Public Engagement and Outreach


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.


Middle School Science Demonstrations by ETC

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. 


Holiday Magic Chemistry Demonstration Show

Our popular Holiday Magic chemistry demonstration show takes place every December. Produced by chemistry teaching faculty and students, this family-friendly, free event demonstrates chemistry principles in a fun and approachable way.


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.