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American Chemical Society prez praises volunteer work of APSU chemistry students

To increase awareness of how chemistry is used in everyday life, William (Bill) Carroll, president of the American Chemical Society, visited 15 cities in 10 days during the Extreme National Chemistry Week (NCW) Tour in October.

On Oct. 17, while at Phillips Toy Mart, Nashville, he had help from six Austin Peay State University students, all members of the Chemistry Club (Chi Epsilon Mu, or XEM), who assisted with hands-on activities and demonstrations for children visiting the store.
To increase awareness of how chemistry is used in everyday life, William (Bill) Carroll, president of the American Chemical Society, visited 15 cities in 10 days during the Extreme National Chemistry Week (NCW) Tour in October.

On Oct. 17, while at Phillips Toy Mart, Nashville, he had help from six Austin Peay State University students, all members of the Chemistry Club (Chi Epsilon Mu, or XEM), who assisted with hands-on activities and demonstrations for children visiting the store.

The theme for NCW was “The Joy of Toys” and, thanks to these APSU students, the young children had a great time. At the end of the day, Carroll wrote in his Extreme Tour blog:

“What Ruth (Woodall of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce) had cooked
up was an NCW kick-off that featured Dr. Carrie (Brennan, assistant professor of chemistry and adviser of XEM) and the Austin Peay State University student affiliates doing many of the standard demos … and really doing them well. The superballs bounced, the shrinkers shrunk, the soap-and-glycerine bubbles could be caught and handled and the slime was so real it nearly made you sick to your stomach.”

That day, a production crew filmed a documentary for future use by ACS. The APSU students videotaped for the documentary were Lance Baird, Mount Juliet; Alissa Harvey, Hopkinsville, Ky.; Shane Peterson, Goodlettsville; Callee Trevathan, MeKenzie; and William Farkas and Patricia Lawson, both from Clarksville.

The next day, on a morning show on WTVF-Channel 5, Nashville, several APSU students could be seenin APSU shirtsparticipating in interactive activities with children at “Chemistry Day at the Adventure Science Center,” which was held on Oct. 8. They were accompanied to the Adventure Science Center by Brennan, Dr. Ron Robertson, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Lisa Sullivan, interim chemistry faculty.

Brennan paid tribute to Robertson, longtime XEM adviser who is known throughout Middle Tennessee as Lab Man, because of his countless chemistry-outreach events: “The activities our students participated in … would not have been successful without the dedication and planning of Dr. Ron Robertson, who advised XEM for over 10 years and helped establish the club's reputation in chemistry outreach circles in our region.”

XEM has been recognized seven out of the past 11 years as Outstanding Affiliate Chapter by the American Chemical Society. According to Brennan, only 30 of more than 930 university chemistry clubs nationwide receive this honor, which is based on chapter activities.

For more information, telephone Brennan at (931) 221-7623.Dennie B. Burke