The Stony Brook University Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces, with the help of undergraduates from the Stony Brook Program in Chemical and Molecular Engineering, part of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, together with Queens College hosted the 20th Annual Science Open House for High School Students on January 5. The event, which occupies the entire Queens College Science Building, hosts high school students from schools across the New York Metropolitan area, and aims to encourage and inspire them to explore science as a possible career. The program emphasizes empowerment through science regardless of socioeconomic or ethnic background and that there are no age limits to participation and innovation. The themes each year are chosen to highlight a different aspect of the impact of science on society.
This year’s theme was conservation and featured Stony Brook University Distinguished Professor Patricia Wright on the topic of “Lemur conservation in Madagascar: Bringing Lemurs Back from the Edge of Extinction.” Special guest Brooke Ellison, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University, shared a discussion on the global impact of technology and the ethical responsibility of scientists. Professor Ellison, also known for her book, The Brooke Ellison Story, was paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident at age 11 and is a testament to facing adversity and challenges in her pursuit of an accomplished career in academia. Underscoring the emphasis of inclusion and diversity, among the nearly 500 high school students in attendance were a group of 40 students from Southside High School CORE program, for whom a special program was designed to accommodate children with Down’s syndrome and other congenital disabilities.
Students and teachers alike enjoyed the pop, bang, fizz and swoosh of chemistry in the 90-minute Thomas J. Haden II Chemistry Show, sponsored by Queens College. All guests participated in the exhibition where students toured research labs, performed hands-on experiments, and learned about research programs and science competitions.
“The Science Open House is designed to show students the fun side of science and consider it as a possible career and pathway to higher education,” said Distinguished Professor Miriam Rafailovich, director of the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces.