Friday, March 11, 2016

Judging at Local Science Fairs

The spring semester at IU South Bend offers a particular way for faculty and students to reach out to the community: science fairs.  This year the chemistry department was involved in three ways.  First Professor Doug McMillen let a Marian High School student work on a small project associated with McMillen's main research. The student explored the oxidation of alcohols with iodine and received an early introduction to FT-IR and NMR spectroscopy used to analyze the reaction products during their purification. Next, Professor Bill Feighery and biochemistry major Janae Lee helped judge the science fair projects of 6th and 8th grade students at St. Anthony de Padua School.  Janae Lee (left foreground) is shown in the picture above listening to a student's presentation with a fellow judge. Finally Professor Grace Muna served as judge at the Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Notre Dame's Stepan Center where each year the best projects of the local schools are displayed and judged at a higher level. While judging can sometimes be stressful and tedious when many projects must be viewed in a limited time, there is a great pleasure that comes from seeing children talk about science.