Paine College Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Popular Free Chemistry Summer Camp

Posted by painewebmaster | 05/19/2016 05:41 AM

This year, Paine College marks the 10th anniversary of its summer chemistry camp, which covers the basic concepts of Chemistry through instruction and demonstration. For the past nine years, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Physics & Environmental Sciences, Dr. Sardar Yousufzai, has dedicated his summer to helping students in the CSRA be better prepared and excel in middle and secondary chemistry classes. During this period, the number of participants grew from a meager two to over 120 students in 2015. 

Approximately 12 years ago, one of Dr. Yousufzai’s friends asked him to visit the Richmond County public school system to render an assessment of classroom conditions and observe classes in session.  One of the fifth-grade science teachers asked him to talk to the students about his career as a professor of chemistry at Paine College. 

When he asked students about their future career goals, he was amazed that most of the students wanted to pursue careers in professional football, music, television, film but none of them chose professions in teaching, education and absolutely none of them referenced chemistry, engineering and technology.

From that day, he took an interest in teaching and engaging those students who primarily came from minority and socio-disadvantaged groups. Dr.  Yousufzai began would become a series of free summer chemistry classes at Paine College.  He began by teaching the basic concepts of science and chemistry to elementary students.

Eventually, he was introduced to middle school students where he demonstrated color changes through chemical reactions followed by a half-paged survey addressed to each student. “I would like to share my experiences in teaching Chemistry to minority students.” Said, Dr. Yousufzai,” In offering my Summer Chemistry course, one of my goals is to help students build confidence by making Chemistry more approachable. My teaching method has had a positive effect not only on their grades but also has demystified the subject.”

Dr. Yousefzai teaches the free classes in the same facilities where he has taught Biochemistry and General Chemistry for over 15 years. In class, he explains the concept of the periodic table, properties of matter, formulas, equations, and conversions.   He encourages students to eat nutritious foods as he explains compounds in foods.  

Throughout this nine-year period, Dr. Yousefzai has come to know numerous teachers, principals, parents, and students. Teachers, upon meeting Dr. Yousefzai, usually comment how students were no longer afraid of chemistry and some even embraced their classes.

Parents are invited to audit the classes and participate in a closing seminar where students are given awards and recognition for their individual research, projects, and performance.

Dr. Yousufzai is now accepting students for the 2016 course.  The course will take place on the Paine College campus in Haygood-Holsey Hall, room 220. There are separate sessions for Middle school and High school students. Middle School students will meet on Monday & Wednesday from 10 am - 11 am and High School will meet on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10 am - 11 am. Space is limited. To enroll a student, please click here: http://bit.ly/PaineChemistry