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Students from the WINS program visit CHF. Photo by Conrad Erb.

CHF’s mission is to foster an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society, and central to that mission is education. To build the next generation of science-literate citizens, we’ve started with one of the most science-phobic groups in this country: high school students. CHF’s museum education program specifically targets these students; in the past school year and through the summer, we have welcomed more than 500 students for group tours. In addition to the tours, these students participate in activities that encourage deeper exploration of the galleries with their peers.

Last week we were thrilled to welcome a group of students from the Academy of Natural Science’s Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) program. Established in 1982, the WINS program introduces high school girls in Philadelphia to future careers in science and other professions by providing hands-on science workshops, career and college exploration, and positive youth development. The program begins in 8th grade and continues through high school, taking advantage of the myriad of excellent science institutions throughout Philadelphia and beyond. On the day they visited us, WINS students also had the opportunity to visit our neighbors at the American Philosophical Society, whose current exhibition, Of Elephants and Roses: Encounters with French Natural History 1790–1830, explores natural history in post-revolutionary France.

Studies have shown that the number of American students pursuing higher education and careers in the sciences has dropped steadily in recent years, leaving the United States faced with the prospect of losing its competitive edge in global scientific innovation and research if this doesn’t change. Institutions like CHF, the Academy of Natural Sciences, APS, Philadelphia’s College of Physicians (profiled in the summer issue of Chemical Heritage) and many others play a critical role in changing this trend by immersing students in the richness of science and its history.

Gigi Naglak is Outreach Coordinator for CHF’s Eddleman Institute.

Related:
Current Research by Future Scientists [Periodic Tabloid]
Karabots Kids [Chemical Heritage]

Posted In: Education

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