Both faculty members and students in the Department of Chemistry are active in bringing an understanding and an enthusiasm for chemistry to the adjoining communities. Listed below are some of the projects in which they participate.

"Bonding with Chemistry": A Day Camp for Girls

An annual day camp held each summer for girls in 5th through 8th grade to promote interest in science.  Activities and experiments include using science to make art and toys, investigating the earth and environment, exploring the chemistry of food and decorating t-shirts. Supported by ACS and Illinois Chemistry.


Encouraging Tomorrow's Chemists: Middle School Science Demonstrations

Encouraging Tomorrow's Chemists is a graduate student organization in the Department of Chemistry that organizes chemistry demonstrations four times a year at Urbana Middle School. Graduate student volunteers plan, prepare and execute demonstrations with the students that explore the nature of matter and the special chemistry of chemiluminescence and polymers.


SEBA (St. Elmo Brady Academy)

The St. Elmo Brady Academy (SEBA) program provides project-based learning activities in science, technology, engineering, and math for local elementary and middle school students. SEBA addresses racial inequities in STEM fields by encouraging STEM interest and identity for students from underrepresented backgrounds. SEBA also broadens participation through early exposure to STEM, builds STEM literacy, and fosters family and community support systems to encourage STEM learning. SEBA is named after St. Elmo Brady, who was the first Black person to earn a PhD in chemistry and did so at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1916.


Holiday Magic Chemistry Demonstration Show

Typically held in December, this show is produced by chemistry teaching faculty and students. It is a family-friendly free event that demonstrates chemistry principles in a fun and approachable way.

Due to ongoing renovation work in Noyes Laboratory where this production is held, the Holiday Magic Show, unfortunately, will not take place in December 2023. Hopefully it can return in 2024! 


Illinois Science Olympiad

The Department of Chemistry has participated in hosting the Illinois Science Olympiad in many past years. Graduate student volunteers design and judge events at the regional and state middle and high school competitions. Approximately 1500 students from 50 schools participate in these one-day competitions.


Project SEARCH (Science Education and Research for Children)

Groups of 2 to 3 University of Illinois students enrolled in CHEM 199S develop lesson plans and decide with the elementary school teachers what subjects to teach. They visit Urbana or Champaign classrooms 2 hours a week for a semester. This class targets K-5 classrooms.

R.E.A.C.T. (Reaching and Educating America's Chemists of Tomorrow)

The REACT Program is a civic engagement program offered by the School of Chemical Sciences and the Department of Chemistry that began in Fall 2002. It has grown into one of the largest outreach programs at the University of Illinois. Through the dedication and innovation of undergraduate staff, hundreds of volunteers visit elementary schools in East Central Illinois with a mission to promote hands-on learning in chemistry. REACT also works with groups like the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, the Girl Scouts, and Champaign home-schooling groups.