Anastasia Britton, a senior at East Ascension High School, and Ryan Hoffman, a Dutchtown High School senior, attended the BASF Science Academy, a two-week summer science program sponsored by BASF Corporation at the Fairleigh Dickinson University College at Florham campus in Madison, New Jersery.
Each year, the program accepts 20 high school seniors from across the U.S. for an advanced science program that provides a preview of college life, and an opportunity to learn advanced chemistry, a news release from BASF said.
“BASF recognizes the importance of immersing students in science education — realizing they will be the thinkers, innovators and leaders of the future,” said Tom Yura, senior vice president for the BASF site in Geismar. “The Science Academy aspires to develop the technology based workforce of the future by exposing students to practical business applications and potential careers in chemistry.”
“The partnership between business and academia is a successful model for helping students to understand the practical applications of what they are learning,” said Amber Charlebois, associate professor of chemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “I was excited to be a part of the experiences and progress the students made during the intensive two week program.”
The academy targets students who will be high school seniors in the fall, who have completed at least one year of high school chemistry and have a demonstrated record of academic excellence and a strong interest in the sciences, the news release said.
Following the curriculum, “From Molecules to Marketplace,” students learned advanced-level science from FDU professors, and interacted with BASF scientists and business leaders through lectures, hands-on lab experiments and field trips. In addition to learning the basic scientific method, the students studied polymerization, the chirality and analysis of chemical components, the properties of fragrances and colors, environmental science, product development, product marketing and project management.
Working in teams, the students used BASF chemistry to formulate personal care products for which they developed business and marketing plans that they presented to a panel of BASF executives.
“My favorite part of the program was meeting so many different people who are all interested in the same subject as I am,” Britton said. “I was surprised how much chemistry and marketing play into each other and learned that everyone has to communicate well to have a product made successfully.”
“Everybody brought something new to the table” Hoffman said. “The teamwork was great, despite the different personalities of everyone and we all worked so well together. My favorite part was working with my group and developing our face wash product. The trip to New York City was awesome, too.”
Students graduated from the program with two transferable college science credits to encourage their continuing pursuit of science education, the news release said. In addition, FDU offered graduates $5,000 scholarships if they choose to attend FDU in the fall.
Former graduates from the program — which started in 2011 — have gone on to pursue their science studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Cornell University, Princeton University, Rice University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Lamar University, University of Alabama, Virginia State University and Clemson University among others, the news release said.
Six former Science Academy participants are working as student interns this summer at various BASF locations, including Geismar.
Visit the BASF Science Academy on Facebook at facebook.com/ScienceAcademyatBASF.