Southeast Michigan Mensa Regional Gathering – Need Input!

Do you want to learn  more about Mensa, and have fun at the same time?  Our local chapter of Mensa, Southeast Michigan Mensa (SEMM), is holding an annual convention (Regional Gathering, otherwise known as the RG) on the weekend of Saturday, May 5th, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Farmington Hills ( .  We have a chance at a wonderful speaker for kids:  Backyard Brains: Neuroscience for Everyone!  We have just one problem.  We need to sign up more families with kids for the RG in order to afford Backyard Brains!  Is your family interested? 

Please review the info below and think about it.  If you believe you could commit to attending on Saturday with your family, assuming we get enough families signed up, please email us at as soon as possible.  Please include the number of adults and children you would plan to register assuming Backyard Brains was there (or just because you like the other attractions)!  If you think you’ll know by Thursday, please let us know by then (submission deadline for our local M-Pathy newsletter) so we can publish Backyard Brains as one of the speakers that will be at the RG.  If you are already registered, there is no need to respond.

The cost of Saturday Only (7:30 AM to 11 PM) for the RG is $50 for adults, $25 for kids ages 5-18, Kids under 5 free.

Thank you so much for you consideration!  In case it helps you decide, I have included a short description of other kid-friendly attractions planned for the Saturday portion of the RG.



The Backyard Brains organization was founded by a PhD neuroscientist whose goal is to teach school kids graduate-level neuroscience concepts and techniques!  Gregory Gage, the founder, was frustrated at the lead time required for training neuroscience graduate students.  He figured if they could learn the concepts/techniques earlier, they’d be able to concentrate sooner on research.  So he’s made it his goal to educate school kids in neuroscience before they enter college.  He uses a device called the Spikerbox and the lowly cockroach leg, to demonstrate the functioning of neurons in different situations.  See the following experiments page for details:

Our presenter would be Andre Snellings, PhD, Neural Engineer.  Here is a description of the classroom lecture he could give us:

“I would plan to generally follow the agenda as laid out in the classroom link, presenting a combination of Powerpoint slides and live experiments.  I would give a brief introduction to neural engineering and my background as motivation to try to generate some excitement.  I’d then introduce some basic neuroscience about how neurons communicate with the brain before doing a neural recording in the cockroach leg.  I’d then likely segue into drugs, and how chemicals can change neural behavior before performing a neuropharmacology experiment.  Then, I’d end up with a discussion about neural prosthetics/stimulation before doing a stimulation experiment where we get the cockroach leg to move based on electrical inputs.  At that point I would open the floor to questions.”

When I last saw Andre, it was at the Brain Bee at MSU last month.  He had a table set up there.   He was so busy with interested passersby, I had a real challenge getting his attention to ask him to consider the RG! 


Other Kid-Friendly Saturday RG Attractions:

  • Build ‘N Break of Novi ( will be hosting a kids’ activity room for much of Saturday!  Build ‘N Break specializes in kid-learning entertainment such as block stacking, legos, jenga, snap circuits, dinosaur digs, and much more.
  • Cirque Amongus – Education Enrichment through Circus Arts!  “Cirque Amongus offers hands-on programs designed to build self-esteem, develop motor skills and promote teamwork”.
  • Roeper – A Representative from the Roeper School will be there to talk about Roeper and answer your questions about the admissions process and anything else you’ve always wanted to know about Roeper!
  • The Evolution of Charlie Darwin – “Partner with Your Dog Using Positive Training”!
  • Paper Airplane making/flying contest!
  • Puzzles and Games
  • Food will be a continental breakfast, a lunch taco bar and an evening Italian dinner!
  • Pool Party
  • Wii Rock Band
  • And don’t forget the evening ice cream social!
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