Stern College Chemistry Club Wins Community Interaction Grant

American Chemical Society Award Will Fund Student-Run Educational Science Modules at P.S. 134

For the ninth consecutive year, Stern College for Women’s Chemistry Club has been awarded the Community Interaction Grant by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The grant, which is intended for college students who offer educational chemistry activities in public schools with a large minority population, will fund the club’s science modules at P.S. 134 Henrietta Szold School.

Members of the Stern College Chemistry Club (top left) lead an educational science module for elementary school students at P.S. 134 Henrietta Szold School.

Club board members Neda Shokrian and Lior Levy worked together with the help of Dr. Donald Estes, the club’s faculty mentor and senior laboratory instructional specialist at Stern College, to create a proposal, timeline and budget based on the ACS guidelines using their chosen theme, “Green Chemistry for the Future,” which Shokrian says is currently a hot topic in the field: “Many labs are trying new techniques to reduce environmental pollutants as a result of lab reactions.” Shokrian and Levy have also explored the topic in their organic chemistry course at Stern College.

“We will give a presentation about many day-to-day chemical reactions that people have seen and how with certain changes to the management and execution of the experiment, they can be made better for the environment,” said Shokrian. “Some of these experiments include substituting fruit dyes for synthetic dyes, and substituting produce for batteries to power lightbulbs. We want to encourage the students to think of ways to do everyday activities in environmentally friendly ways.”

The Chemistry Club makes sure all the experiments they run with the students are ones the children can replicate at home in the hopes that it will encourage them to continue their chemistry journeys beyond the classroom.

“Once Lior and I had decided on our topic, we researched different applications and experiments until we found some that we thought would be most appropriate for the students at the elementary school and also fun for students at Stern,” said Shokrian. “We are very excited to continue the Stern College Chemistry Club tradition of earning Community Interaction Grants.”