Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

6-7-2011 1:15 PM

Keywords

Chemistry, science, research, student engagement, recruitment

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

The Research Awareness in Chemistry Education (RACE) program at Cape Breton University is a Department of Chemistry initiative to engage and attract 1st year students to chemistry research.

Many students have misconceptions about research. In the public and in high-school, chemistry is generally perceived negatively and research is attributed as nerdy. In addition, the majority of education support programs at the high-school and university level are geared towards weak students in form of extra help sessions and tutoring. In contrast, talented students interested in science are often overlooked and their potential is little fostered.

The RACE program is a 6-week volunteer program for 1st year students who rotate among six chemistry researchers in such disciplines as biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, computational chemistry and chemical engineering. The students conduct small, hands-on projects with each researcher for about 2 to 3 hours per week. Such activities include computer simulations of a chemical reaction, extraction of enzymes from plant material, synthesis of an organic compound, hands-on use of an inert-gas glovebox and an NMR spectrometer. Based on a qualitative individual interview survey, the students are very excited about the RACE program and appreciate the diversity of chemistry research. Details about organization, recruitment, scheduling and student feedback will be discussed in the oral presentation.


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Jul 6th, 1:15 PM

Research Awareness in Chemistry Education (RACE) Program

The Research Awareness in Chemistry Education (RACE) program at Cape Breton University is a Department of Chemistry initiative to engage and attract 1st year students to chemistry research.

Many students have misconceptions about research. In the public and in high-school, chemistry is generally perceived negatively and research is attributed as nerdy. In addition, the majority of education support programs at the high-school and university level are geared towards weak students in form of extra help sessions and tutoring. In contrast, talented students interested in science are often overlooked and their potential is little fostered.

The RACE program is a 6-week volunteer program for 1st year students who rotate among six chemistry researchers in such disciplines as biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, computational chemistry and chemical engineering. The students conduct small, hands-on projects with each researcher for about 2 to 3 hours per week. Such activities include computer simulations of a chemical reaction, extraction of enzymes from plant material, synthesis of an organic compound, hands-on use of an inert-gas glovebox and an NMR spectrometer. Based on a qualitative individual interview survey, the students are very excited about the RACE program and appreciate the diversity of chemistry research. Details about organization, recruitment, scheduling and student feedback will be discussed in the oral presentation.