Student attends BASF academy

Published 5:56 pm Saturday, August 17, 2013

Participants in the 2013 BASF Science Academy perform an experiment during the two-week summer science program at Fairleigh Dickinson University College at Florham in Madison, N.J.

Participants in the 2013 BASF Science Academy perform an experiment during the two-week summer science program at Fairleigh Dickinson University College at Florham in Madison, N.J.

Nicoles Williams of Suffolk attended the BASF Science Academy, a two-week summer science program sponsored by BASF Corporation at the Fairleigh Dickinson University College at Florham campus in Madison, N.J.

Each year, the program accepts 20 rising high school seniors for an advanced science program that provides a preview of college life and an opportunity to learn advanced chemistry.

“The Science Academy aspires to develop the technology based workforce of the future by exposing students to practical business applications and potential careers in chemistry,” said Patrick Hochstrasser, site director for BASF in Suffolk.

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“The partnership between business and academia is a successful model for helping students to understand the practical applications of what they are learning,” said Amber Charlebois, associate professor of chemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “I was excited to be a part of the experiences and progress the students made during the intensive, two-week program.”

The Science Academy targets students who will be high school seniors in the fall, who completed at least one year of high school chemistry and who have a demonstrated record of academic excellence and a strong interest in the sciences.

Following the curriculum theme “From Molecules to Marketplace,” students learned advanced-level science from FDU professors and interacted with BASF scientists and business leaders through lectures, hands-on lab experiments and field trips.

In addition to basic scientific method, the students studied polymerization, the chirality and analysis of chemical components, the properties of fragrances and colors, environmental science, product development, product marketing and project management.

Working in teams, the students used BASF chemistry to formulate their own personal-care products, for which they developed business and marketing plans that they then presented to a panel of BASF executives.

Students graduated from the program with two transferable college science credits to encourage their continuing pursuit of science education. In addition, FDU has offered graduates $5,000 scholarships if they choose to attend FDU in the fall of 2014.

As an on-campus residential program, the Science Academy gives students a preview of college living. They used the university’s classrooms, labs, dining hall and dorms and received college-level instruction.

BASF covered the full cost of the program, including student tuition and travel, and worked with the FDU staff to develop the Science Academy course curriculum.

“The SA was a chance to experience something a little bit more diverse, meet new people get their perspective on things and expand the knowledge I have,” said Suffolk’s Williams.

Former graduates from the program — which started in 2011 — have gone on to pursue their science studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Cornell University, Rice University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Lamar University and University of Alabama, among others.