Collaborative Opportunities Grant Recipients

The Collaborative Opportunities Grants are designed to smaller activities that collaborators can use to provide momentum to true partnerships. Below are descriptions of the winning projects. Click on the project links for more details on how the activities were conducted and to learn about outcomes, materials produced, and tips for success.

Museum projects

Exploring Matter (2015)

Winner: Modesto Junior College (CA)
Partners: California State University Stanislaus, El Concilio, and James C. Enochs High School

Partners will develop an interactive chemistry exhibit for the Great Valley Museum, focusing on the properties of matter with an emphasis on the elements. The exhibit is intended to stimulate interest in STEM fields in an underserved community.

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Research with industry, government, four-year institutions

Independent Student Research: Flavor of Whiskey (2015)

Winner: Lorain County Community College (OH)
Partners: Cleveland State University, Envantage, Inc., Lorain Water Purification Plant, Akron Local Section, Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET), and Lorain City Schools

Building on an existing collaboration between Lorain County Community College and the start-up, Cleveland Whiskey, students will analyze bourbon samples to evaluate new whiskey production methods. Partners will develop and validate new analytical techniques, explore their applications to other industries, and provide new research opportunities for high school and two-year college students.

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Initiating Collaborative Effort in Research (2016)

Winner: Florida SouthWestern State College - Edison Campus (FL)
Partner: Florida Gulf Coast University

A series of small research projects will form the basis for a broader research program that relies on the collaboration of faculty from two- and four-year institutions. Initial projects will explore organic vapor detection for the purpose of rapid explosives identification.

Native American Medicinal Plants: Encouraging STEM Educational Partnerships Through Indigenous Knowledge (2017)

Winner: Bay Mills Community College
Partners: Lake Superior State University

Partners will evaluate the properties of the wintergreen plant, which have been used by northern Michigan Chippewa and Ojibwa peoples for its anti-fever and analgesic properties. This project will pool resources between the Bay Mills Community College (a tribal college) and Lake Superior State University, with the broader goal of encouraging Native American students to pursue STEM careers.

South Puget Sound Collaborative Undergraduate Research Experience (2016)

Winner: South Puget Sound Community College (WA)
Partner: Department of Ecology State of Washington, Dragon Analytical Laboratory, Inc., and Saint Martin's University

This pilot program will pair two-year college students with mentors from a variety of sectors to conduct original research. The research will be part of for-credit courses that also cover the use of the scientific method, ethics, research methods, proposal writing, and presentation techniques.

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Research with middle and high schools

Collaborating and Connecting Through Water Analysis (2015)

Winner: Harper College (IL)
Partner: Hampshire High School

Education majors from Harper College will mentor small groups of high school sophomores as they analyze local water samples. Students will travel to the college campus to test water using both test kits and ICP, then present their findings. 

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Evaluation of Evaporation and Distillation in the Creation of Training Samples for Arson Canines (2016)

Winner: Craven Community College (NC)
Partner: New Bern Fire and Rescue and West Craven High School

High school and two-year college students will develop a standardized method for preparing gasoline samples. These samples will be used by the local fire department to train dogs to detect flammables and potential explosives.

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Insect Chemical Ecology: Middle School & Community College Partnership (2017)

Winner: Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago
Partners: Stone Academy/Chicago Public Schools, Burley Elementary School, Decatur Elementary School

Middle school students and their teachers at Chicago Public Schools will partner with undergraduates and faculty at Truman College to research the pheromone of the beneficial insect, the Spined Soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris). This project builds on previous work with the Science Coaches while investigating the use of the insect so assist in crop pest control.


Chemistry Seminar Series (2015)

Winner: Washtenaw Community College (MI)
Partner: University of Michigan

Partners are developing a 1-credit seminar course that explores educational and career tracks in chemistry and related fields. Students from both institutions will meet with faculty and alumni to discuss fields of research, educational requirements for various career paths, and workplace environments. Students will also complete a capstone project.

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GReen Energy At Texas (GREAT): Increasing Student Retention in the Physical Sciences (2016)

Winner: Austin Community College (TX)
Partner: University of Texas at Austin

First-year students at Austin Community College will be invited to a seminar series in which University of Texas (UT) faculty discuss their green energy research. Participating students will have the opportunity to participate in an 8-week summer research program under the guidance of a UT faculty member.

Outreach events

Creating Kid Chemists: Teaching Chemistry Content thru ROCKS! (2017)

Winner: Kent State University at Ashtabula
Partners: The Lubrizol Corporation, St. Gabriel School and St. John School, Perry High School, Lake Metroparks Environmental Science Center, Northeastern Ohio Local Section

College professors will develop lessons and activities aligned with the 2017 National Chemistry Week theme, “Chemistry Rocks!”. The lessons will be taught to “Kid Chemists” at the partnering schools. The Kid Chemists will, in turn, present the activities at the Northeastern Ohio Local Section’s National Chemistry Week outreach event. 

Chemistry Challenge/Family Chemistry Day Event (2015)

Winner: Kent State University at Ashtabula (OH)
Partner: Northeastern University and St. Gabriel School

Partners will support participation of approximately 1,500 middle school students in the local, state, and national levels of the You Be The Chemist Challenge by providing study materials and prizes. Outreach activities will be held throughout the year, culminating in a Family Chemistry Day, featuring hands-on activities and campus tours.

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Chemistry Education and Career Day (2015)

Winner: Miami University Middletown (OH)
Partners: Miami University Oxford Campus, Quaker Chemical Corporation, and Edgewood High School

Students from four high schools will be brought together with industry chemists, university chemistry faculty, and college alumni to explore local careers in the chemical sciences. The day will feature hands-on chemistry experiments that tie into the focus of local industries, presentations by local employers and two- and four-year program representatives, and lunch with the speakers.

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Chemistry for Scouts (2016)

Winner: Montgomery College, Rockville Campus (MD)
Partner: Boy Scouts of America’s National Capital Area Council, Chemical Society of Washington, and Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital Council

This outreach event will give Boy and Girls Scouts the opportunity to earn chemistry-based merit badges as part of the Maryland STEM Festival.

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Chemistry Is Every Where! (2015)

Winner: Texarkana College (TX)
Partner: Le Tourneau University, Airgas®, Sulphur River Basin Authority, North East Texas ACS Local Section, Boy Scouts of America, and Pleasant Grove High School

Partners will collaborate on a series of outreach events at local high schools, elementary schools, and SCOUT-O-RAMA 2016. College students will also meet with Airgas® to discuss science careers, and the Sulfur River Basin Authority will collaborate with students on a water monitoring activity. Texarkana students will travel to Le Tourneau University to use advanced instrumentation for an organic chemistry experiment.

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Performance of "Magical Science!!" Science Magic Show for Every Student in Every Classroom in Every School of the Entire Elyria City School District (2017)

Winner: Lorain County Community College
Partners: Elyria City School District, Get with the Program, Inc., Hiram College, Early College High School, ACS Akron Local Section

Partners will bring the show, "Magical Science!!", to all of the 6,400 students in the Elyria City School District in the 2017-2018 academic year. Through assemblies and special science days, the show will be offered 35 in an effort to inspire students and improve understanding of STEM topics.

Planting Seeds of Science (2015)

Winner: Mineral Area College (MO)
Partners: Bismarck R5 School District

College faculty will combine traditional lecture, visual aids, and a kinesthetic tie-dying project to introduce over 300 second-graders to basic atomic theory, atomic bonding, and physical vs. chemical changes. The project will assess the impact of these activities on student learning and engagement in science.

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STEM Expo (2015)

Winner: San Jacinto College-Central (TX)
Partner: Afterschool Centers on Education

San Jacinto College will host a STEM Expo event on the central campus for approximately 1,000 2nd-6th students and adults from Afterschool Centers of Education (ACE) and the Pasadena school district. While the majority of activities will be chemistry-focused, the robotics club, math department, and biology department will also provide several demonstrations.

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Zooming in on the Nano-World: Nanotechnology in our Lives (2017)

Winner: Columbia Basin College
Partners: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

A group of 8-12 chemistry students from Columbia Basin College (CBC) will develop educational and hands-on demonstration materials that will be used to help educate themselves and others about nanotechnology. Activities will include demonstrations local science festival, outreach to middle and high school and middle schools, extraction and analysis of commercially available nanoparticles, and discussions of career opportunities.