In Class News

September 29, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Of Nail Polish and Dynamite: Chemistry Undergrads Develop Science Communication Skills

Chemistry-biochemistry major Shanan Ashton presents an infographic at the Science Communication & Public Engagement workshop event.

Chemistry-biochemistry major Shanan Ashton presents an infographic at the Science Communication & Public Engagement workshop event.

Over the summer, students in Chemistry & Biochemistry’s Summer Undergraduate Research program participated in a Science Communication and Public Engagement workshop.

For the culminating experience, students designed and presented an infographic about molecules in everyday life for a general audience.

Some students highlighted surprising molecular similarities between nail polish & dynamite or “runner’s high” and Cannabis. Other students explored the molecules behind the smells of summer and the tastes of coffee or the transformation of molecules related to hair dye or instant film color changes.

“The workshop this summer was instrumental in showing me an important, but not obvious aspect of science: the public’s understanding of it. I had never been challenged to think about the results and consequences of the relationship between the public and developing science. This knowledge will affect the way I learn and discuss my research and classes with friends.” says chemistry-biochemistry major Shanan Ashton.

“It was really fascinating to hear why each student selected a particular topic, and they all did a great job applying the public engagement skills they had learned throughout the summer,” says workshop leader Dr. Jennifer Hines, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

The infographic activity “was a fun way to appreciate the subtleties of chemistry all around us,” says Ashton.

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