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How a Mumbai girl made it big at a prestigious Neuroscience contest

Apeejay student Arya Shaju shares, “As I bagged the honour, the biggest smile in the room was my mother’s.”



A class 11 student at Apeejay School, Nerul, Arya Shaju, participated in the 14th Mumbai Regional Brain Bee contest, conducted at Saifee Hospital, Mumbai. At the competition, Arya made her school proud by winning the third prize amongst 22 participants from 16 schools across Mumbai.

Founded in 2005 in Bangalore, Brain Bee is a Neuroscience contest held at Regional, National and International levels for class 11 – Biology students. Its objective is to attract the best brains globally to work towards Biomedical Research and find solutions for conditions such as Stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Autism (Neurological), Depression, Schizophrenia, Insomnia (Psychiatric) etc.

Speaking about her experience in the contest, Arya said, “I was selected to represent our school based on my knowledge about neuroanatomy and neuro-histology. My teachers informed me about this competition before the winter break during the previous year. After that, I began to prepare for it. Honestly, I was quite nervous about my performance.”

However, as the first round was announced, which included an objective-based written test of 40 marks, Arya was able to solve it in about 40 minutes. The remaining four rounds comprised quizzes, and like every participant, she too got a chance to answer the questions one by one. “The three rounds went okay. Surprisingly, I made it to the final round with the top 5 participants. The last round came easy for me. All the questions that were asked were selected from the topics that I had studied thoroughly. And so, I answered all five correctly. Finally, as the results were announced, I stood third. It was a big surprise and I had not expected it,” she said.  

Through this competition, Arya got to learn a lot. One of the quizzes was conducted by the celebrated Neurosurgeon Dr Ashish Mehta. With more than two decades of experience in the field, Dr Mehta’s expertise include Cavernous sinus, Skull Base, Neurovascular surgery, Microneurosurgery, Spinal surgery, Stereotactic neurosurgery, Endoscopic neurosurgery, Interventional Neurosurgery, Peripheral & Autonomic neurosurgery. He motivated Arya to answer confidently during the competition. In between the rounds, he showed participants stimulating videos and presentations based on neurology.

“Overall, the competition was tough. Also, I would like to mention that my competitors performed brilliantly. I want to thank my Biology teacher in school Mrs Monika Gupta for allowing me to take up this opportunity. I made it and the biggest smile that I could see in the room was my mother’s. It was her birthday that day and I got a chance to share this moment with her. I’m really thankful,” expressed Arya. 

When asked about Arya’s performance in the contest, Ms Gupta says, “When our students win, we win with them. I am elated that Arya has done very well. She completely dominated the last round but the initial few were difficult for her. Nonetheless, she must keep learning and achieving greater heights. I wish her nothing but the best.” 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

Poetic गुफ्तगू – With हुमेरा खान @poetsofDelhi