Rhodes’ American Chemical Society Organizes Chemistry Day for Middle Schoolers

a large group of diverse students gathered for a group picture on an outdoor staircase
Students gathered at Chemistry Day

Rhodes student affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) hosted 41 middle school students from Memphis Scholars Raleigh-Egypt and Maxine Smith STEAM Academy on March 25 for Chemistry Day at Rhodes. The students participated in a safety scavenger hunt, made fruity esters, “gold” pennies, thermochromatic silly putty, and experimented with red cabbage as a pH indicator. 

The event was supported by a $500 Community Interaction Grant from the American Chemical Society, the Chemistry Department and Rhodes College. The Community Interaction Grant is awarded to ACS student chapters to “provide K-12 minority students with enriched hands-on science activities and give ACS student members an opportunity to enhance their skills as future teachers and mentors.”

Last spring, President Danielle Wilson ’17 and Vice President Sam Jordan ’17 spear-headed the writing and submission of the grant to support Chemistry Day on campus. “We wanted our chapter to have the opportunity to show the Memphis youth why we love chemistry and why they should pursue a life in science,” says Wilson.  Along with the help of Barry Rich ’18, Filoteia Popescu ’19, Sakura Horiuchi ’19, and Profs. Dana Horgen and Larryn Peterson, they have spent the last several months organizing the fun-filled, educational day for the students.

Calli Pinckney ’17, Kendall Reed ’17, Jessica Rogowiec ’17, Billy Seibel ’17, Carter Embry ’19, Anoushka Mullasseril ’19 and Maria Popescu ’20 all helped with the experiments for the middle school students. Profs. Kim Brien and Will Eckenhoff provided guidance throughout the day. The middle schoolers’ teachers—Kristin Hennessy-McDonald and Derek King, a 2010 Rhodes alum—also attended the event.