Positive reaction: High school students learn chemistry applications at Trine

April 03, 2023

Sixty-six high school students from six local schools enjoyed a day of chemistry- and chemical engineering-themed activities at a new Trine University event titled, “On TrAC: Trine Applications in Chemistry.”

Hosted by the McKetta Department of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering and Department of Chemistry, the program took place Thursday, March 23.

The university invited high school Advanced Placement or dual credit Chemistry teachers to bring their advanced science classes to campus for the day.

Student activities, teacher resources

Students rotated through activities that included designing hands-on separation processes, seeing undergraduate research projects performed in chemistry and chemical Engineering labs, playing a Chemistry-themed Jeopardy game and speaking with college students majoring in the chemical sciences.

Running concurrently with the student events were seminars for the instructors with ideas for simple demonstrations and lab experiments and online resources for teaching AP and dual credit chemistry.

 “The goal of this visit is two-fold: one, an outreach event to get junior and senior high school students excited about how they can apply chemistry to careers in chemistry or chemical Engineering, and two, build connections and provide resources for high school teachers,” stated Amanda Malefyt, Ph.D., event organizer and chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.

“I enjoyed watching the high school instructors and Trine faculty exchange ideas for the best ways to teach chemistry. At the same time this was occurring, students were learning about how the chemistry principles they learn in high school translate into real world chemistry and chemical engineering careers,” commented Vicki Moravec, Ph.D., chair of Trine’s Department of Science. 

In addition to chemistry and chemical engineering faculty, about 20 Trine University students from Omega Chi Epsilon, the chemical engineering honor society, assisted in planning and hosting the student sessions.

“My kids and I had a great time, and chemical engineering made quite an impact on one student in particular. We hope to attend again in the future,” commented Lisa Franks, science teacher at Bronson Community schools and 2008 Trine chemistry alumna.

Students from Bronson Jr/Sr High School, Pansophia Academy, Litchfield High School, Camden-Frontier High School, Central Noble High School and Jonesville Community Schools attended.

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