Southeastern to host "You be the Chemist Challenge"

Contact: Rene Abadie


     HAMMOND More than 300 middle school students from 18 Tangipahoa Parish public schools will converge on the Southeastern Louisiana University campus Friday (Feb. 24) to demonstrate their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries and chemical safety awareness at a regional You Be the Chemist Challenge.
     The event is sponsored by the Southeastern Department of Chemistry and Physics with financial support from Bercen, Inc., a Denham Springs-based specialty chemical manufacturer for the pulp and paper industry. The company, which has been in Denham Springs for 35 years, will also supply a number of chemists to serve as judges of the competition.
     Students from the area schools will compete against one another in the challenge, an academic question and answer competition created by the Chemical Educational Foundation, said project coordinator David Norwood, associate professor in the Southeastern Department of Chemistry and Physics. The competition engages grade 5-8 students in chemistry through an event that partners members of the chemical industries with the area schools.
     “The challenge exposes students to the fascinating world of chemistry as it applies to their everyday lives, allowing them to gain a greater appreciation of how chemistry continues to shape their world,” explained Norwood.
     “Bercen places a high priority on education, across all ages of students,” said plant chemist Joey Harrell. “We are proud to be a sponsor of the YBTC Challenge.”
Participating in the awards ceremony will be Southeastern President John L. Crain and Tangipahoa Parish Public School Superintendent Mark Kolwe and Chief Administrative Officer Melissa Stilley.
     The winner of the challenge will advance to the State Challenge to be held at LSU later in the spring. The winner of the state competition will compete in the National YBTC Challenge to be held in Philadelphia in June.
     Participating schools include, O.W. Dillon, Kentwood Junior High, Chesbrough Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary, Sumner Middle, West Side Middle, Roseland Montessori, Independence Middle, Natalbany Elementary, Nesom Middle, Loranger Middle, Hammond Westside Elementary Montessori, Hammond Eastside Magnet, Hammond Junior High Magnet, SLU Lab, Champ Cooper Elementary, Ponchatoula Junior and Vinyard Elementary.

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