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Prof. Susan Olesik '77 Honored for Work with Disadvantaged Students

February 5, 2008

Susan V Olesik 2008.jpgFebruary 5, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - "I deeply believe scientists need to become more involved," says Susan V. (Johanningsmeier) Olesik, professor of chemistry at Ohio State University and 1977 graduate of DePauw University. Dr. Olesik is the 2008 recipient of the American Chemical Society's Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. In 1999, the chemist founded the Wonders of Our World (WOW) science education program.

"The program, for which Olesik is receiving this award, is now wowing thousands of young students with science," notes Chemical & Engineering News. "Olesik designed WOW to help support elementary schools that are struggling to provide an adequate learning experience in the sciences because of a lack of resources, teacher training, or simply the inability to get started. Although any school is eligible to participate in WOW, the program targets schools that have low test scores and passing rates in proficiency tests. These schools generally are located in inner cities and in rural areas with disadvantaged youth."

The article by Steve Ritter continues, "The three-year WOW program sequence supplements the existing science curriculum in elementary schools by providing training workshops for teachers on how to conduct hands-on experiments in the physical and biological sciences. Some of the topics covered are chemistry, electricity, geology, insects, simple machines, sound, weather, and plants. Chemistry experiments include chromatographically separating the coloring in grape soda, making ice cream, and determining the pH of foods and household chemicals."

"Educators can't shoulder the problem of science education on their own," says Olesik. "There are a susan olesik.jpglot of scientists out there, and it is in our best interests to be helping."

Read the complete story at the publication's Web site.

Susan Olesik has been a faculty member at Ohio State University since 1986. In 1987, she received the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Research Award; in 1990 she received the Eli Lilly Research Award; in 1998 she received a commendation from NASA for work on Cassini-Huygen's Probe; she was the 2000 recipient of the AWISCO Woman in Science Award; and was the Columbus Technical Council Technical Person of the Year (2005).

Learn more about the professor in this previous article.

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