Faculty Participated in Science Day at Local School

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Six Westminster College faculty, all parents of students in the Wilmington Area School District, participated in Science Day Jan. 14 at New Wilmington Elementary School.

The theme of the day was "Ion Jones" and involved 10 stations set up by Carnegie Science Museum.  Three hundred students in kindergarten through fourth grade experienced science face-to-face.

Participating faculty included: Dr. Douglas Armstead, assistant professor of physics; Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, professor of education and faculty development officer; Dr. Natacha Fontes-Merz, associate professor of mathematics; Dr. Marosh Furimsky, assistant professor of biology; Dr. SoYoung Kang, assistant professor of education;  and Jill Postema, adjunct in education.

Armstead, Furimsky, and Postema shared complimentary presentations in biology, physics, and chemistry.  Experiments using items that ranged from black lights to dry ice to a trebuchet (a type of catapult that uses the energy of a raised counterweight to throw the projectile) prompted a variety of positive comments from the students: "Man, I don't even like science but this is the best day of my life," "Can we have Science Day again?," "I can't wait to learn more about the periodic table," and "I never knew that a fish could have gills and lungs at the same time."

Endrizzi, Fontes-Merz, and Kang were among the parents who helped man the stations.

"The current movement to federalize American education places too much emphasis on basic 19th-century competencies and rote memorization," said George Endrizzi, Wilmington Area Schools' elementary principal and Westminster master's graduate.  "Neglected are the skills and competencies students will need, in the sciences as well as for creative thinking, to positively advance our society, create a peaceful culture, and make positive economic advancements in the world."

The concept for the event was proposed by Alex Julio, Parent-Teacher Organization president, last fall.  Principal Endrizzi was excited about the prospects of the idea and encouraged by the commitment of several families, especially those who are Westminster faculty: "Alex and a host of parent volunteers created a science experience for the students that exceeded my expectations."

Contact Dr. Endrizzi at (724) 946-7189 or e-mail endrizck@westminster.edu for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

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Dr. Douglas Armstead explaining a trebuchet to fourth-grade students


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Dr. Marosh Furimsky shwoing a lungfish to kindergarten students