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Science Outreach Program Brings Indiana AP High School Students to Campus


Writer(s): Steve Scherer

Advanced Placement (AP) science students from around the region have been coming to Purdue on Fridays to study in an authentic college laboratory setting.

“The lab sessions are unique in that they are a free program open to Indiana high schools and their teachers, helping teachers to ensure that their students have access to necessary resources outlined in both the AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science curriculum frameworks that are required parts of the AP course audit,” explained Sarah Nern, Science Express director and Chemistry outreach coordinator.

“Many schools lack the resources to be able to teach all of the AP labs well, and we have the equipment and expertise to be able to provide students with a laboratory experience that will allow them to master concepts that they would not necessarily be able to comprehend in their school setting,” added Steven Smith, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences outreach coordinator.

For a day, students are immersed in the campus environment giving them a glimpse of college life, including meeting faculty and College of Science students who assist during the labs.

Recently, Corey Thompson, assistant professor of Chemistry, and David McMillin, professor of Chemistry, spent time with the students in the lab.

“Corey Thompson has been absolutely wonderful about volunteering his time during these lab sessions to interact with students as they complete the labs, and Dave McMillin also participated by delivering a short lecture to students who were completing the spectrophotometry lab,” said Nern.

“To be able to learn from someone doing real scientific research can be a paradigm shift for students and inspire them on a new path,” added Smith.

Professor Thompson assists AP students

Professor Corey Thompson (right) assists AP students with lab technique. (Click to enlarge photo.)

Smith and Nern teach lab

Science outreach coordinators Steven Smith (left) and Sarah Nern (middle) teach AP chemistry lab. (Click to enlarge photo.)