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Grad Student wins Faculty of Science Achievement Award

Congratulations to graduate student Angela Crane, who was awarded the Faculty of Science Achievement Award for her work with chemistry outreach. Angela is a member of the MacLachlan group and has been with the department since 2008.

The Science Achievement Awards recognize staff, students and faculty whose contributions in areas such as service, administration, leadership and outreach have had a significant positive impact on achieving the goals of the Faculty of Science.

Angela currently serves as Chemistry Outreach TA and has been working hard to expand the Department’s outreach activities. Says Angela, “Alumni Weekend was what started it all. We hadn’t done anything since the 1980’s really, and then we put together a magic show about two years ago for Alumni Weekend. It was such a success that we were asked [by Alumni Affairs] to do it again the next year. Our outreach efforts have really just snowballed from there.”

Angela attributes her own interest in chemistry to her “amazing chemistry teacher in high school” and is passing on this excitement to the next generation of chemists. On her aptitude for outreach, “I’ve always been super involved in everything and very interested in fundamental education,” from participating in WISE – Women in Science and Engineering, to peer tutoring and leading Girl Guides, an organization she has been a part of for the last twenty years (eight spent in a leadership role). Angela recalls a time when she was presenting to a kindergarten class and upon introducing chemicals as “being everywhere, including the chairs the children were sitting on” one little girl in the front row jumped up in shock and looked in terror at the seat behind her. “It’s this sort of reaction, this idea that all chemistry - and science in general - is dangerous, that we need to dissuade the public from believing, because it’s simply not true” says Angela. “Outreach is so important at the university level, especially in chemistry. Chemistry is everywhere, it’s a fundamental science.”

Not only do outreach activities play a valuable role in promoting public awareness and understanding of chemistry, but they are also beneficial for the staff, faculty and students who volunteer. Volunteers become more effective and confident at communicating their knowledge and expertise to audiences with a basic understanding of science.

The Department’s current outreach activities include school fieldtrips, participation in the Brainwave summer science camps, the Chemistry Open House (set to be an annual event coinciding with National Chemistry Week), the Faraday Show in collaboration with UBC Physics and Astronomy, the annual High School Lab Skills Competition, Alumni Weekend and the upcoming Chemistry Alumni Reunion. Additionally, Chemistry has an ongoing presence at Science World where a team of volunteers spends one Sunday each month promoting chemistry to kids and parents.


[Above: Angela performs a demo at a Brainwave summer camp]

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For more information on the UBC Science Achievement Awards, visit: http://science.ubc.ca/faculty/awards/achievement

To find out more about our Outreach events, or to volunteer, contact Angela Crane at outreachTA[@]chem.ubc.ca.