Chem Club 2018
Greetings to all current and former members of the SCU Chem Club! I am happy to report that the club was again recognized for their activities in 2017-2018 with a Commendable Chapter Award from the American Chemical Society. This is the 25th consecutive Chapter award from the ACS—something we are very proud of! This year our club was also chosen by the College of Arts and Sciences to share our activities with faculty, students and visitors at the College Showcase. We must be doing something right! Here is a peek at some of our activities from the 2017-8 academic year. In the Fall we partnered with the Silicon Valley Section (note the new name of our section!) of the ACS and the SJSU Student Member Chapter to host the annual hands-on science demonstration event at the Martin Luther King Library in San Jose. This event featured about a half-dozen demonstrations developed using the National Chemistry Week theme of “Chemistry Rocks!”. Children and their parents examined geodes, classified rocks according to their physical characteristics (color, crystal size and shape, etc.), and then tested samples of different minerals for water permeability, relative “hardness”, and effect of addition of acid. The event was a great success—well over a hundred children and their parents participated.
One of the most impressive things about our club is the enthusiasm of our members when it comes to participating in community service projects. In addition to the annual event at the MLK library, this year about 20 SCU students assisted the Silicon Valley Section of the ACS to help put on a “Teach the Teachers” workshop. For this event 30 or more local grade school science teachers trekked to Stanford to participate in a full day of activities linked to the theme of National Chemistry Week. In addition to lectures, there were numerous hands-on demonstrations for the teachers to test out. Each teacher was given a huge goodie bag filled with the materials needed to recreate the experiments with the students at their home institution. As you might expect, it takes a lot of helpers to organize this event and our club was proud to participate—we spent an afternoon putting together goodie bags a few weeks prior to the event and then helped with various tasks at the actual event in April. As a special treat, members got to meet the President-Elect of the ACS, Dr. Bonnie Charpentier, who is a member of the local section!
We also participated in research-related activities this past year, meeting with numerous seminar speakers (and hosting lots and lots of munchies for the seminars!). One of our most popular educational activities, a research panel, was folded into the Chemistry 15 Introduction to Research course. In this event, experienced upper division students talked to lower division students about their experiences with finding a research lab and in conducting undergraduate research. We also hosted three webinar viewing parties this year. The topics ranged from the chemistry of rocks and minerals (an ACS “Program in a Box” linked to the NCW theme), a PIB webinar on the opioid epidemic, and a final webinar about the chemistry involved in tempering chocolate. This year we made an extra effort to celebrate special days on the calendar. As usual, we had pie for “Pi(e) Day” on March 14, a “guess the number of moles of jelly beans in the jar” competition for “Mole Day” in October, a disposable lab coat painting contest for Earth Day, and, as a special event for Star Wars Day (May 4), we had an evening showing of the Star Wars movie, “A New Hope”. In the spring we attended the annual Northern California Undergraduate Research Symposium held at Mills College in Oakland; club members gave oral and poster presentations on a wide range of topics.
We are looking forward to hosting the symposium when it swings back to our campus in 2019. Many of you probably recall presenting the results of your own research at this annual event!