Coast Southwest Sponsors You Be The Chemist!® in California
Chemical Education Foundation Program Sparks Students' Interest in Chemistry
Placentia, CA (February, 2011) Coast Southwest, Inc. is a leader of California’s participation in the Chemical Education Foundation’s You Be The Chemist!® (YBTC) program. YBTC brings together students, their teachers, and the chemical industry to improve science education and to raise the awareness of the science of chemistry.
“You Be The Chemist!® engages kindergarten through eighth grade students by helping them see how chemistry relates to their everyday lives,” says Jillian W. Cimo, Coast Southwest vice president and California YBTC co-organizer. “This program makes chemistry fun for kids and gives companies in the chemical industry a grassroots opportunity to encourage more of our bright young people to pursue chemistry as a course of study and maybe even a career.”
An important feature of You Be The Chemist!® is the YBTC Challenge, an academic competition for fifth through eighth grade students which focuses on important chemistry concepts, discoveries, and chemical safety.
Coast Southwest is a Diamond Level sponsor of the 2011 California State YBTC Challenge which will be held at the Discovery Science Center (DSC) in Santa Ana on May 10.
The YBTC Challenge, which follows a question and answer format similar to a spelling bee, is organized on local, state, and national levels. State champions from across the country will compete for the national title in the 2011 National YBTC Challenge in Philadelphia on June 10.
“Young people today show an amazing aptitude for technology, yet fewer and fewer of them are seeking math and science degrees,” says Kevin D. Sathre, Coast Southwest vice president of sales. “Programs like You Be The Chemist!® that get young people fired up about science can help turn this trend around. Coast Southwest is eager to lend our support.”
The Chemical Education Foundation® (CEF), which founded YBTC in 2003, provides a framework which includes comprehensive education materials, marketing tools, and a national web site that makes it easy for sponsoring companies and participating schools to get started.
“One of the many great things about You Be The Chemist!® is that there is the latitude to apply the program in a way that fits with an individual school’s goals, commitment, and resources. A school can begin with one grade and then build upon that success over time,” Ms. Cimo says. “It’s also up to the sponsoring companies how much they do or don’t get directly involved. Coast Southwest has chosen to sponsor a school program at St. Edward Parish School in Dana Point, CA as well as the 2011 California State YBTC Challenge.”
This is the school’s first year in YBTC. “We have incorporated You Be The Chemist!® into our eighth grade winter curriculum,” says Fran Pijor, science instructor and YBTC school coordinator at St. Edward. “The best way for students to learn about chemistry is in the lab, so the YBTC hands-on approach fits perfectly.”
St. Edward has a new science laboratory, but stocking it is an expensive endeavor. “Ms. Pijor has selected about eight experiments from the YBTC Activity Guide,” says Ms. Cimo. “As part of Coast Southwest’s sponsorship, we will provide the equipment and materials to make those experiments possible.” And since Ms. Pijor needs an aide during the laboratory experiments, Ms. Cimo, who is a chemist herself with a degree in Genetics from University of California, Berkeley, has volunteered.
“Coast Southwest is committed to making California’s state competition a success and to helping our winners become major competitors in the National YBTC Challenge,” Ms. Cimo says.
Already the California State You Be The Chemist!® Challenge is receiving enthusiastic support and participation from other companies and organizations.
“Cox Television and their Time Warner affiliate have agreed to televise our state competition. The Discovery Science Center, Orange County’s largest nonprofit educational resource, will host the event,” says Ms. Cimo.
YBTC falls right in line with the Discovery Science Center’s mission to educate students and increase the public’s interest in science, math, and technology through interactive exhibits and programs.
“This program is also a natural for members of the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD),” says Mr. Sathre. “NACD member companies are committed to community outreach. YBTC is a great way for chemical distribution companies to fulfill this requirement.”
It is easy for NACD members to participate. “They can sponsor a school, donate prizes for the State Challenge, or contribute financially. Levels of sponsorship range from $500 to $5,000 contributions,” says Ms. Cimo.
“It is in our long-term best interest to encourage young people to enjoy chemistry,” says Mr. Sathre. “Our industry and our country need more chemists. The pool of potential workforce for this industry is not encouraging. Chemical companies see this every time they need to hire someone. Kids form opinions early. When students like a subject, they will stay with it.”
An estimated eight of ten jobs in the next decade will require math and science skills. “This program generates excitement,” says Ms. Cimo. “We’ve already see this in participating California schools. You Be The Chemist!® can ensure our students are ready, willing, and able to meet the challenges of the future.”
About Coast Southwest, Inc.
Coast Southwest, Inc. is a leading full-service, regional chemical distribution company headquartered in Placentia, CA. From five strategic locations, Coast Southwest serves manufacturers and formulators of personal care and household products throughout the western United States with high-quality functional ingredients, on-time deliveries, and exceptional customer service. www.coastsouthwest.com
About Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF)
The Chemical Educational Foundation is a nationally recognized, award winning non-profit organization that is committed to enhancing science education among every generation, beginning with youth, by emphasizing the central role of chemistry in the sciences and in everyday lives. By nurturing the general public’s interest in the sciences, CEF is driven to inspire future leaders in science-related careers and improve the overall understanding of, participation in, and appreciation of chemistry and chemicals. CEF was created by the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) in 1989. www.chemed.org