By Jacob Solis
Though Sunday afternoon was marked by the gloom tied to overcast skies and persistent rain, it wasn’t enough to deter 18 students from various medical organizations on campus to come out to the Battle of the Brains. It was a test of mental mettle that the organizers, the University of Nevada, Reno’s University Advising Center, say will do plenty to make med students at UNR more well rounded.
Held inside the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center, the students from Phi Delta Epsilon, the American Medical Student Association and Delta Epsilon Mu spent about two hours hurriedly writing the answers to a myriad of questions, read out loud by Derek Furukawa, UNR’s assistant vice provost for undergraduate academic advising and student achievement.
The questions popped up slowly, one by one, on the six projector screens that lined each wall of the room. From there, students whispered quickly in the most hushed of tones as they rushed to write down an answer before the end of the 20-second time limit.
Pre-professional coordinator Grace Cardenas Leal was pleased with the turnout, and expects future iterations of the event in years to come with even more organizations and departments.
“Many of the students are going to be expected to take very rigorous examinations, like the MCATs,” Leal said. “We really want to make sure that there’s a way that students are prepping up, but also having fun in the process.”
But the questions weren’t just centered around medicine. The first category, biochemistry, was undoubtedly the forte of most students in the room. Some even corrected the pronunciation of the event’s moderator. But it was not long before categories like etiquette and world events began putting the room’s gray matter to the test.
After two rounds and 90 questions, the answers were collected, scores tallied and PHIDE came out victorious. DEM came in a close second while AMSA came in a distant third. For the group’s efforts, PHIDE won a plaque in the undergraduate advising office, in addition to all-important bragging rights.
More than that, however, the three organizations were able to expand their horizons at a crucial time, according to Furukawa.
“Most professional schools have diversified what they’re looking for,” Furukawa said. “It’s no longer just knowing the subject matter of what you’re going into; you have to know a broad range of things … for instance, the MCAT just changed their process and added a whole lot more in regards to philosophy, social sciences and things like that.”
With that in mind, the Battle of the Brains tackled everything from philosophy to food security to movie quotes. It was a movie quote from “The King’s Speech” in particular that managed to break the silence in the room by producing more than a little bit of laughter.
“F—,” Furukawa said. “F—! F—, f—, f— and f—! F—, f— and bugger! Bugger, bugger, buggerty buggerty buggerty, f—, f—, arse!”
Beyond the levity though, Furukawa was pleased with the event and was excited for where it could go in the future.
“I’m just looking forward to continuing doing things like this in the future and bringing these students together a little bit more and having them work a little bit more together,” Furukawa said.
Jacob Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.