St. Adalbert Catholic School
Learning about Life in a Lab
ND Energy was pleased to welcome the eighth grade class from St. Adalbert Catholic School to campus in January to experience a chemistry lab and learn a bit about life as a scientist. This is part of an on-going relationship between Assistant Professor Emily Tsui and the junior high students of the South Bend elementary school. Researchers in the Tsui lab demonstrated various techniques and equipment and answered a wide range of questions about what it is like to be a chemist.
After time in the lab, students toured the Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) and saw some of the advanced instruments found at a research university. Research and Facilities Program Director Ian Lightcap and Research Professor Allen Oliver translated the complexities of materials characterization into simpler verbiage.
In addition to the exposure to science that younger students gain while on campus for ND Energy coordinated events, there are always great questions about college in general. The best question from this group, as they walked across God Quad, was “Who owns this place?”
Thanks to those who participated in the lab demonstrations in the Tsui lab: postdoc Greg Kortman, graduate students Moises Ballesteros and Keith Schival, and undergraduates Robby Gipson, Madison Mettey, and Kimberly Riordan.
Emily Tsui Partners with St. Adalbert's to Promote STEM Education
Emily Tsui, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, spent a recent afternoon teaching seventh and eighth graders at St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend about phase change and temperature. Graduate students Moises Ballesteros and Keith Schival, along with postdoctoral researcher Gregory Kortman, led a hands-on experience involving salt and ice while demonstrating the basics of scientific method and safety. Students improved their familiarity with metrics measurements, heat transfer, and phase change while interacting with real scientists.
Pouring liquid nitrogen into cream, sugar, and vanilla to create ice cream and a cloud of vapor was the highlight of the experience. “I can’t wait for my mom to ask me what I did in school today,” one student exclaimed. While enjoying the treat, the Notre Dame contingent talked about life as chemists and graduate school.
Professor Tsui has been working with St. Adalbert’s middle school math and science teacher, Kevin Hite, since last spring. Brought together by ND Energy, the two groups hope to learn from each other through an on-going partnership and visits to each other’s campuses.
St. Adalbert Catholic School aims to provide a quality education, religious experience, and service opportunities to aid the total development of each student. Located on South Bend's west side, the school has served the city's immigrant Catholic population since 1910.