By Zachary Gotthardt
SC Staff Writer
Many majors and departments endured a great shock last year. At the forefront of budget cuts and retrenchments was the Chemistry Department, with six of their faculty losing their jobs.
Despite these difficulties, a dedicated group of chemistry students meets biweekly to teach the campus about the importance of their field.
The Chemistry Club is designed to join together students interested in chemistry and science in general. Many of its members are not chemistry majors, but instead are only interested in, and recognize the importance of, chemistry.
The club has a very strong educational focus. “Members of the club have the opportunity to sharpen their skills in education, public speaking, working with children, creativity, and laboratory prep,” says Chemistry Club President Briana Magistro.
She continued, “There are also opportunities to further connections in the professional world through the American Chemical Society (ACS)… Students in the club have the opportunity to become ACS members and travel to ACS conferences, where they can connect with other chemistry students and professionals.”
The Chemistry Club has been associated with the American Chemical Society for years, allowing them to foster a relationship for the benefit of the Chemistry Department.
“A few of our members are going to the ACS National Conference in Denver, CO, this March, where they will receive our club’s award for commendable outreach,” says Magistro. ESU’s chemistry program is considered ACS-accredited due to this partnership, which results in the department’s high employment placement.
The club maintains an active presence on campus. “We have ‘magic shows’ in schools in the community. At these demonstrations, we perform some really cool chemical reactions to get the kids excited about science,” explains Magistro. “Then, we do some interactive activities with them to really teach them about our amazing field. Our audiences range from pre-schoolers to high schoolers, and each show is designed to connect with the students.”
In addition to these events, the club is active in the campus community at club fairs and the welcome carnivals, where they showcase interactive chemistry crafts and activities.
Magistro also has new plans for the club this semester. “We are planning to join in on some new volunteer efforts outside of the scientific field, like participating in the dog walking program at A.W.S.O.M. in Stroudsburg. We are also looking into some new outreach opportunities, including more interactive events and possibly performing chemical reactions on the news.”
Magistro, a senior, has been president since last spring, and will be leaving the club in the hands of a younger generation following her graduation in May. She is confident that the club will be able to continue on its path without her.
She said, “My hope is that the next group will carry on with our new outreach ideas, and get more and more involved both on-campus and in the community. We started to take a new approach on how we connect with our audiences, from first graders to college students, by providing more interactive activities. We want the community to grow with science, and help shape the next generation of scientists.”
Anyone with an interest in chemistry and the sciences are encouraged to join the Chemistry Club. The club meets every other Tuesday in room 148 in the Science and Technology Center. Their next meeting is February 17 at 2:30 PM.
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