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"Chemical bond" between high school teacher and Chemistry professor

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December 19, 2016

Grosse Pointe North (GPN) High School Chemistry teacher, Mr. Steve Kosmas, and his students are developing compounds to pull harmful substances out of water thanks to the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Science Coach program and Dr. Mark Benvenuto.

Dr. Mark Benvenuto at Tech DayThe ACS program matches a chemist with a high school chemistry teacher in order to share their expertise, enthusiasm and time to enhance science education.

Pairing chemistry faculty with high school teachers provides opportunities for high school students well beyond their curriculum by relating concepts to real-world applications while being supportive of a science teacher.

“We are currently working on collaboration between GPN students and Dr. Benvenuto's team,” says Kosmas.  “My students wanted a research experience and I did not feel like I had the background to mentor the students through the process.”

“I knew that I did not have the really cool equipment that University of Detroit Mercy has, so I called Professor Benvenuto and asked him to mentor my research team.  By going through the ACS Coaches program, my students find this work very relevant and rewarding,” says Kosmas.

The program provides Kosmas with professional development that would typically be outside the normal K – 12 setting.

“It is difficult to enumerate all of the ideas that develop out of a collaboration with Dr. Benvenuto,” says Kosmas.  “If I have an idea about Material Science, I can run it by him and he can mentor me through the process.  His understanding and wealth of research experience is invaluable.”

The students are ultimately the beneficiaries of this partnership.

“Making a compound and then checking it by looking at NMR spectroscopy are outside the scope of a high school experience.”

“This engaging experience inspires our GPN students to consider a career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field,” says Kosmas.

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