UMD Partners with Congdon Park PTA for Science Night

November 3, 2017

UMD scientists are taking their innovation to Congdon Park Elementary School, 3116 East Superior Street, tonight, Friday, November 3 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

“Congdon Park Science Night” is organized by the Congdon Park Elementary Parent Teacher Association and UMD’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry instructor Romesh Lakhan.

“As an educator, I could go out into the community and share my passion for science (which I do on occasion). However it's far more effective, and sustainable if we can get our UMD students involved in these kinds of outreach activities,” says Lakhan.

Forty five UMD students and faculty from Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Physics are presenting science-related demonstrations and activities for the elementary school students and their families– including creepy cockroaches, deer hearts, sheep brains, flash freezing flowers, small explosions, rockets, and more.

“Kids are inherently curious, so getting their attention isn’t that difficult, but to have a lasting impression, it helps for them to see themselves as future scientists.  This is where our UMD students come in,” explains Lakhan. “They are closer in age to the so they can relate better with them. Also, it helps when kids from underrepresented backgrounds see someone they can identify with engaged in science; it can inspire them to continue on the path to science education. Further, these students might not come to campus on their own, for whatever reason, so it's important for us to come to them.”

Lakhan says Science Night began five years ago with the Chemistry & Biochemistry Club and has grown to include many departments within the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. More than 400 people attended last year’s event.