Notre Dame hosted 22 local middle school students in the first St. Joseph County You Be the Chemist (YBTC) Local Challenge, sponsored by Dow Chemical Company, in the Jordan Hall of Science on March 12. Chemistry graduate students Karen Bailey, Kasey Clear, and Emily Amenson organized the event in collaboration with the Chemistry Graduate Student Organization (CGSO) and Association for Women in Science, Notre Dame Chapter (AWIS-ND). Members of CGSO tutored students in grades fifth to eight at Edison Intermediate Center, Christ the King Catholic School, and Holy Family School for weeks and judged the event.“Tutoring for the past few weeks made me more invested in the results of the challenge,” said grad student Tony Rosales. “While acting as a judge I was very excited to see the results, not only for those who progressed through all the rounds, but additionally to see how my own students did with the fairly challenging questions.”
“Having grad student volunteers come in to run the YBTC Club was a huge help,” said teacher Hannah Babbini. “The kids had a lot of fun with the after school activities used to prep for the challenge and I look forward to using more of them in my classroom.”
Participants in elimination rounds answered questions, created by the Chemical Education Foundation, on chemistry concepts, important discoveries, and chemical safety awareness. The event included scientific demonstrations between rounds. Five students – champion Alex Goffinet and runners-up Adam Peterson, Joe Mann, Ryan Goffinet, and Ben Appleton – will participate in statewide competition in Indianapolis on April 16. The National Challenge will be held during the summer. The Indiana State Challenge started in 2011 with one local event and has grown to eight this year. CGSO and AWIS-ND plan to host the second St. Joseph YBTC Local Challenge next spring. For more information, visit http://www.chemed.org/programs/challenge/.