ORU Biology and Chemistry department receives $5,500 grant from Tulsa Rotary Club

By Natasha Mitchell ('94)

The Tulsa Rotary Club has awarded $5,500 to the Oral Roberts University Biology and Chemistry department to fund the Schoolhouse Science project. The purpose of the Schoolhouse Science project is to present various scientific concepts to Tulsa-area students in a memorable, engaging way.

According to the ORU Office of Sponsored Programs, the grant will be used to purchase new equipment for all demonstrations done at local schools. In addition to basic chemical supplies, the Biology and Chemistry department will also be acquiring some equipment for light spectrum demonstrations. These will expand the range of the project and will not need to be replaced regularly, reducing long-term costs.

"These outreach efforts of the chemistry faculty and their students demonstrate our department's commitment for sharing our scientific experiences with the local community," said Hal Reed, professor of Biology and chair of the Biology and Chemistry Department. "These activities have a double benefit of enhancing an understanding and appreciation of science among elementary students as well as providing invaluable experiences for our science students in sharing their knowledge and expertise."

Although the name "Schoolhouse Science" is fairly recent, it grew from a longstanding service learning initiative within the Chemistry department. For many years, Lois Ablin, associate professor of Chemistry, has accompanied groups of students to various local schools, often low-income, each semester to perform hands-on science demonstrations. The service learning component is actually a course requirement for the students.

Kenneth Weed, professor of Chemistry, has also participated in the demonstrations. Meanwhile, Gary Ritzhaupt, assistant professor of Chemistry, has also brought his students to East Central High School in Tulsa and other areas for similar demonstrations.

For more information on the ORU Biology and Chemistry department, go to http://www.oru.edu/current_students/my_academics/schools/college_of_science_engineering/biology/.