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Service Learning in Physical Sciences

STEM for Girls and Academic Service Learning

On Saturday, November 2nd (2013) Grand Rapids Community College hosted 205 5th to 8th grade girls from all over Michigan to participate in an experiential Science+ Technology + Engineering + Math (STEM) Girl Genius Conference and 32 GRCC Academic Service Learning students volunteered at the event.  The day-long conference was designed to encourage young women to seek careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  Provost Gilda Gely began the event by welcoming the participants to Grand Rapids Community College and introducing Elyse Kleifgen, Optometry Student at Ferris State University, who gave the opening address.  Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to carry out hands-on engineering activities and engage with women in STEM field careers, including Dr. Julie Davis Turner, Assistant Dean at the Van Andel Institute Graduate School, Leigh Kleinert, GRCC Biology Professor , Linda Bramble, GRCC Chemistry Professor  and Leigh Eriks, Catholic Central HS Chemistry Teacher .  The participants also had the opportunity to have lunch with women who are engineering and science professionals who work at companies including GE Aviation, Gentex Corporation and the Van Andel Institute.  Many professional women from GRCC also participated including Kathy Roberts, Tari Mattox, Patricia Dockham, Amy Kudrna, Laurie Chesley, Jodi Dickerson, Laurie Foster, Kate Kryger, and Jan Colvin.  Pam Scott, Leah VanHartesveldt and Jennifer Batten worked with the community partners to prepare for the event. The STEM Girl Genius Conference is in its third year and is a collaborative effort between Fifth Third Bank, Kettering University, the Catholic Secondary School Foundation and Grand Rapids Community College.

 

Physical Sciences Faculty, Staff and Students Participate in National Chemistry Week Activities

The annual Chemistry in the Mall activity was held on Saturday, October 12th (2013) in Muskegon.  The event was sponsored by the West Michigan division of the American Chemical Society (WMACS).  The Physical Sciences Department hosted two activity tables that included making slime and silly putty, doing magic-marker chromatography and assembling fruit batteries.  Thirty GRCC students, who are enrolled in courses taught by Linda Bramble, Tom Neils and Bernard Liburd, showed off their knowledge of chemistry to hundreds of children and adults in the community and many earned Academic Service Learning credit.  Adjunct faculty members Jim Krikke and Duane VandenBrink and former GRCC student Kat Wirth demonstrated how much fun chemistry can be by putting on Chemistry Shows on the event main stage.  Bernard Liburd and Jennifer Batten coordinated the Physical Sciences Department role in the event. Thank you to Pam Scott and Leah VanHartesveldt for all of their help in readying the supplies and materials for the tables.

STEM Community Outreach-Fall 2012 and Winter 2013

Tom Neils and Academic Service Learning students from Organic Chemistry I lab have been working in partnership with several science faculty from GVSU to create and operate a Science Club at City Middle school in Grand Rapids.  The after school club meets each Wednesday afternoon at the middle school to work on projects based in biology, geology, chemistry and physics.  About 30 middle school students participate and have carried out experiments and activities such as Fruity DNA, Lighting Blast and CSI Crime Scene Investigations.

 

Godwin Heights MiddleSchool Academic Service Learning Event-11/16/2012   You may have heard the noise on the 4th and 5th floors of the Science Building on Friday 11/16 as 300 middle school students came to GRCC to work on science projects and to tour the Science Building.  The event was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Physical Science Department and was acollaboration with the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  Academic Service Learning played a big role in the event.   Nearly forty Academic Service Learning students in classes taught by Linda Bramble, Tom Neils, Leigh Kleinert and Jennifer Batten participated by helping the 5th and 6th graders with their inquiry based science projects and by taking the kids on tours.  The students worked on projects called Clearing a Path to the Heart, Protect the Pill, Funny Putty and The Dirty Water Project. The students also went on a Scavenger Hunt through the Science Building looking for items like periodic tables, skeletons, rotovaps,and carnivorous plants.  Many GRCC staff and faculty worked together to make the day a success.  Leigh Kleinert, Pam Scott, Tom Neils, Anesa Behrem, Leah VanHartesveldt, Jennifer Batten and Linda Bramble welcomed the students and their teachers. They also stocked and restocked supplies, supplied food, recruited ASL students, set up, and cleaned up.  We also thank Jeff Stone, Holly Hoare, Grant Heidenreich, Pam Laureto and Matt Douglas for their help with the tours.

STEM for Girls and Academic Service Learning-11/3/2012

On Saturday, November 3rd Grand Rapids Community College hosted more than 170 5th to 8th grade girls from West Michigan to participate in an experiential Science + Technology + Engineering + Math (STEM) Girl Genius Conference.  The day-long conference was designed to encourage young women to seek careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to carry out hands-on engineering activities and engage with women in STEM field careers, including Dr. Julie Davis Turner, Ph.D. Assistant Dean at the Van Andel Institute Graduate School who presented the keynote address on Possibility Thinking.  The STEM Girl Genius Conference is a collaborative effort by Fifth Third Bank, Kettering University, the Catholic Secondary School Foundation and Grand Rapids Community College.

Provost Gilda Gely began the event by welcoming the participants to Grand Rapids Community College and introducing Mary Gilliam, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Engineering at Kettering University, who gave the opening address.  Then, over 25 Academic Service Learning (ASL) students from the Biological and Physical Sciences Departments helped the participants with the hands-on engineering activities.   Specifically, Leigh Kleinert, Academic Service Learning Faculty Scholar, Tom Neils, Linda Bramble and Jennifer Batten had students from their biology and chemistry courses serve as volunteers and earn ASL credit.  Leigh Kleinert did a wonderful job in guiding the participants through the Biomedical Engineering activity Clearing a Path to the Heart, which allowed the girls to develop a system to carry out a simulated angioplasty.  Linda Bramble brought her years of experience in water resources to lead the participants through the environmental engineering activity The Dirty Water Project.  In this activity, the participants built a purification system to remove dissolved organic material and particulate from water.  

The School of Arts and Sciences had many women in the sciences participate in the event by serving as mentors.  The mentors had lunch with a small group of girls and talked with them about their education and careers in the sciences.  Dean of Arts and Sciences Laurie Chesley, Physical Science Faculty Sandy Andrews, Linda Bramble, Patricia Dockham, Elaine Kampmueller, Amy Kudrna, and Kathy Roberts, Biological Sciences Faculty Laurie Foster, Leigh Klienert, Kate Kryger, and Tamara Szost and Laboratory Technicians Anesa Behrem and Leah VanHartesveldt all served as mentors to the young women at the event. Pam Scott and Jennifer Batten served as GRCC event coordinators.  Pam and Jennifer worked with the community partners to select and develop the activities for the event and to coordinate the event logistics.  

We want to thank Becky Yoder for her help with room reservations and logistics, Dan Zehr and his team for providing the wonderful meals for the event, Dale Young, James Schafer and James Schultz for their help with set up and clean up, Duane David for setting up the audio-visual equipment and to Klaas Kwant and his team for recording the event.

 

Academic Service Learning (ASL) is Now Offered in Some Physical Science Courses-March 2 and 3, 2012

 

The first event that incorporated ASL into Physical Science Courses was held on March 2nd and 3rd 2012 at the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM).  The GRPM held a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Career Exploration Event and 23 students and 3 faculty members from GRCC’s Physical Science Department volunteered.  GRCC was one of 24 area colleges, universities and companies represented at the event, which had the purpose of introducing area children and teens to careers in the STEM fields.  On March 2nd over 800 middle and high school students from 10 different schools and on March 3rd over 1000 people from the community attended the event.

The GRCC students presented information on Careers in Polymer Science.  The students, who earned service learning credit, readied for the event by researching the synthesis, history and industrial uses of different polymers.  They prepared posters with information about the polymers and made video presentations showing how the polymers were synthesized.  The posters and videos were displayed and shown at the museum event.

While at the event, the GRCC students demonstrated their polymer synthesis skills to attendees and helped attendees make their own ‘slime’ and ‘silly putty’ polymers.  The students did a great job in explaining the uses and importance of polymers in our daily lives.  Further, this event was a great opportunity for the science students to meet and talk with representatives from companies like Perrigo, Amway and Gentex who hire scientists and engineers.

The students who participated from CHM 298 (Independent Study with Tom Neils) were Sean Stevens, Katherine Worth, Jamie Grit, Calvin Porter, Alyssa Nyenhuis, Lindsey Bigney, Jacob Patin, and  Jahanzaib Nadeem.   Volunteers James Ayers, Carly Greenhoe, Lanora Herrema, Ronald Kamgang, Austin Williams, Gerard Loranger, Long Tong, Samantha Gamble, Genevieve Colter, Dan Slaktoski, Brad Tait and Leslie Bileth are in CHM 271 (Organic Chemistry II lab with Jennifer Batten).  Linda Bramble had three students from her CHM 240 course who also volunteered at the event and earned service learning credit.

Thank you to Klaas Kwant and Hannah Prill for filming and editing the student demonstration videos. These videos are linked to the main Physical Science web page.  Thank you also to Pam Scott and Leah Van Hartesveldt  for their help in ordering supplies and preparing solutions for the event and to Sandy Andrews and Michael Schavey for their help with setting up service learning course designations on CHM 240, CHM 271 and CHM 298.  The Physical Science Department looks forward to offering our students more ASL options.