Science Saturday program expands

Science Saturday program expands

Georgia Pacific (GP) chemist Dexter Johnson hosted his second Saturday science program of the year on Nov. 21 at Miller Grove High School. Three students participating in the program–Candon Kilcrease, Coi Kilcrease and Zoie Robinson–orchestrated a winter drive to collect coats, jackets, hats, gloves and scarves.

The chemist first started the program after participating in his son’s career day at E.L. Bouie Elementary School. He’s worked for Georgia-Pacific’s paper chemicals division for 18 years and thought it would be interesting to conduct a paper-making demonstration. 

Youngsters use a dropper to alter the color of fruit juice.
Youngsters use a dropper to alter the color of fruit juice.

Johnson’s career-day demonstration was such a huge hit, teachers asked him to come back to present to the entire school over the course of three days.

Johnson contacted the GP Foundation, an organization designed to support community-based programs, volunteer service projects, disaster relief and other initiatives.

 

Volunteer portion cups of baking soda for students to use in an experiment.
Volunteer portion cups of baking soda for students to use in an experiment.

The Foundation evaluates proposals and determines an amount to donate per program.

Johnson and his colleague volunteers decided to dedicate one Saturday a month and were awarded $5,000 to buy supplies, as well as provide lunch for the kids.

Since the program’s inception the GP Foundation has increased the funding for Science Saturday to $7,500 and participation has grown from 65 students to approximately 90 students from various schools throughout the district.

Dozens of students and volunteers took part in the Science Saturday Program. This is the second year for the Georgia Pacific sponsored activities.
Dozens of students and volunteers took part in the Science Saturday Program. This is the second year for the Georgia Pacific sponsored activities.

 

Johnson said, “We’re just trying to expose students to as many science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related careers as possible this year.”

Johnson said this year’s weekly programs will also feature aerospace engineers to teach students about rockets and a computer science engineer to talk with the students about apps and video games. 

“We want them to know that there is a whole world of things that they can do if they have a strong background in any of the STEM related subjects,” Johnson said. 

During the Saturday Science event on Nov. 21 youngsters learned about the science of foods. 

Johnson invited a food scientist to instruct students to create ice cream, flavored drinks and conduct experiments on taste and enzymes in food. 

GP volunteer and chemical technician Racine Hearns has worked with Johnson since the beginning of the program. 

She said, “This has a really big impact. I didn’t have a lot of science influence when I was growing up. To have something like this is so powerful because we’re letting these young girls and boys know that the world is their oyster.”

“I hope they go back to school on Monday and tell other students,” she added.

Saturday Science has garnered support from Emory and Georgia Tech students.

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3 thoughts on “Science Saturday program expands

  • December 16, 2015 at 12:08 pm
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    My daughters participate in this program and they love it. I’m very grateful for this exposure to science for them.

    Reply
  • December 16, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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    My son has participated since Mr. Johnson introduced the program at E.L. Bouie. He has given up play dates and fall canivore for science saturday. He has shown great interest and thoroughly enjoys the program.
    Thanks Mr. Johnson, GP and the volunteers for making happen.
    Annie.

    Reply

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