Submitted by: Bayer
Posted: Jul 01, 2008 – 08:00 AM EST
Teacher, Student Programs Focus on Sustainability, Diversity
Teacher, Student Programs Focus on Sustainability, Diversity
PITTSBURGH, PA - July 1, 2008 - High school "green" chemistry and diversity/workforce development in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are the focus of two innovative programs for teachers and students that the Bayer USA Foundation is sponsoring this summer in four cities within the United States.
The two programs – Green Chemistry High School Teacher Workshops and Project SEED – are initiatives of the American Chemical Society (ACS). A recent Bayer USA Foundation grant is enabling ACS to establish the programs in Pittsburgh, Houston, Raleigh, N.C., and Tyler, Texas.
The Bayer USA Foundation's support of these programs reflects Bayer Corporation’s continued commitment to science education/science literacy, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). This commitment is evident in the company’s award-winning Making Science Make Sense(R) program, as well as in the number of green policies, processes and technologies Bayer continues to develop to lower greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and reduce overall consumption of natural resources.
"With these two key programs, the ACS is providing leading-edge educational opportunities in key areas that are both important to Bayer and among the most urgent for the country to begin addressing," said Dr. Attila Molnar, President and CEO, Bayer Corporation, and President, Bayer USA Foundation.
Green Chemistry High School Workshops (Pittsburgh, Raleigh)
Green chemistry is one of these areas. Through the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances, green chemistry provides the scientific underpinning for achieving sustainability by developing environmentally-friendly ways to produce everyday goods.
The workshops will take place in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University from July 6-9, 2008, and in Raleigh at North Carolina State University from July 27-30, 2008.
These intensive three-day sessions led by ACS education experts will introduce some 50 high school teachers from around the country to the principles of green chemistry by conducting green-chemistry experiments that can be incorporated into the curriculum, providing examples of green-chemistry applications relevant to students, increasing awareness of green-chemistry education resources and developing strategies for integrating green chemistry into the curriculum.
"We'll be doing experiments that are relevant to contemporary U.S. and global issues, such as alternative fuel development and energy conservation," said Dr. Mary Kirchhoff, Education Director of the ACS. "For example, the teachers will be using a renewable resource – vegetable oil – to create an alternative fuel, biodiesel. We'll also be conducting experiments that involve making silver nanoparticles and breaking down a plastic."
Experts from Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer CropScience also will be on-hand to serve as guest speakers and discuss various processes and technologies the companies are pioneering, such as sustainable farming, green building and light-weighting of vehicles.
The dual issues of diversifying the country's STEM pipeline and reversing underrepresentation by women, African-Americans, American Indians and Hispanics in STEM fields are another key concern to Bayer. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Project SEED addresses these issues by giving high school students from economically disadvantaged families the opportunity to experience a career in chemistry-related science through eight- to 10-week hands-on summer internships in academic, industrial or governmental research laboratories.
This summer, with the help of the Bayer USA Foundation, Project SEED – a recipient of the 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring – is expanding to two new Texas cities – Houston and Tyler – and giving two new students that opportunity.
For example, Kemian J. Fry, a 17-year-old senior at John Tyler High School, will spend his summer at the University of Texas at Tyler. There, he will work on a project focused on a particular pest, known as the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter, which has an impact on agricultural economics in certain areas across the United States.
In Houston, a senior at Alief Taylor High School will be interning at Prairie View A&M University, working on a chemical-research project titled, "Oxidation of Alkenes," an area of particular interest to both the pharmaceutical and industrial manufacturing industries.
"With the Bayer USA Foundation's generous gift, we're able to expand Project SEED to these two new, what we term, high-need cities, bringing the total number of communities we serve to 81 in 26 states," said Cecilia Hernandez, Assistant Director, Endowed Program, Education Division, Project SEED. "The students' complex projects, the mentors who assist them and the professional environments in which they work all combine for enormously meaningful experiences that have major impacts on their future career decisions."
According to Project SEED, 90 percent of participants, most of whom are minorities, plan to go on to college, compared to the national rate of 20 percent of all black students and 6 percent of all Hispanic students who leave high school college-ready. In addition, SEED alumni include Ph.D. scientists, process engineers, chemistry teachers and chemical engineers, among others.
About Bayer Corporation's Making Science Make Sense
Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) is Bayer Corporation's company-wide initiative that advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science education, employee volunteerism and a public education campaign. Currently, 12 Bayer sites around the country operate local MSMS programs, which together represent a national volunteer corps of more than 1,000 employees.
About Bayer USA Foundation
The Bayer USA Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation’s philanthropy in the United States. With a programmatic focus on the environment and sustainability; education and workforce development; arts and culture; and health and human services, the foundation creates and supports organizations that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work, as well as society at large. The Bayer USA Foundation is one of three Bayer foundations worldwide, including the Bayer Science & Education Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.
About Bayer Corporation
Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2007 net sales of 8.1 billion euros and employed 16,800 at year end. Bayer’s three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people’s lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability.
About American Chemical Society
With more than 160,000 members, the American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.
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