Science Ambassadors Program and “Reign in Chemistry and Science Day”

In collaboration with Prof. Emily Hardy and Prof.Trandon Bender, two colleagues from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at ODU, the Dr. Lambert established and co-chairs the Department’s Outreach Committee. One of the first programs developed was our “Monarch Science Ambassadors Program”, which aims to train our current graduate and undergraduate researchers to disseminate research conducted by the Department’s research groups to students of varying grade levels (elementary through high school) along with the general public. We piloted the first iteration of this program during the summer of 2021 and mentored students from five different research groups at ODU in several areas of chemistry (organic, inorganic, computational, analytical and environmental chemistry). For the students to successfully complete the program and obtain their “Monarch Science Ambassador” certificate, they were required to: 1) Develop a
demonstration of their research for our first annual “Reign in Chemistry and Science Day” held Saturday, October 18th, 2021, and 2) Reach out to a local elementary, middle or high school in the Hampton Roads area and present their demonstration to a science class or at a local science fair. The program we developed included, 12 graduate student-run demonstrations, “The Chemistry of Tie Dye” a table run by the ODU undergraduate ACS chapter where children could learn about the different dyes used in tie-dying, tours of the new chemistry building and research labs given by ODU graduate students, four separate public planetarium shows, “Chemistry in the Wild” a table run by the educational specialists from First Landing State Park detailing how water chemistry impacts what wildlife is found in the swamps, and large chemistry demonstrations (ignition of hydrogen balloons, elephant toothpaste, and liquid nitrogen).125 members of the community joined us at the first iteration of our event; 70 of which were elementary through middle school-aged children.  We had attendees from nearly all major municipalities in the Hampton Roads area (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, and Portsmouth) and all age groups from 1st grade to 12th grade. We have continued to grow this annual event and in the second year and third year, the number of local student participants has risen to 400 and 525, respectively and has been made possible with the efforts of 40 for our second year and 75 graduate students and volunteers for our third.  Our goal is to be able to showcase and disseminate the findings of the research being conducted at ODU in a manner accessible to many members of the general public all while training graduate and undergraduate researchers on how to present their findings! 

2021 Reign in Science Press Release

2022 Press Release Video and photos