The Department of Physical Sciences believes that community engagement is an important part of a professional scientist’s training. Whether it is integrated as part of a service-learning course or on a volunteer basis, students have many opportunities to learn not only in classrooms and laboratories, but in real-life interactions with members of the community, and to give back to surrounding community groups by sharing their knowledge and love of science. Faculty and staff work with students to organize and host events with several community partners each year, aimed at fostering an excitement for and understanding of science in members of the public, including K-12 students who already love science and those who are not sure, as well as adults who want to increase their science literacy. As a student, participation in these events will help build confidence in the knowledge you learn in class, give you an opportunity to practice communication skills, and let you see how important your chosen area of study is to the community. You will find how your specialized skills as a scientist can be used to improve the lives of others. Here are some examples of events you may participate in:
Each year we partner with science teachers from high schools in surrounding counties by organizing a Chemistry and Physics Tournament. In this day-long event, teams of high school students visit the Barry campus to compete in laboratory, oral, and written events in chemistry or physics. Teams score points in each competition, and prizes are given for the top scorers and overall winners. Barry students get involved by helping to design the lab competition, volunteering to help run other events and the awards ceremony.
The Chemistry Club is involved in several community events each year. Chief among these are the Chemistry Magic Shows, which are presented to third-graders at nearby elementary schools. Chemistry Club students convey to the elementary students that they too can be scientists if they choose, and that science is exciting. During National Chemistry Week each year, Barry students and faculty also participate in the South Florida ACS’s NCW Science Day at local venues and host chemistry demos and hands-on activities for families. Chemistry Club students also participate in the MLK Day of Service, Barry’s Earth Day and Miami Shores Green Day Festival.
The goal of the COACH (Community Outreach Approaching Chemistry Hands-on) Program is to foster a love of science and curiosity in students at schools in the area by allowing them to experience hands-on activities and demonstrations led by Barry University students. Community groups either visit our labs on campus for the day, or we pack up experiments to bring to them. Barry students are guided to design, prepare, test and present these experiments to the younger students.
High school students compete in the lab competition of the 2015 Chemistry and Physics Tournament.
Chemistry Club members reveal “invisible ink” messages as part of an elementary school magic show.
A Barry student helps Girl Scouts to make a glow-in-the-dark polymer.