Rock Bridge’s Rohan Rao places 8th in National Brain Bee competition

Rohan Rao, junior at Rock Bridge High School, is an expert on bees.

Not an expert in buzzing pollinators, but in competitions. Spelling bees, geography bees, and brain bees to be precise.

Rohan entered the National Geographic Bee after graduating from seventh grade in 2017 after winning the state competition in Colombia.

As an eighth grader, he took part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2018.

Later in 2018, he traveled to Berlin as an aspiring freshman at Rock Bridge, where he won three gold medals at the International Geography Bee.

For his best performance in a national competition, he finished eighth in the National Brain Bee last month, testing students’ knowledge of neuroscience.

“This is the first time I’ve reached the top 10 in a national competition,” said Rohan.

It took place on April 10th and 11th. In March, he won the St. Louis Area Brain Bee. He competed in the regional brain bees throughout high school but took the top spot in the regional competition this year.

“It was really a fun experience,” said Rohan of the national competition. “I learned a lot to prepare for the competition. The questions were pretty difficult.”

He learned a lot while preparing for the competition and during the competition, he said.

Questions included topics such as magnetic resonance imaging, identifying sections of the brain, various neurological disorders, the effects of drugs such as nicotine and amphetamines on the brain, and current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Even though it was virtual, it was a great experience,” said Rohan.

He said he wanted to be a doctor.

“It really helped me develop my passion in the field,” said Rohan.

He doesn’t know if there will be competitions in his senior year. If not, he said he would focus on college applications and scholarships. He has not yet settled in a university, he said.

One award for winning the regional Brain Bee in St. Louis was a summer scholarship at Washington University there, where he will spend the summer with researchers.

The competitions prepared him for the future, said Rohan.

“It really taught me how to apply and learn,” said Rohan. “I know I can learn. I can work hard. I’m really grateful that I had this experience.”

They will help him achieve his goals, he said.

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