Muslim Teen Wins Best Brain in Canada

ONTARIO – A Canadian Muslim teen has been crowned Canada’s best brain, after a hard competition with high school students on neuroscience and neuroanatomy.

“Everyone at the competition was really nice and friendly,” first place winner Nooran AbuMazen humbly told on Wednesday, June 8.

“I’m just really proud of what everybody accomplished.”

AbuMazan was one of 14 high school students who descended from across the country on McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., on May 28 to compete in the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee.

Being grilled on neuroscience and neuroanatomy, the teens went head-to-head for the distinction of being crowned Canada’s “Best Brain.”

The 17-year-old Grade 12 student, who is just weeks away from graduating from Waterloo Collegiate Institute, plans to study life sciences at the University of Waterloo this fall. She dreams of becoming a doctor.

“I see a lot of places where neuroscience can play a part in either my education or my future career.”

While AbuMazen finished first, Stephanie Swanson of Guelph finished second and Ottawa’s Ling Yang placed third.

The top three winners received trophies and scholarships worth $1,500, $1,000, and $500 respectively.

AbuMazen will be also given an opportunity to work as a summer intern at a neuroscience laboratory and she will also represent Canada at the International Brain Bee championship in Copenhagen, Denmark, from June 30 to July 4.

“We had an actual anatomy lab section where they presented slices of the brain to us and they stuck pins in it and we had to recognize the part,” AbuMazen says.

“It was a really close competition – I only won by 0.5 of a point!”

Muslims represent 3.2% of Canada’s total population.

Muslims are the fastest growing religious community in Canada, according to the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Canada.

Canada’s Muslim population increased by 82 percent over the past decade – from about 579,000 in 2001 to more than 1 million in 2011.