For over 35 years, the STEM College has been helping chemistry teachers from the tri-county area and parts of western Pennsylvania continue their education with Chemistry Professional Day. On December 17th, 2013, twenty-three area chemistry teachers enjoyed a day of learning, exploring, and 3D Printing.
The event, which is normally held at the end of the year, helps to build new teaching skills or it presents new topics, such as green chemistry and fracking. This year, the day focused on additive manufacturing; in addition, the participants took a tour of America Makes, previously known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute located in downtown Youngstown, to experience 3D printing first hand.
Dr. Michael Serra, Dr. Larry Curtin, Dr. Joe Simeonsson, Dr. Allen Hunter, and Dr. Ruigang Wang from the YSU Department of Chemistry formed the committee that organized the event. Dr. Serra, the chair for this year’s PRDA committee, has organized three of these events in the past, but says that he would not have been able to do so this year’s Professional Day without the help of Jenifer Miller and Emilie Eberth in making contacts and organizing venues.
The event was hosted by the Department of Chemistry, and the Penn-Ohio Border Section of the American Chemical Society helped to sponsor the event. There were three different speakers this year: Dr. Darrell Wallace, Dr. Brett Conner, and Julie Michael Smith. Dr. Darrell Wallace, the Deputy Director of the Workforce and Educational Outreach for America Makes talked about the impacts of additive manufacturing on the STEM disciplines and education. Dr. Brett Conner, a new faculty member for the STEM College, gave a brief introduction to 3D printing. While Julie Michael Smith, Executive Vice President of Applied Systems and Technology Transfer (AST2), explained how to bring additive manufacturing into the classroom.
In addition to these talks, the teachers got to network and after an exciting day, walked away with 3D printed key chains of a caffeine molecule, a certificate of completion, and a new outlook on what they can bring to their classrooms.