Meet the 2018 Chicago Brain Bee champion

Professor Shubhik DebBurman congratulates Stuart Lukz of Stevenson High School on his first place win.
February 14, 2018

Adlai Stevenson High School student Stuart Lukz won First Place Honors at the 2018 Chicago Brain Bee, hosted by Lake Forest College on February 10.

We caught up with Stuart after his win and got his reaction:

Q: How does it feel to win the Chicago Brain Bee on your first try?

A: Winning the Chicago Brain Bee was both an exhilarating and incredible experience for me. I had such an amazing time throughout the day attending lectures and touring the Brain Lab. Just when I thought it could not get better, it did! I am thrilled with the privilege of representing Chicago Brain Bee Students and my high school at the National Brain Bee. Although it can be a rigorous endeavor at times to tackle the dynamics of the brain and nervous system, it is always exciting for me to learn more about the subject I love.

Q: Why did you want to participate in the Bee?

A: During my freshman year, I attended a lecture about Neurology and careers in the Neurosciences in the Future Doctors of America Club. From then on, I started looking for ways to learn more about the nervous system and its functions. I decided that if I set a goal to join the Brain Bee Club, it would serve as a great incentive to understand the nervous system on a profoundly greater level. And I really admired the hard work many of those students put toward learning about the nervous system. My passion was there and now I needed a method.

Q: How did you prepare for the Bee?

I started reading anything I could to familiarize myself with the anatomy and function of the brain. I perused and thoroughly annotated the BrainFacts Book, created more than 16 pages of mnemonics and phrases for memorization, studied about 2500 flashcards and watched lectures on the brain and nervous system whenever possible.

Q: What do you plan to study in college? Do you have plans for a specific future profession?

A: I intend to study neuropathology, and, more specifically, the neurodegenerative diseases. I would love to do research and would not rule out clinical work related to the research.

Q: What advice do you have for high school (and even middle school) students who wish to participate in the Bee?

A: For those interested in this competition, I suggest that you strive to develop an overall understanding of the dynamics of the nervous system, and not just memorize the innumerable details about it. One thing I learned was that understanding an extraordinary organ requires an extraordinary way of thinking. I feel that if you are focused, persistent, and confident in your ability to do this, you will be surprised by how much knowledge and understanding of neurology you can attain. I certainly was. Find a group who is committed to learning and to challenging one another. This helps a lot and will keep you and everyone motivated.

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