Over the past year, volunteers have been working to reestablish AIChE’s K-12 Committee. The committee will support all current outreach being conducted by AIChE members, student chapters, local sections, and committees, as well as build bridges to other communities to inspire further outreach efforts.
The first major initiative of the committee was the inaugural K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Outreach Competition, which was held during the 2019 Annual Meeting. Local grade school students had the opportunity to interact with tabletop demonstrations created by AIChE members, focusing on topics ranging from fluorescent polymers to water remediation to power generation. Volunteer judges reviewed the modules for originality, technical content, safety, and accessibility for classroom use.
The event built the foundation for new activities and resources that will help AIChE members, as well as K–12 educators, parents, and guardians, to explain concepts in chemical engineering and other STEM fields to young students. These resources will include a new STEM Outreach Database, which upon its launch will house the winning demonstration modules from the outreach competition.