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Student members of the American Chemical Society (ACS) will spend tomorrow demonstrating the wonders of science to first- and second-grade students at Forks Elementary School as part of National Chemistry Week (Oct. 20-26).

The society will present four demonstrations. In the first and second sessions, held from 12:15-1 p.m. and 1-1:45 p.m., first-grade students will learn how to make “slime” in a presentation on what chemists do. The third and fourth sessions, held 1:30-2:10 p.m. and 2:10-3 p.m., will feature demonstrations with liquid nitrogen for second-grade students.

William H. Miles, associate professor and assistant head of chemistry, and Chip Nataro, assistant professor of chemistry, will supervise the five Lafayette students leading the presentations: chemistry majors Abby O’Connor ’03 (Newtown, N.J.) and Jessica Jamhoury ’03 (Frenchtown, N.J.), biochemistry majors Jennifer Stroka ’03 (Tunkhannock, Pa.) and Elizabeth Ponder ’04 (Collegeville, Pa.), as well as Kelly Barrows ’06 (Clarks Green, Pa.).

Lafayette’s student chapter of the ACS has been educating elementary school children during National Chemistry Week for the past four years. One year, the group presented a demonstration for community children at Lafayette’s Hugel Science Center. The presentation was based on the theme “kitchen chemistry” and involved kitchen ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, soda, eggs, spaghetti, cabbage juice, and ice cream. Another year, the ACS student chapter held a two-day event at the Crayola Factory in downtown Easton.

“National Chemistry Week is a public outreach event to increase public awareness of some of the benefits that society derives from chemistry,” explains Miles, adviser of Lafayette’s ACS chapter. “In elementary school, the kids are wide-eyed — they still love science, and don’t think of it as a hard subject yet. The children enjoy the experiments and outwardly show an enthusiasm for almost anything.”

Lafayette’s student chapter of American Chemical Society has been chosen to receive an honorable mention award from the national organization. The group will be honored at the 225th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans on March 23, 2003, and will be featured in Chemical & Engineering News and in Chemistry, the official ACS newsmagazine and Student Affiliates publication, respectively.

Every year, approximately 950 student chapters submit a report of activities to ACS. Lafayette is one of only 71 schools to receive an honorable mention.

”Professor William Miles, faculty adviser of the chapter, deserves special commendation,” says Eli Pearce, president of American Chemical Society. ”Few faculty members are willing to make the great commitment of time and energy that a successful chapter requires of its adviser. Professor Miles’ efforts certainly represent the best in undergraduate science education and mentoring around the country.”

The September/October 2001 issue of in Chemistry cites the role of Lafayette in founding the first student chapter of the American Chemistry Society and provides a profile of the current Lafayette group in a separate article. ACS Secretary Charles L. Parsons announced approval of Lafayette’s application to found a Student Affiliate of the American Chemical Society on Nov. 14, 1937.

About 30 students attend meetings of Lafayette’s chapter and participate in chapter activities. Besides holding monthly meetings and conducting events during National Chemistry Week, the group sponsors appearances by outside speakers and hosts talks by Lafayette chemistry faculty and students. Last year, the club sponsored a demonstration on campus called the “Blow Stuff Up Show.” There are also several social functions, including a holiday party in December and an end-of-year picnic.

Founded in 1876, ACS is a professional organization of 161,000 members representing many different disciplines, including chemical engineering and geology at all degree levels. The Student Affiliates were founded in 1937.

Categorized in: Academic News