Dutchtown students attend Science Academy

Dutchtown High School students Hira Hasan and Michelle West attended the BASF Science Academy, a two-week summer science program sponsored by BASF Corp. at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham campus in Madison, N.J.

Each year, the program accepts 20 soon-to-be high school seniors for an advanced science program that provides a preview of college life and an opportunity to learn advanced chemistry.

“The Science Academy aspires to develop the technology -based workforce of the future by exposing students to practical business applications and potential careers in chemistry,” said Tom Yura, senior vice president of BASF in Geismar.

“The partnership between business and academia is a successful model for helping students to understand the practical applications of what they are learning,” said Amber Charlebois, associate professor of chemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “I was excited to be a part of the experiences and progress the students made during the intensive two-week program.”

The Science Academy targets students who will be high school seniors in the fall; who completed at least one year of high school chemistry; and have a demonstrated record of academic excellence and a strong interest in the sciences.

Following the curriculum theme “From Molecules to Marketplace,” students learn advanced-level science from Fairleigh Dickinson professors and interact with BASF scientists and business leaders through lectures, hands-on lab experiments and field trips.

Working in teams, the students used BASF chemistry to formulate their own personal care products for which they developed business and marketing plans that they presented to a panel of BASF executives.

Students graduated from the program with two transferable college science credits to encourage their continuing pursuit of science education. In addition, FDU offered graduates $5,000 scholarships if they choose to attend FDU in the fall of 2014.

As an on-campus residential program, the Science Academy gives students a preview of college living. They used the university’s classrooms, labs, dining hall, dorms and received college-level instruction. BASF covered the full cost of the program including student tuition and travel and worked with the FDU staff to develop the Science Academy course curriculum.

Michelle West said the Science Academy helped her decide where she wants to focus her future studies.

“Getting to spend some hands on time with chemistry helped me realize how much I love it, and I definitely want to do something dealing with that in the future,” West said. “I’ve always been focused on chemical engineering and I feel more firm in that now.”