October – Where Did You Go?

Whew! I’m feel as if I have been nonstop for the past six weeks!

As many of you know, Calm Undone came out October 1st! To help promote it, I did several readings and events. Two that were both fun and a huge success were part of the Do Not Submit series. Hosted every Thursday at Mrs. Murphy and Son’s Irish Bistro, it’s a great place to come hear stories for free and enjoy a pint or two! On October 21st I got to read an excerpt from Calm Undone, and you can watch a video of that reading on my YouTube channel here. It was a great night – I sold some signed copies, and my friend Kim got up and told an impromptu story too!

Then I got swamped – but in a good way. This year I was honored to be the Chair of the 2021 International Brain Bee World Championship, which is the world’s premiere neuroscience competition for teenagers! From November 5th-6th, 43 teenagers (ages 13-19) from 31 countries and 6 continents completed a comprehensive exam (composed of a written section, a neuroanatomy section, a neurohistology section, and a patient diagnosis section) to become a finalist in our Live Judging Session. Then on Sunday November 7th, 24 finalists appeared before a judging panel of four accomplished neuroscientists and went 24 rounds of head-to-head questions-and-answers to see who would become the World Champion! We had to cancel the 2020 IBB World Championship due to COVID19, so this year we crowned two! Rahel Patel of the USA took home the 2020 prize and Viktoriia Vydzhak of Ukraine took the 2021 prize. The IBB World Championship is not only about competition, but also preparing the future of neuroscience and building connections across cultures and the world. This year’s event also included a career panel, two thought provoking keynotes given by eminent neuroscientists, a team competition, and an interactive neuroscience research demonstration — proving that neuroscience is as diverse as it is exciting! You can re-watch (or watch for the first time) all the action on our 2021 IBB World Championship YouTube page!

But the craziness did not stop after the IBB – two days later I was at a practice session for Story Lab, where I am a featured speaker!  On Wednesday November 17th I will be one of six up-and-coming cast members entertaining Chicago with stories of wit, adventure, and personal discovery! Story Lab has been a staple of Chicago for over ten years, and after being on an 18-month hiatus due to COVID19, I’m honored to be part of next week’s event! Story Lab is free to all and starts at 7:00 PM at the Ravenswood United Church of Christ.