Dow awarded fifteen Innovation Grants to Philadelphia science teachers. These monetary awards will fund hands on science exploration that encourages problem solving, invention and critical thinking for underserved populations. One of the recipients, Ms. Mary Cullen received her check Wednesday, March 28 at John L. Kinsey located at 6501 Limekiln Pike during a science demonstration conducted by actual Dow scientists. Their individual and collective excitement regarding careers in science and their personal work was infectious. The students asked questions, and all were very excited about their upcoming project that will study the following question: How does Ultraviolet radiation from the sun affect the skin? The submitted proposal was read by actual scientists and judged in terms of its scientific merit. It was chosen out of many applicants because it demonstrated scientific soundness. After spring break, the 7th graders in Ms. Cullen’s class will begin to conduct experiments, collect data, and develop theories surrounding the aforementioned question with a student centered strategy. Hopefully, it will generate awareness to African -American students the importance of protecting their skin regardless of complexion against the sun’s harmful rays.
The science demonstration opened with Carl Coker, a Remediation Project Manager, who graduated from school with a Bachelors degree in engineering. His previous work in Louisville, Kentucky with Junior Achievement and mentoring made him a great fit to get middle school students excited about the opportunities available in science. He covered many of the responsibilities and projects that Dow is involved with. There will always be a need for future scientists, and he advised the students to focus on their goals and then find other like minded people to study and share those goals with. Work for civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineers will always be plentiful and required as we continue to create new inventions and innovations. Afterwards, the students participated in a demonstration that made physics and chemistry fun. Melissa Johnson, A research manager at Dow who works in all aspects of paint, conducted a volcano project with vinegar, baking soda, and dish washing detergent. This demonstrated the chemical content and possible reaction of simple kitchen household items. Al Schultz, who works in the development and accessibility of clean water, conducted a fun interactive experiment about energy transfer with a baseball and a bat.
The principal, Ms. Deana Ramsey, is a very passionate individual when it comes to her students and staff. This is her second year at John L. Kinsey, and you can hear and see her positive influence in the halls and through her interactions with the students and teachers. She believes that school progress and improvement is a team effort, and she encourages the students to realize that they are always competing locally, nationally, and globally. The school is Pre- K through Grade 8 and the classrooms are gender organized. Her support and encouragement of Ms. Cullen led to the acceptance of the Dow Innovation Grant.
Don McKinney, the Program Director of the Philadelphia Math and Science Coalition, is dedicated to seeking and connecting financial opportunities to science and math teachers in Philadelphia Public Schools. In two and half years, they have awarded approximately $26,000 and a majority of the funding originated from Dow. The goals of the coalition are to enhance classroom instruction, encourage active learning, and encourage inquiry/problem based instruction. He was very impressed with Ms. Cullen’s proposed experiment because of its scientific validity and that it encourages an age group that is sometimes overlooked to examine scientific discovery and processes.
Dow is dedicated to increasing and encouraging interest and classroom instruction in science and math. “In a global economy where innovation provides a competitive edge, science and math education needs to be a top priority in schools,” said Barbara Del Duke, Public Affairs for Dow.
Encourage your students, teachers, and families to attend the Philadelphia Science Festival, April 21 on the front steps of The Franklin Institute. For more information please visit www.philasciencefestival.org. There will be interactive science activities and a 3 foot high cell phone.
For more information about exciting things happening at DOW and the Innovation Grant recipients please visit www.dow.com.
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