Merseyside youngsters with a talent for Chemistry have been recognised by LJMU, receiving the title ‘Chemist of the Year.’
The University awarded the accolades to 13 and 14 year olds as part of Chemistry for All, a national, £1 million Royal Society of Chemistry funded project which aims to increase school pupil participation in Chemistry and raise awareness of the wide range of careers related to the subject. LJMU is one of only four universities in the country involved in the project.
Six Merseyside schools have been chosen by LJMU to take part in Chemistry for All including All Saints Catholic High School in Kirkby, Bebington High Sports College, Broadgreen International School, Cowley International College in St Helens, West Derby School and Woodchurch High School, Birkenhead.
At the end of the academic year, one pupil from each of the school year groups taking part in the project were named ‘Chemist of the Year’, receiving certificates and vouchers at a special celebratory event held at LJMU.
Throughout their time on the Chemistry for All project, pupils have taken part in a range of activities including ‘Chemistry in Your Shopping Basket’, which involved them conducting experiments to determine the pH state of acids and alkalis in everyday products, and the 'Chemistry of Large Molecules' lesson featured a range of experiments and demonstrations including an investigation into ‘slime’ and an introduction to thermosoftening polymer, polymorph.
Teacher of Science at Woodchurch High School, Dany O’Connor, commented: "This is an absolutely outstanding project. The children have been really engaged throughout and everything is perfectly organised from start to finish. The children are now really excited about chemistry and can’t wait for next year. Hopefully we’ve got some chemists who will be hooked for life. It has been a real eye-opener for them and offered them opportunities wouldn’t have otherwise been available.”
Dr Ian Bradshaw, Project Leader of Chemistry for All at LJMU, said: “Our aim with the project is to break down barriers which might prevent pupils from considering careers related to Chemistry and Science, and to make them appreciate that Higher Education is achievable, show them the paths to get there, and help them feel familiar with working in and with a university. We are only in year two of the five-year project but early indications are that the pupils are enjoying their experience, learning new skills and becoming more open to attending Higher Education and pursuing careers in science.”
Chemistry for All at LJMU is a cross-Faculty project, with staff from the School of Pharmacy and Bimolecular Sciences, the School of Teacher Education and Professional Learning and the Student Recruitment and Admissions team all responsible for its successful delivery.
Pictured are Year 8 Woodchurch High and Cowley International College ‘Chemists of the Year’, Matthew Davies and Jasmina Rai.