Filipina Vancouverite wins design contest for Brain Awareness Week

Marianne Claire Bacani designed a prizewinning sticker for Brain Awareness Week 2018. Brain Awareness Week will be celebrated March 12–18.

The event director for Neuroethics Canada wasn’t expecting that her design would be a winner.

“[I was] so surprised and honoured to be picked as a design hobbyist to be the winner of this contest,” says Bacani.

Global sticker design contest

Every year, the New York based Dana Foundation organizes Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a global campaign aiming to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.

The Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, works together with partner organizations worldwide to raise awareness about the newest developments in brain research. The foundation launched a sticker design contest to use as a new “face” for its yearly event. As an event director, Bacani is organizing the event this year at UBC and was so committed to the cause that she decided to join the contest using the latest tools at her disposal.

“Growing up in the nineties, I enjoyed drawing and playing around with Microsoft Paint to pass time. Now that there are more sophisticated programs, designing is more interesting, and still my favorite outlet for creativity and relaxation,” she says.

It was an exciting month for Bacani. Her design was published on the social media page of the Dana Foundation, where people from around the world could vote.

“Out of the top five, my designs received the most votes. That feels very special,” she says.

A boon for the Filipino community

Bacani, who studied psychology at the University of British Columbia, knows about the importance of keeping the brain healthy.

“I immigrated to Canada from the Philippines as a second year university student. Right away and because everyone has a different background here, especially at the university, integrating was not that difficult. There were lots of opportunities provided to new Canadian students,” she says.

The strong presence of the Filipino community made it easier for Bacani and her family to adjust during their first months as immigrants in Vancouver.

“We could still eat our own food and celebrate important cultural days with our own community. It is great that it is possible to have so much cultural diversity within the city. Adjusting to the Canadian culture was not too challenging because I felt very accepted,” she says.

Bacani’s winning design for Brain Awareness Week will be featured on all branding material of the global event.

“Winning wouldn’t be possible without the votes and support from people; that’s why I want to thank everyone who voted and participated in the campaign!” she says.

Upcoming talk

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Neuroethics has a special program in store for Brain Awareness Week.

“Experts in brain science will give talks throughout Vancouver to discuss interesting insights related to brain research. It will be an engaging week between the public and the academic community, and people can learn about the latest developments about, for example, medical aid in dying,” says Bacani.

Neuroethics Canada organizes the Annual Distinguished Neuroethics Lecture, where Professor Jennifer Chandler LLM (Bertram Loeb Research Chair and Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa), among other guest speakers, will talk about medical aid in dying in Canada. The lecture is open to the public and will take place in downtown Vancouver on March 13.


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