Florham Park, N.J. -- Twenty rising high school seniors from schools across the U.S., Canada and Central America received a preview of college and the business of chemistry during the fifth annual BASF Science Academy. The two week summer science program, developed by BASF Corporation, is held at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in Madison, New Jersey.
"The Science Academy aspires to develop the technology based workforce of the future by exposing students to practical business applications and potential careers in chemistry," Robin Rotenberg, Vice President of Corporate Communications for BASF in North America, said. "This is especially important to BASF since we are celebrating our 150th Anniversary this year. It's simply not possible to exist for 150 years and become the world's leading chemical company without developing a strong pool of talented innovators."
"The partnership between business and academia is a successful model for helping students to understand the practical applications of what they are learning," Amber Charlebois, Associate Professor of Chemistry at FDU, said. "I am excited to be a part of the experiences and progress the students make during the intensive two week program."
The Science Academy targets rising seniors who have demonstrated a record of academic excellence with at least one year of high school chemistry and a strong interest in pursuing a degree in science.
Following the curriculum theme "From Molecules to Marketplace," students learn next-level science from FDU professors and interact with BASF scientists and business leaders through lectures, hands-on lab experiments and field trips. Working in teams, the students use BASF chemistry to formulate their own personal care products for which they develop a marketing plan and present to a panel of BASF executives and FDU academic leaders.
Students graduate from the program with two transferable college science credits to encourage their pursuit of science education. In addition, FDU offers graduates $5,000 scholarships if they choose to attend FDU in the fall of 2016.
As an on-campus residential program, the Science Academy gives students added life experience that will help to prepare them for their future in higher education. Students use the university's classrooms, chemistry labs, dorms and receive college-level instruction throughout the two weeks. BASF covers the full cost of the program, including student tuition and travel while working with the FDU staff to develop the challenging Science Academy curriculum.
"I came into this program with the expectations of being in a classroom studying chemistry all day," Nina Godoy, Science Academy participant from Guatemala City, Guatemala, said. "I was surprised to learn how both the business and chemistry behind a product complement each other to achieve an end goal."
"I will be doing research for the 2016 Governor's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) scholar's program in New Jersey and plan on studying microbiology and biophysics in the future," Mustafa Salim, Science Academy participant from Flanders, New Jersey, said. "During the Science Academy, I learned how to cooperate in a team to create a large scale project over a short period of time."
Four former Science Academy participants, who are pursuing their studies of science at their given colleges, are currently working as summer interns at various BASF locations across the country. Two additional Science Academy alumni have been accepted into the BASF Professional Development Program (PDP) as interns. Each is pursuing a career in chemical engineering.
Graduates of the 2015 Science Academy are listed below:
- Jonathan Hall, Huntsville High School, Alabama
- Sarah Toukan, Jarvis Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Canada
- Nina Godoy, Deutsche Schule Guatemala, Guatemala
- Elizabeth Rosene, Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School, Illinois
- Aidan Reid, East Ascension High School, Louisiana
- Lawrence Brown, Donaldsonville High School, Louisiana
- Nicholas Mitchell, Marvin Ridge High School, North Carolina
- Abigail Sequeira, Randolph High School, New Jersey
- Brendan Fu, Hanover Park High School, New Jersey
- Jack Collins, Morristown-Beard School, New Jersey
- Mustafa Salim, Morris Hills High School Academy for Math, Science and Engineering, New Jersey
- Shannon Flynn, Jefferson Township High School, New Jersey
- Andy Lin, Peekskill High School, New York
- Daniel Fay, John Jay Senior High School, New York
- Kristen Rockwell, Anthony Wayne High School, Ohio
- Ysabelle Yrad, Elyria High School, Ohio
- Alexander Bowman, Central Valley High School, Pennsylvania
- Kelsey Holloway, Fort Mill High School, South Carolina
- Diana Alegria, Brazosport High School, Texas
- Nathan Soper, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Virginia