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Sharing the Right Chemistry

Chem/Biochem Club member Natasha Haslam        Chem/Biochem Club member Natasha Haslam demonstrates an experiment to youngsters at USU's 2008 Celebration of Children and Families event.

Utah State University’s Chemistry & Biochemistry Club is venturing beyond the confines of the laboratory to share the excitement of science with the local community. Along the way, the students are boosting campus and community efforts to create a greener, more sustainable world.

A student affiliate chapter of the American Chemical Society, USU’s club was among 40 student chapters nationwide selected by the society for an Outstanding Chapter Award for the 2007-08 academic year.

The USU group was chosen from more than 330 student chapters. The Aggies will be recognized in an awards ceremony during the society’s annual national meeting in spring 2009 in Salt Lake City.

“Formation of an officially recognized ACS chapter is an achievement in and of itself,” says Steve Scheiner, head of USU’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. “To receive an Outstanding Chapter Award is a wonderful testament to efforts and commitment of these students and their faculty mentors, Scott Ensign and Lisa Berreau.”

The ACS lauded the USU chapter’s community service outreach efforts.

Referring to the club’s coordination of the university-wide “Going Green Extravaganza” Earth Day celebration held during spring 2008 on the USU Quad, selection committee members wrote, “(coordinating) a 4,500-person extravaganza was an awesome achievement. Great job.”

In addition, the committee applauded the chapter’s outreach programs to youngsters. During the 2007-08 academic year, the club presented chemistry demonstrations at elementary schools throughout Cache Valley and beyond, as well as to preschool and scout groups. The club also presented at USU celebrations, including Aggie Family Day and the Community Children’s Halloween Carnival.

Club members served as judges for a science fair held at InTech Collegiate High School, a charter school emphasizing math and science on USU’s Innovation Campus. The members have also mentored high school students during on-campus lab field trips and during a summer high school internship program hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“Our student chapter is raising the level of understanding of chemistry throughout our community,” Scheiner says.

The national organization praised the Aggie group as a model for other campuses.

“USU is setting a fine example for other chapters and preparing the next generation of chemical professionals,” says Bruce Bursten, ACS president.

Contact: Lisa Berreau, 435-797-3509
Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517
October 2008

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