Eastern Arizona College’s 28th annual Student Chemistry Adventure welcomes high school students from rural Arizona

EAC Photo: The “Unbroken Bonds” team from Globe High School, front to back, Gabrielle Agus, Doris Pike, Aleianna Long, Romi Domine, participate in the event.

By Phil McBride/EAC

THATCHER — Eastern Arizona College’s Chemistry Department welcomed 96 high school students and their teachers to the 28th annual Student Chemistry Adventure. Twenty-three unique teams from high schools in Arizona enjoyed a wonderful day of chemistry.

Teams competed against each other while rotating through four separate chemistry activities. There was a laboratory competition that involved determining the density of two objects, using acid/base indicators to determine the pH of an unknown solution, and preparing dilutions of nickel(II) chloride to determine the concentration of an unknown. Joel Shelton, EAC associate professor of chemistry, led the speed competition which required students to conduct several short activities in 55 minutes. A precipitation reaction led by Duane DeSpain, also an EAC associate professor of chemistry, had teams working to identify a limiting reagent to quantitatively determine the stoichiometric ratio of a two reactant system. The knowledge competition led by Dr. Phil McBride, EAC dean of instruction, required teams to work together to answer chemistry-related questions.

After a lunch hosted by EAC’s Gila Hank Cafe, the students and teachers moved outside where Aaron Burk, EAC biology professor, introduced the students to Sheila, EAC’s live Gila Monster mascot. Ethan McBride, Thatcher High School biology and chemistry teacher, stressed the importance of safety with a lively, fun song, “Oh Where Oh Where Can My Goggles Be.” The audience was then treated to an array of colorful, loud, bright, and exciting chemical demonstrations presented by EAC’s organic chemistry class. Those in attendance witnessed foam shooting up to the sky, colorful flames, and a Nerf ball shot out of a cannon.

Dr. McBride recognized all the participants and expressed thanks to the high school chemistry teachers for their efforts in providing quality instruction to their students. The “Al-You-Minium” team from Thatcher High School, composed of Jaden Farley, Michael Greer, Samantha Palmer, and Matthew Terry, received first place medals and a team plaque. Second place medals and a team plaque went to the “Unbroken Bonds” team from Globe High School, composed of Gabrielle Agus, Romi Domine, Aleianna Long, and Doris Pike. Third place medals and a team plaque went to “Avo cados are for Moles” from Mogollon High School, composed of Josh Anderson, Mia Barbetta, Landon Blackburn, and Logan Payne.

Dr. McBride, DeSpain, and Shelton expressed a special thanks to high school teachers Becky Bell (Duncan), Levi Spencer and Debbie Crandell (Mogollon), Ariana Aguilera and Marilou Cortez (Morenci), Carol Hawkins (Pima), Ethan McBride (Thatcher), and Ty White (Willcox) for their teaching expertise and dedication to their students. These teachers are truly making a difference in their schools.

For further information about educational and career opportunities in chemistry or other STEM fields, or for information about exciting science camps being offered this summer for students entering grades 6-12, including a four-day, three-night extended camp at Tonto Creek, contact Dr. McBride at Eastern Arizona College at 928-428-8404.