University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Go to chemistry home page.


Cool Chemistry 2011 engages girls in science

Fifty-five girls in 7th grade through 9th grade enjoyed a day of hands-on chemistry workshops and demonstrations, Saturday, April 30.

Cool Chemistry was planned, organized, and sponsored by the Chemistry Chapter of Women in Science & Engineering (WISE). This year's graduate student volunteers included Lindsay Hinkle, assistant Cool Chemistry coordinator, and Karen Beckman, Jen Bigelow, Susan Brown, Ashley Dreis, Solaire Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Becky Lindsey, Deirdre Manion-Fischer, Elodie Marlier, Melissa Maurer-Jones, Amanda Maxwell, Katie McGarry, Audrey Meyer, Deanna Miller, Maria Miranda, Beth Moscato, Emily Pelton, Mallory Richards, Stephanie Roe, Jennifer Soltis, Jacqui Tehranchi, Alison Thorsness, and Bess Vlaisavljevich.

Cool Chemistry's lead organizer is Letitia Yao. Other faculty members providing assistance were Connie Lu, R. Lee Penn, and Joe Franek.

This year's workshops focused on a number of themes from polymer, computational, and green chemistry, including the use of sunlight to generate power; the chemistry behind beauty products and how to make lotions and lip gloss; the science used by real crime scene investigator; and how to make paint and how to detect an art forgery.

Cool Chemistry ended with interesting and sometimes loud and explosive demonstrations led by Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Lu, Penn, and Soltis.

Cool Chemistry was developed in 2005 by a group of graduate students. The program is specifically designed to engage middle school and high school aged girls in science, particularly chemistry, by providing an environment where they can work together to use the scientific process of questioning, hypothesizing, and experimenting to solve relevant problems.

In addition to the Department of Chemistry, Cool Chemistry is partially funded by a number of sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Fisher Scientific, Papa John's, Panera Bread, Co., Sigma-Aldrich, Testfabrics, Inc., GMG Services, The Women's Center, and University of Minnesota Bookstores.