Energy for Aliens: Hendrix & NASA Sponsor Local Outreach

Hendrix College and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came together to sponsor a fun-filled outreach program, titled “Energy for Aliens,” at the Conway Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday, July 10.

Fourteen Hendrix students participating in summer research projects this summer helped Hendrix professors Dr. Liz Gron, Dr. Robert Dunn, and visiting assistant professor Dr. Amrita Puri teach the chemistry and physics of electricity and energy storage to over 100 children between the ages of five and 13.

“Science outreach is about education collaboration. Our students come to the project motivated by their passion for science and desire to help our Conway community,” said Dr. Gron. “While the work is fun, explaining science simply but clearly and correctly is a challenge. When the day’s project is over, both our science students and the Club kids have a clearer, sharper understanding of basic science. It’s fun and it’s a win-win for science education. What could be better?”

The program began with a demonstration of static electricity generators. Then the kids participated in hands-on activities with hand-held generators and ring magnets. The children also got to construct fruit-powered LED lights and diodes, to learn about energy storage.

Hendrix student participants and their majors included:

Michael Malick ’14 – physics
Anvesh Kompelli ’14 – biochemistry and molecular biology (BCMB)
Charlie Petersion ’14 – physics
Brandi Gist ’13 – chemistry
Robert Nshimiyimana ’15 -BCMB
Stephanie Davenport ’13 – chemistry
Beth Childress ’13 – chemistry
McKenzie Keller ’13 – Chemistry
Aline Umuhire-Juru ’15 – BCMB
Katie Coughran ’14 – physics
Britton Jones ’13 – physics
Jake Leffert ’14 – chemistry
Etienne Nzabarushimana ’13 – chemistry
Saranya Prathibha ’14 – BCMB

The Hendrix students are working with professors in chemistry, biology and physics this summer on projects that will help them gain laboratory experience in their chosen fields.

By Rachel Thomas’14

Rachel Thomas ’14 is an English studies major from Fayetteville, Ark.