Diance Bunce , chemistry professor, was interviewed July 22 by the Washington Examiner about how she gets students excited about science. See the story below.
From: The Washington Examiner Date: July 22, 2010 Author: Keith St. Clair Bunce is a chemistry professor at Catholic University of America who has been chosen as one of 50 engineers and scientists to visit Washington-area middle and high schools this fall to get students passionate about the sciences.
What inspired your passion for the sciences?
As a student, I did very little experimental work. I was drawn to the logic of the argument. I work in a chemistry department, but my research is in how people learn chemistry. So I have an equal love for the logic of chemistry and for people.
What is your favorite area of chemistry?
You know, I just love the logic. Anything that can explain anything. Why is the sky blue? Why do muffins rise in the oven? I love being able to explain why things happen.
How do you plan to get students fired up about science?
In every culture, food has a place. We start with what people feel comfortable with: food and holidays. We give them a new filter [science] to see what they think they already know. Most students are chemistryphobic. We have to dispel that notion. Chemistry was invented by people, so if people invented it, people should be able to understand it. We know we're successful if students in our classes feel they want to talk about chemistry outside of the classroom. Then you know they're fired up. We want them to own the knowledge. That's empowering.
You're known for giving those interesting holiday-themed lectures. Which is your students' favorite?
It's when the students get to do it themselves and take it home. When they do a Christmas lab, they make a Christmas ornament that has a chemistry principle behind it. They can't leave the classroom with that ornament until they can verbally explain the chemistry behind it.