NUS and Dow partner to groom next generation of science educators

07 March 2014 | Education
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Leading global chemical company makes a generous gift of US$50,000 to support initiative to train undergraduates and promote science among secondary school students

The National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Science and Dow Chemical Pacific (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Dow Singapore), a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, are collaborating to groom passionate and engaging science educators in Singapore. This initiative is made possible through a generous gift of US$50,000 from Dow Singapore to the Science Demonstration Laboratory at the NUS Faculty of Science. This is the Laboratory's first collaboration with an industry partner, and also Dow Singapore's first education-related outreach to the public.

The gift has been used to support a series of science workshops at the Faculty to train undergraduates in science communication and public engagement in science and for the promotion of science. These workshops, which are facilitated by 30 undergraduates from the Faculty, will also provide some 300 secondary school students, including beneficiaries from the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) and MENDAKI, with the opportunity to learn about science in an engaging manner.

Professor Andrew Wee, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Science said, “We are deeply appreciative of the generous gift from Dow to promote science communication and education at NUS. This new series of Surprising Supermarket Science workshops will serve as realistic platforms for our science undergraduates to practice, develop and hone important skills in science communication. We are also especially heartened that, through the workshops, our undergraduates are able to engage and enthuse younger students from secondary schools and community self-help groups in their learning of science.”

“As a company that thrives on innovation and science-based solutions, Dow has an integral role to play in advancing the interest in, and access to, science. These inaugural workshops that we are launching with NUS are Dow Singapore's first step in promoting education in science, with hopes of empowering the undergraduates and enhancing the learning of young students. By leveraging on our company's expertise, we want to increase awareness of the different aspects of science, enriching their experience,” said Ms Suiniaty Basirun, Country Manager of Dow Singapore.

Surprising Supermarket Science is a series of 10 workshops developed by the staff from the Science Demonstration Laboratory, together with scientists and engineers from Dow. The workshops comprise interactive experiments for participants to learn about the role of science in the production of daily products that are often taken for granted. Interesting hands-on experiments include learning how to formulate hair gel, creating long-lasting bubbles and understanding the chemistry behind the absorbency of diapers. The first workshop was conducted in January 2014 and the Laboratory is currently running the sixth workshop in the series.