors from around the country," Rishi continues. "The next two days are when competitive rounds are held."

As for his approach to prepare for the U.S. National Brain Bee Championship, Rishi encourages future contestants to truly understand the material, instead of just memorizing facts. "Even after competing, I can’t describe a solid approach to preparing for the oral portion because the oral round had various questions that couldn’t be answered by only studying the assigned books. I would say this is the part of the competition where the great students are separated from the good students, because you can’t definitively prepare for this section compared to other sections."

Rishi also advises future Brain Bee participants, "Start early in your preparation and studying for the Brain Bee. The earlier you start, the better. However, I would like to emphasize that the quality of your studying matters more than the quantity of time spent studying."

Rishi returned home from the national competition with the second-place title, and after he graduated from Mountain Ridge High School, he plans to spend his summer across the globe and then prepare for college. "I’m traveling to India to visit my family this summer, and I will be staying there for a little over a month. When I return in July, I want to work part-time to earn money to pay for my college tuition. I will attend the University of Arizona this fall so, after the trip to India, most of my summer will be focused on preparing for my transition to university life."

Rishi concludes, "My favorite part of participating in the Brain Bee was the trip overall. I really enjoyed my first trip to Florida. I stayed in a beautiful Airbnb; it was my first time, so it was a cool experience compared to a typical stay at a hotel. My parents and I also met and connected with some brilliant participants and friendly families throughout the competition. Thank you to Midwestern University for providing $2,000 to assist with costs associated with going to the U.S. National Brain Bee Championship."

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