Greetings from ChemClub at Korea International School in Jeju, South Korea! Our ChemClub was created more than a year ago, but this is the first time sharing our news.
X-Beauty: Green Chemistry was the focus of an event on November 19, 2014. Our Club invited a certified cosmetician to speak to the group about “Jeju Green Tea: Healing & Beauty Ingredients.” After learning about Jeju green tea as an ingredient, students made their own green tea hand cream with eco-friendly ingredients.
Why green tea?
Components of green tea include polyphenols, which are well-known antioxidants. Most of these polyphenols are classified as catechins. They are thought to help retard skin’s aging and protect skin from sun exposure. Green tea has been used as an ingredient in anti-aging products as well as sunscreen skin products.
One of the main focuses of the Villa Park High School (VPHS) ChemClub is to bring in guest speakers from California Universities to keep faculty and students current on ongoing chemical research. These interactions between these professors and the high school students are extremely valuable, as they humanize and personalize the next level of education our students are heading toward! We are so grateful for them taking the time to both lecture at our lunch meetings and spend time afterward with the students one-on-one!
On September 13th, Professor John Haan, Professor of Chemistry and Research Scientist at California State University, Fullerton, visited the VPHS campus to give a lecture on his research “Chemical Research on Direct Formate Alkaline Fuel Cells” which is supported by grants and nationally published in research journals. Dr. Haan and the students had much discussion about the green chemistry of the Fuel Cell and its application to actual hand-held devices. He had quite a crowd around him after the presentation!
The November speaker was Dr. Phil Janowicz, also from California State University, Fullerton, who has created not only a complete teaching program in Organic Chemistry with immediate responses to the student on bond angles and more, but most recently an eye-tracking system that allows him to study the student’s eye movements as they use the program so he can better understand how they are thinking and what they are looking at when they succeed or not. After the talk, Dr. Janowicz’s regaled students with stories of his undergraduate days back east at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) much to the delight of the current Club President and Vice President (who both applied to MIT and have already had their interviews)!
The VPHS ChemClub was founded last year and had a formal induction ceremony last spring to bring in the new Board members and award a scholarship to the founding President. The scholarship will be an annual event for the VPHS ChemClub President due to their work and commitment to the club in arranging speakers, and to Chemistry as a discipline, as all Board members plan post-secondary education and careers in this field. For example, this year’s President, H. Zhou, and Vice President, B. Gee, both scored 5’s on their AP Exam’s last spring, and are pursuing careers in science.
Helping to establish the vital connection between high school Chemistry students and the University was recently facilitated through a lecture delivered by Dr. Madeline Rasche, a Professor at California State University at Fullerton to students at Villa Park High School. Dr. Rasche lectured the VPHS ChemClub on “Methane-Producing Microorganisms: Environmental Heroes or Agents of Metabolic Disease?”
“Methane production by microorganisms has a powerful impact on the environment because methane (CH4) is both an energy source and a greenhouse gas. Many of the microbial enzymes involved in methane production require a specialized coenzyme called tetrahydromethanopterin (H4MPT). Our laboratory uses a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, genomics, and biophysical approaches to identify and characterize genes and enzymes required for the biosynthesis of H4MPT. By understanding how one of these enzymes works, it has been possible to develop inhibitors of methane production that may help to decrease the production of methane as a greenhouse gas from biological sources such as microorganisms in the rumen (first stomach) of domestic cattle”.
The ChemClub at Villa Park invites guest lecturers to provide the high school members a glimpse of what lays ahead of them in college chemistry classes and research.
The powerpoint presentation took place on Feb 21st and was followed by a question and answer period of great interest to the students.