Outreach and Volunteering


 Student-Led Activities / Outreach and Volunteering    



BrainsRule! Outreach Opportunity

Each spring, the UM Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization hosts BrainsRule!, an educational outreach program designed to instill a passion for science in local middle school students.  Over one hundred students are shuttled to campus for a day-long “reverse science-fair” event to teach them about the brain and biology.  This event occurs sometime over March/April.  You can view short descriptions and pictures/gifs of our current booths on our website.  
There are a few different ways that you can get involved with BrainsRule! depending on your level of interest. If you’re interested in serving on one of the committees, send an email to Amanda Gibson, gibsonag@umich.edu.  A general membership meeting will be scheduled in the coming weeks, and you can hear a bit more about each committee from current members and indicate your preference there.  

  • Volunteer to run a booth at the event
    • This requires minimal commitment.
    • There is usually one volunteer training meeting and then you just have to show up for the event. We’ll provide instructions and supplies
    • Keep an eye out for emails calling for volunteers at the beginning of winter semester
  • Serve on one of the BrainsRule! committees
    • Schools
      • Contact local teachers and administrators to help organize students’ attendance at the event
        • Identifying teachers/schools
        • Coordinating schedules (often dependent on bussing needs for the district)
        • T-shirt orders
      • This role tends to be more involved in the late fall and early winter
    • Volunteers
      • Managing recruitment, placement, and training of University of Michigan volunteers
      • This role is lighter in the fall, more involved in the weeks leading up to the event
    • Finances
      • Conduct fundraising – often by contacting departments and organizations on campus that have previously offered support
      • Coordinate with University of Michigan event staff to book on-campus space and catering
      • Manage status as a student organization (registration, etc)
      • This role has responsibilities spread throughout the year
    • Education
      • Help with booth development
      • Keeping booth instructions clear and up-to-date
      • Monitoring stock of booth supplies
      • Assisting volunteers on the day of the event
      • This role is heaviest around the time of the event, with opportunities for booth development throughout the year


NGP DEI Outreach and Activism Task Force
Accordion Body: 

“Our mission is to build the Neuroscience Graduate Program’s community by coming together to make a difference in our surrounding community. We believe that at the foundation of community outreach there are the following four pillars of activism that can be addressed: 

Housing Inequality: Being that Ann Arbor is one of the most socioeconomically segregated communities in the country, we believe that sharing our resources with those around us who are less fortunate is important. 

Community Mentorship: In academia, we all know how beneficial it is to have a mentor to help guide us through our professional lives. Many individuals in our community can also benefit from community mentorship, which can range from helping job-seeking adults with their resume, to providing long-term mentorship to children in foster care, to tutoring adults seeking their GED. Our goal is to develop long-term relationships with individual members of our community in an effort to create opportunities for those who need it most. 

Community Activism: While our other pillars address a specific niche that needs to be addressed, community activism seeks to address needs of the community at large. Many of these efforts seek to provide resources to and empower people of marginalized communities. This includes some of the following: 

-   Handing out or collecting items for soup kitchens or shelters, including food or essential items (e.g., hygiene)

-   Connecting people to resources or social services to combat inequalities, such as voter suppression

-   Providing access to affordable healthcare and healthcare resources 

Environmental Sustainability: The community in which we live is at risk now more than ever due to global warming and climate change. We believe that our responsibility, not only as neuroscientists but members of the community of Michigan at large, is to help protect, nourish, and enrich the environment in which we live. Furthermore, we are committed to addressing issues of economic disparities resulting in food instability, such as food deserts, through activism in environmental sustainability.”

Peer-Led Workshops
Accordion Body: 

Enhancing Student Success by addressing aspects of navigating research that may not be addressed in coursework or formal training in fully peer led workshops (NO FACULTY).  By keeping the workshops among grad students it encourages participants to speak openly among their peers.

Annual Neuroscience Spring Symposium: An annual student run symposium
Accordion Body: 
  • Student Chosen Topic

  • Student Invited Speakers

  • Student Talks and Awards

  • Workshops and Panel Discussions

  • Networking

  • Banquet Dinner


Local Outreach Events
Accordion Body: 
  • Michigan DNA Day

  • The Young Scientists’ Expo

  • Detroit Science Center

NGSO – Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization
Accordion Body: 

Provides student representation on NGP committees and leadership roles for NGP events.

  • Organize Social Activities

  • Summer Journal Club

  • Provide Peer Support

  • Extensive Outreach Activities

  • Brains Rule!:  Each spring, the UofM Neuroscience Graduate Student Organization hosts BrainsRule!, an educational outreach program designed to instill a passion for science in local middle school students. Approximately 300 sixth- and seventh-grade students from the surrounding area come to the university for a day of fun hands-on learning activities that focus on the brain and behavior. As science proficiency continues to lag far behind other subjects in statewide K-12 standardized testing, we believe BrainsRule! is critical in engaging our local youth to become interested in science. Our event is entirely volunteer run and operates solely on funds received from donations and university grants.