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Cool Chem 2012 engages girls in science

Sixty girls in 7th and 8th grades will enjoy a day of hands-on chemistry workshops and demonstrations at this year's Cool Chem, Saturday, April 21.

Cool Chem is planned, organized, and sponsored by the Chemistry Chapter of Women in Science & Engineering (WISE). This year's  volunteers include Karen Beckman, Laura Clouston, Mallory Cortez , Jen DeGree, Veronica Diaz-Rodriguez, Molly Dimond, Keying Ding, Solaire Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Joe Franek, Lindsay Hinkle,  Connie Lu, Deirdre Manion-Fischer, Melissa Maurer-Jones, Amanda Maxwell, Katie McGarry, Audrey Meyer, Deanna Miller, Maria Miranda, Erin Mulholland, Charuta Palsuledesai, Emily Pelton, R. Lee Penn, Katie Peterson, Stephanie Roe, Lindsay Rymes, Jacqui Tehranchi, Kelly Volp, and Letitia Yao.

This year's workshops feature hands-on experiments demonstrating a variety of chemical principles, including acid base reactions, solar cells, reaction rates, catalysts, polymers, chromatography, and forensic chemistry. There will be liquid nitrogen ice cream at lunch, and the day concludes with large-scale demonstrations, which parents are invited to watch.

Developed in 2005 by a group of graduate students, Cool Chem, is designed to engage middle school 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 problems. This year, outreach was specifically targeted to schools in Minneapolis and Saint Paul with transportation provided.

In addition to the Department of Chemistry, Cool Chemistry is partially funded by a number of sponsors, including the College of Science and Engineering, The Women's Center, GMG Services, Papa John's, Panera Bread, and the University of Minnesota Bookstores.