FUN is an international organization supporting neuroscience research and education at the undergraduate level. Our members and supporters include: individual faculty and students; businesses and organizations; private liberal arts colleges; community colleges; state and research universities; neuroscience departments and programs.
Our mission is to support neuroscience faculty, enhance undergraduate participation in neuroscience research, disseminate innovations and recognize excellence in undergraduate neuroscience education, and develop national and regional networks to enhance undergraduate neuroscience education, research, and faculty development.
The History of FUN
At the 1991 Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual meeting, the idea of an organization dedicated to neuroscience teaching and research was conceived during an informal discussion between Julio Ramirez (Davidson College), Dennison Smith (Oberlin College), Sally Fruitiger (Dennison University), and Steve George (Amherst College). In October 1992, Ramirez described the organization to the Education Committee of SfN. The SfN agreed to sponsor meetings for the young society at the annual SfN meeting. FUN has held annual meetings in conjunction with the annual SfN meeting ever since.
Through a strategic partnership with SfN, FUN represents the voice of undergraduate neuroscience on SfN's Neuroscience Training Committee. This partnership began thanks to the lobbying efforts of the early membership, and with the assistance of Jim Blankenship.
In the ensuing years, FUN has brought faculty together from across the country—to discuss, develop, and refine undergraduate neuroscience education through summer workshops at Davidson College (1995) Oberlin College (1998), Trinity College (2001), Macalester College (2005 & 2008), Pomona College (2011), Ithaca College (2014), and Dominican University (2017). The 2020 workshop, scheduled for Davidson College, had to be cancelled because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The next workshop is scheduled for summer 2023 at Western Washington University.
Each year, a growing number of undergraduates choose to include neuroscience coursework as part of their college education. Undergraduate major and minor programs continue to increase in popularity, and research-based curricula are a common expectation for prospective students. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs employing Bachelor's degree holders in the Neurosciences are expected to grow by an average of 11% from 2019-2029, suggesting a large need for graduates of such programs. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, updated December 2, 2020)
FUN provides an array of resources for faculty, and sponsors student travel awards and a poster session so that the best and brightest of undergraduate researchers can attend and present thier work at the SfN annual meeting.
For more about our history read the articles attached below.