Kent State Ashtabula’s Ann Abraham Recognized for Efforts Promoting and Making Science Fun for Students
Candy, rock ’n’ roll and … chemistry?
National Chemistry Week is unlike any other science event. Students are actively engaged in hands-on experiments creating such products as cotton candy while they get to listen to rock music performances.
Ann Abraham, Ph.D., chemistry professor at Kent State University at Ashtabula, became the coordinator for events for National Chemistry Week in 2011 and has been involved ever since.
This year, Dr. Abraham coordinated the “Chemistry Rocks” program for National Chemistry Week, bringing nearly 300 guests to the Lake Metroparks Environmental Learning Center. The free program includes 26 hands-on demos and experiments, focusing on rocks, mock interviews and résumé reviews for interested high school and college students with industry professionals, all while listening to rock music performances by Roots of American Music (ROAM).
Dr. Abraham also is involved in Family Chemistry Day’s “You Be the Chemist” challenge. This event brings fifth through eighth graders to Kent State Ashtabula to engage in fun and rewarding chemistry-related activities.
Dr. Abraham’s involvement in the “Chemistry Rocks” program and Family Chemistry Week earned her the Northeastern Ohio Local Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year by the American Chemistry Society. The award recognizes extraordinary outreach volunteer service within the section.
“I’m humbled to receive this recognition,” Dr. Abraham says. “I share it with my family, friends, colleagues and many current and past students who support these efforts. I love sharing the fun of chemistry with people of all ages.”
“It’s really great to see students and adults get into it and enjoy learning about chemistry,” Dr. Abraham says. “I encourage my students to bring their friends and families to these events, and I really enjoy meeting everyone. We want to encourage everyone to participate and interact with science and have fun while doing it!”
Activities include cotton candy and snow cone making, ID card finger printing and face painting with volunteers and professors. High school and college students are encouraged to participate as well.
“I like bringing together various collaborators from industry, the community, and local high school and middle school teachers and students,” Dr. Abraham says. “Professionals donate their time providing a casual atmosphere to conduct mock interviews and résumé reviews for high school and college students.”
Dr. Abraham will continue to spread her love and knowledge of science to her students in the classroom at the next National Chemistry Week.
“A plan is already starting to develop for the October 2018 event ‘Outer Space: Chemistry Is Out of This World,’” Dr. Abraham says.