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Saint Mary’s magic show aims to promote STEM fields

| Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Saint Mary’s Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SMAACS) will host a Halloween Magic Show on Wednesday to demonstrate to local children the fun of science.

Senior SMAACS president Megan Doherty said this year’s show will function as an open house.

“Local kids can come and go as they please,” she said. “They can circulate through the room doing five different hands-on science stations. … Every 20 minutes, one of our student scientists will perform a larger demonstration at the front of the room. Kids can take a break from their stations, watch the demonstration and then resume whatever they were doing.”

Demonstrations include a timed color changing reaction, a fluorescing liquid, color-changing dry ice cylinders and liquid nitrogen, Doherty said. The hands-on stations include invisible ink, fingerprint dusting, “ghoulish goo,” “ghost bubbles,” milk fireworks and “potion” reactions, she said.

“It is so important to SMAACS that the kids are involved,” Doherty said. “They spend so much time watching and listening in school that this should be a fun opportunity for them to do science. That’s why the hands-on stations are valuable. We want to see the kids doing experiments with their own hands and being personally involved.”

Doherty said she is excited to see club members work for a cause outside of the campus community.

“Community outreach and education is one of SMAACS’ primary foci, and the magic show certainly is one major way in which we can accomplish this,” she said.

Junior SMAACS historian Courtney Weston said the magic show is a great opportunity for children to become excited about science.

“The Halloween aspect of the science can show that science is not just what you learn in a lecture, but that you can do really cool and amazing stuff with it. And the Halloween theme really excited them,” she said. “It is important to encourage kids when they’re young so more students go into the STEM fields.”

Doherty said she hopes these personal experiences will encourage the children to pursue science fields in the future.

“Even though they are watching the demonstrations, it’s better than watching a YouTube video because they can interact with our scientists, voice their observations and ask questions on the spot,” she said. “That’s what science is all about.”

The magic show is combined with the Halloween holiday to give children a fun environment, Doherty said.

“Kids are familiar with holidays, but they are not necessarily familiar with science,” she said. “Our hope is that by linking science to a familiar theme, the kids will feel more invited and comfortable to try new things.”

Doherty said she hopes this event will spike an interest in science for the children involved.

“I hope that they see something new and amazing and that they feel proud of themselves for doing science on their own,” she said. “These kids all have great futures, and hopefully some of them find theirs in science.”

Weston said she is excited for the show because it gives her the opportunity to share science with others.

“I hope the kids have a great time and take away that science can be awesome,” Weston said. “I hope they can become as excited as I get about science.”

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole