Chemistry club inspires kids at ChemFest with space-themed science


Photos provided by: Naomi Coutinho

On Oct. 27, Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Chemistry Club attended the annual National Chemistry Week ChemFest at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

Every fall, to celebrate National Chemistry Week, the Carnegie Science Center brings together volunteers to create a fun, chemistry-themed event for young children, and every fall, the Franciscan University Chemistry Club is proud to attend.

Junior Naomi Coutinho, the Chemistry Club’s event coordinator, planned this year’s trip to Carnegie and was pleased by the members’ participation and the club’s contribution to the ChemFest.

“Carnegie does this every fall … Volunteers from all over come, and we just put on little experiments or demos for kids,” Coutinho said.

The event’s theme was “Chemistry is out of this world,” a motif the Chemistry Club was quick to embrace. “Every year there’s a different theme, so this year was outer space-themed,” Coutinho said. “We try to stick to the theme.”

In keeping with this galactic motif, the Chemistry Club made “moon sand” for the kids to play with out of flour and baby oil. Coutinho also described the club’s other craft, saying, “We did this thing where they could make their own galaxy and take it home.” Using shaving cream, food coloring and cardstock, the students helped kids design and create their own galaxy pictures, and Coutinho said, “It was really cool, actually. A lot of them turn out really cool-looking.”

Speaking about the experience, Coutinho stressed how fun of an event it was, saying, “A lot of us just enjoy being with the kids. It’s just a lot of fun to get off campus, you know, hang out with each other, and just be a kid yourself.”

Junior Natasha Nosenchuck, who also attended the event as a member of the Chemistry Club, concurred. “You are able to talk about your passion of chemistry while encouraging kids to pursue their love of science,” she said. “It’s very gratifying to see their amazement and their desire to eventually be the person performing your experiments.”

Coutinho wanted Franciscan University students to know that the ChemFest is “a lot of fun, and it’s open to anyone, honestly, so look out for it next fall.”