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Chemistry Lecturer’s Science Demonstrations Ignite STEM Interest

Chemistry Lecturer’s Science Demonstrations Ignite STEM Interest

What's the best way to carve a pumpkin? If you ask chemistry lecturer Kate Biberdorf, she might tell you to let the pumpkin carve itself, just as she does in recent media coverage of her Fun with Chemistry outreach program.

Biberdorf's exciting chemistry demonstrations—and her personal drive to show that anyone with the interest and skills can be a scientist—were the focus of coverage by NBC News, CNN's Great Big Story, The Daily Texan and Amy Poehler's Smart Girls.

"I do my best to try to reach students that might be intimidated by science," says Biberdorf on NBC News.

Other on-campus groups that collaborate with Fun with Chemistry can be found in a lot of the footage. In the CNN piece, Biberdorf can be seen presenting to children, teachers and undergraduate volunteers at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory in the Department of Human Development & Family Sciences. In NBC's and other segments, student volunteers accompanying Dr. B include members of Women in Natural Sciences (WINS), who have been working with Fun with Chemistry on outreach projects for the last year.

In a series of videos done for Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, an organization that celebrates young women who "change the world by being" their authentic selves, Biberdorf harnesses the power of a chemical explosion to set off a "self-carving pumpkin," and she makes another pumpkin vomit green foam –all in an effort to make STEM interesting and accessible to budding scientists.

As a self-described "girl who likes to play with fire," Biberdorf is helping to ignite an interest in STEM and breaking down stereotypes of who can and can't be a scientist along the way. 

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

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