Soper completes BASF program

Published 8:34 pm Monday, August 10, 2015

Nathan Soper of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy joined students from across the U.S., Canada and Central America for a preview of college and the business of chemistry during the fifth annual BASF Science Academy.

The two-week summer science program, developed by BASF Corporation, is held at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J.

Nathan Soper, of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, represents Virginia at the BASF Science Academy. (Submitted Photo)

Nathan Soper, of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, represents Virginia at the BASF Science Academy. (Submitted Photo)

“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,” Patrick Hochstrasser, site director for BASF in Suffolk, stated in a press release.

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“This is especially important to BASF, since we are celebrating our 150th anniversary this year. It’s simply not possible to exist for 150 years and become the world’s leading chemical company without developing a strong pool of talented innovators.”

“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 FDU. “I am excited to be a part of the experiences and progress the students make during the intensive two week program.”

The Science Academy targets rising seniors who have demonstrated a record of academic excellence with at least one year of high school chemistry and a strong interest in pursuing a degree in science.

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

Working in teams, the students use BASF chemistry to formulate their own personal-care products for which they develop marketing plans and present to a panel of BASF executives and FDU academic leaders.

Students graduate from the program with two transferable college science credits to encourage their pursuit of science education. In addition, FDU offers graduates $5,000 scholarships if they choose to attend FDU in the fall of 2016.

As an on-campus residential program, the Science Academy gives students added life experience that will help to prepare them for their future in higher education. Students use the university’s classrooms, chemistry labs, dorms and receive college-level instruction throughout the two weeks.

BASF covers the full cost of the program, including student tuition and travel while working with the FDU staff to develop the challenging Science Academy curriculum.

“I hope to play an impactful role in the future of our world,” said Soper. “Because of the growing population, everyone should feel obligated to help in any way possible. Innovation and creativity will be crucial to solve the environmental challenges to come.”

Four former Science Academy participants, who are pursuing their studies of science at their given colleges, are currently working as summer interns at various BASF locations across the country. Two additional Science Academy alumni have been accepted into the BASF Professional Development Program as interns. Each is pursuing a career in chemical engineering.