Virtual Outreach to a Virginia Elementary School
On September 23rd, Columbus Lab graduate students Brett Kroncke, Dan Fox, and Alison Dewald Skyped with budding scientists in the V.L. Murray (Albemarle County) 3rd grade and their teachers Laura Dewald and Jessica Cleaver. The 3rd graders were given a virtual tour of the lab and helped plan and watch a live experiment on freezing flowers in liquid nitrogen. The graduate students also answered the 3rd graders’ questions on experimenting and what it means to be a scientist.

The Mead Lunch Series
Eight undergraduates and Prof. Columbus met every Friday during the Spring 2009 semester to discuss our research. The Mead Foundation sponsored the event and catered the lunches
From left to right: Prof. Columbus, Asim Shabbir (Venton Laboratory), Philip Storm (Bushweller Laboratory), Michael Melicher (Chruma Laboratory), Madeleine Wright (Bushweller Laboratory), Jason Ji (McGarvey Laboratory), Katie Zlotkowski (Geysen Laboratory), Melissa Lowder (Chruma Laboratory), and Jeong-Hyun Lee (Macdonald Laboratory).

The first half of the semester we each presented the background and significance of our research. The second half we each presented a piece of data, which introduced us to different techniques and how to interpret data.

Middle School Visit
The 8th grade class of Kim Taylor visited on November 13, 2008 for an introduction to a research laboratory. The visit included two chemistry demonstrations (elephant’s toothpaste and molecular clock) and a tour of the laboratory by two graduate students Alison Dewald and Celine Griot, interactive molecular graphics by undergraduate Thien Nguyen and Prof. columbus, and liquid nitrogen ice cream by Iza Bielnicka and Prof. Columbus.

YWLP Math and Science Day
On January 26th, 2008, the Chemistry and Mathamatics Department joined the University of Virginia’s Young Woman Leadership Program ( YWLP) to put on a day of fun activities in the laboratory and class room at the University of Virginia. YWLP is a mentoring program that empowers middle school girls to be leaders by combining the benefits of one-on-one mentoring with group activities.
Graduate students: Alison Dewald, Celine Griot, and Trisha Vickrey helped the girls and their “big sisters” perform experiments. The experiments included flame tests, ink chromatography, and the generation of CO2 to inflate a balloon.