Greglynn Gibbs is a research technologist at Penn State Berks, a campus of Pennsylvania State University. She shares her love of chemistry by showing students in underserved communities the fun in science. Her outreach is stimulated by the belief that showing students that chemistry is exciting and a part of their daily lives inspires them to stay in school, do well in courses, and to adopt a positive attitude about lifelong learning. Helping students to see the fun in a challenging subject like chemistry can also prepare students to handle challenges later in their lives.
Gibbs became an ACS Science Coach after recognizing the lack of educational support in underserved communities. To inspire students academically, she volunteers at a local high school to show students that science is enjoyable. The positive engagement makes science enjoyable and applicable to their lives, and helps students to persevere to stay in school, excel in their studies, and pursue an education beyond high school. “Catching students early on and letting them know the complicated aspects of science are really a fun challenge makes them more willing to confront those challenges in the future,” says Gibbs.
Serving as an ACS Science Coach at Muhlenberg High School in Reading, Pennsylvania, Gibbs reaches a range of students through entertaining science activities. She organizes and facilitates an annual science day that the students look forward to all year long. A popular activity teaches students about liquid nitrogen while using the chemical to make ice cream. Celebrating science for the whole day, Gibbs presents at every science class in the school. She uses the opportunity to engage students in discussions, quiz them about science facts, and spark interest in science through fun lessons.
Advice to those considering becoming Chemistry Ambassadors:
Helping youth learn about science is an experience that builds on itself, and is easy for anyone to do. “It is important that we take the opportunity to share our knowledge and love of science, especially with students in economically disadvantaged areas,” says Gibbs. “Being a Science Coach also provides satisfaction in knowing students have been engaged and inspired to learn more about science.”
Interviewed August 2014.
ACS Science Coaches
ACS Science Coaches are chemistry professionals who share their expertise and enthusiasm for science with an elementary, middle, or high school teacher over the course of one school year.