You Be the Chemist Challenge rescheduled to Feb. 21

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
by: Rene Abadie

HAMMOND – The popular middle school You Be the Chemist Challenge sponsored by Southeastern Louisiana University and the Tangipahoa Parish School System has been rescheduled to Friday, Feb. 21.

Originally planned for Jan. 31, the challenge was postponed due to weather and travel conditions.

In the YBTC Challenge, approximately 300 middle school students from nearly 20 Tangipahoa Parish public schools will travel to Southeastern's University Center where they will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries and chemical safety awareness.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sponsored by Bercen, Inc., a Denham Springs-based specialty chemical manufacturer, the event is hosted jointly by the Southeastern Department of Chemistry and Physics and the Tangipahoa Parish School System. The challenge is run by the Chemical Education Foundation.

At the event, students in grades 5-8 from area schools will participate in classroom testing. Then the top teams will engage in the actual Challenge, a Quiz Bowl-type of competition using academic questions created by the Chemical Educational Foundation, explained project coordinator David Norwood, associate professor in the Southeastern Department of Chemistry and Physics.

The students will also view and participate in chemistry demonstrations presented by Southeastern students and faculty, Norwood added.

The 18 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.

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 in Philadelphia in June.

For more information, contact Norwood by email at or by phone at 985-549-3938; or Cecilia Lanier, Tangipahoa School System STEM coordinator, at or phone at 985-310-2189.


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