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Volume 91 Issue 12 | pp. 48-49
Issue Date: March 25, 2013

Chemistry-Themed Poster Competition

Through its annual poster contest, the ACS Southern Nevada Section inspires high school students to explore the power of chemistry
Department: ACS News | Collection: IYC 2011
Keywords: posters, ACS, contest, local sections, public outreach
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FIRST PLACE
Christy Adaya, grade 12, Shadow Ridge High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Christy Adaya
This is art by Christy Adaya, Grade 12, Shadow Ridge High School, Las Vegas.
 
FIRST PLACE
Christy Adaya, grade 12, Shadow Ridge High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Christy Adaya
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SECOND PLACE
Ashley Armenta, grade 9, Southeast Career Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
Credit: Ashley Armenta
This is art by Ashley Armenta, Grade 9, Southeast Career & Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
 
SECOND PLACE
Ashley Armenta, grade 9, Southeast Career Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
Credit: Ashley Armenta
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THIRD PLACE
Rileigh Sorensen, grade 12, Foothill High School, Henderson, Nev.
Credit: Rileigh Sorensen
This is art by Rileigh Sorensen, Grade 12, Foothill High School, Henderson, Nev.
 
THIRD PLACE
Rileigh Sorensen, grade 12, Foothill High School, Henderson, Nev.
Credit: Rileigh Sorensen
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RUNNER-UP
Deborah Diaz, grade 9, Southeast Career Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
Credit: Deborah Diaz
This is art by Deborah Diaz, Grade 9, Southeast Career & Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
 
RUNNER-UP
Deborah Diaz, grade 9, Southeast Career Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
Credit: Deborah Diaz
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HONORABLE MENTION
Lenore Nelson-Gonzalez, grade 9, Northwest Career & Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
Credit: Lenore Nelson-Gonzalez
This is art by Lenore Nelson-Gonzalez, grade 9, Northwest Career & Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
 
HONORABLE MENTION
Lenore Nelson-Gonzalez, grade 9, Northwest Career & Technical Academy, Las Vegas.
Credit: Lenore Nelson-Gonzalez
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HONORABLE MENTION
Vanessa Nolan, grade 11, Durango High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Vanessa Nolan
This is art by Vanessa Nolan, grade 11, Durango High School, Las Vegas.
 
HONORABLE MENTION
Vanessa Nolan, grade 11, Durango High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Vanessa Nolan
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RUNNER-UP
Elley Peart, grade 9, Desert Oasis High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Elley Peart
This is chemistry art by Elley Peart, Grade 9, Desert Oasis High School, Las Vegas.
 
RUNNER-UP
Elley Peart, grade 9, Desert Oasis High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Elley Peart
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RUNNER-UP
Yoseph Hobe, grade 10, Rancho High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Yoseph Hobe
This is art by Yoseph Hobe, Grade 10, Rancho High School, Las Vegas.
 
RUNNER-UP
Yoseph Hobe, grade 10, Rancho High School, Las Vegas.
Credit: Yoseph Hobe

If you’re a fan of the idea of promoting science through art, you may be intrigued by a burgeoning program set up by the American Chemical Society’s Southern Nevada Section.

When brainstorming imaginative ways to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry in 2011, the section decided to sponsor a chemistry-themed poster contest for area high school students. Not only was the competition successful from the get-go, but it has now morphed into an annual event that continues to influence the local community.

Currently gearing up for its third year, the contest has inspired talented young artists to produce posters that vividly illustrate concepts such as basic chemical principles and chemistry’s broad application in fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals and alternative energy. Most important, it has served as an effective outreach tool, drawing interest from students who might not otherwise ponder the power and benefits of chemistry, observes Roger Rennels, the section’s public relations chair, who came up with the contest idea.

As the section set out to launch the contest in 2011, it drew heavily on the resources of the local public school district. The Clark County School District’s School-Community Partnership Program and its assistant director, Judy Myers, provided critical guidance and help implementing the project. For example, Myers encouraged the section to limit the contest to high school students to control costs, and she provided information about successful contests held in the district in the past, which helped the section structure its poster contest and define its rules.

More specifically, Myers advised the section to offer cash prizes, for students as well as for the teachers who sponsor the winning posters, as a way to maximize the number of contest entrants, Rennels says. More than 200 students participated in 2012.

The first-place student winners received $500, and second- and third-place finishers got $250 and $100, respectively. In addition, each sponsoring teacher won half of the amount that his or her student received. In addition, in 2012, the top eight student runners-up each received a $25 gift card, which were donated by VWR International, a laboratory supply and distribution company.

Rennels, along with fellow Southern Nevada Section executive committee members Onofrio (Dick) Gaglione and Kazumasa (Kaz) Lindley, served as judges for the contest.

To further enhance its outreach power during the most recent awards ceremony, the section invited undergraduate and graduate students to present research posters that they had entered in another contest the section sponsors, Rennels says. Through this effort, he explains, “we wanted to share the high school students’ posters with the greater chemical community in southern Nevada, and we wanted the high school students to see how the college students’ posters are used to convey scientific knowledge.”

Rennels believes that the high school poster contest has been effective in sparking curiosity about chemistry among students. Recently, an art teacher told him that many of her students who were participating in the contest frequently would go across the hall to talk with the chemistry teacher about chemistry. “And that,” Rennels says, “is something many of these students would never have done if not for this contest.”

 
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