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ACS News

Mole Storytelling Jam debuts at chemical education conference

by Linda Wang
October 14, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 41

More than 120 people attended the inaugural Mole Storytelling Jam at the 25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE), held July 29–Aug. 2 at the University of Notre Dame. The conference, sponsored by the ACS Division of Chemical Education, is held every two years and provides chemistry educators with opportunities for interacting with colleagues at all levels in formal and informal settings.

Maria Gallardo-Williams of North Carolina State University and Holly Walter Kerby of Fusion Science Theater created the storytelling jam session to help chemical educators use storytelling tools to share their knowledge and build community.

“We wanted chemical educators to have an opportunity to share what they learned in their classrooms with others in the community,” Kerby says. “Telling stories seemed like an ideal way to do that.”

“People will listen to a story and be entertained and learn things at the same time,” Gallardo-Williams says. “These stories were powerful, inspirational, and funny.”

Storytellers included Diane Bunce of Catholic University of America, Kristen Drury of William Floyd High School, ­Gallardo-Williams, Ryan Johnson of Doherty High School, Kerby, Tom Kuntzleman of Spring Arbor University, Zena ­McFadden of North Boone High School, Julia Winter of Alchemie, and Lyniesha Wright of North Carolina State University.

They covered topics such as finding your niche, managing too many lab rules, building a business from a high school classroom, and cheating. Their stories are available as podcasts at The next Mole Storytelling Jam will take place at the 2020 BCCE, and plans are underway to host a storytelling jam at an upcoming ACS national meeting.


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