You Be the Chemist Challenge scheduled at Southeastern Feb. 22

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: February 7, 2013


     HAMMOND – More than 300 middle school students from 18 Tangipahoa Parish public schools will converge on the Southeastern Louisiana University campus Friday (Feb. 22) to demonstrate their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries and chemical safety awareness at a regional You Be the Chemist Challenge.

     The event will be held in the University Center from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., and is sponsored by the Southeastern Department of Chemistry and Physics with financial support from Bercen, Inc., a Denham Springs-based specialty chemical manufacturer. Bercen also will provide a number of chemists to serve as judges.

     Students from area schools will compete against one another in the challenge, said project coordinator David Norwood, associate professor in the Southeastern Department of Chemistry and Physics. The competition engages students in grades 5-8 and includes an academic question and answer competition created by the Chemical Educational Foundation.

     "The challenge exposes students to chemistry and how it applies to their everyday lives. It helps them gain a greater appreciation of how chemistry shapes our world," explained Norwood. "It's rewarding to see the students take such a strong interest in science."

     You Be the Chemist was created by the National Association of Chemical Distributors in 1989 to serve as the educational outreach segment of the chemical distribution industry. The event partners chemical industries with area schools.

     The winner of the challenge at Southeastern 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 Champ Cooper, Chesbrough Elementary, O.W. Dillion Elementary, Hammond Eastside, Hammond Junior, Hammond Westside, Independence Middle, Kentwood Junior, Loranger Middle, Natalbany Elementary, Nesom Middle, Ponchatoula Junior, Roseland Elementary, SLU Lab, Spring Creek Elementary, Sumner Middle, Vinyard Elementary and Westside Middle.

     For more information, contact Norwood by email at or at 985-549-3938.



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