Centenary Student Selected as Semifinalist for American Chemical Society Competition, Invited to Author Textbook Chapters

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Centenary student Tierra Range '15 was selected as one of 10 semifinalists in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) ChemChamps contest this summer.

Tierra Range

It was less about a competition and more about scientists coming together to learn how to better communicate with others.

Centenary student Tierra Range ‘15 was selected as one of 10 semifinalists in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) ChemChamps contest this summer.

“While I was in Singapore this summer (for the American Chemical Society International Research Experience for Undergraduates program) I was surfing the web looking at internship opportunities and found the contest,” said Range.

The contest required scientists to explain their research to the general public in a fun, two- to three-minute video. Ten semifinalists were selected from contestants ranging from undergraduate students to pre-tenured professors and flown to San Francisco for science communications training in stage performance and visuals presentation. The semifinalists were then judged on their presentations, and five advanced to the finals on August 10. Range’s video can be found here.

“The semifinalists met with science communicating specialists who help scientists better explain research to the general public,” said Range. “We spent about 12 hours with them doing presentations and learning from them. It was very fun and helpful and made it less about a competition and more about scientists coming together to learn how to better communicate with others.”

These specialists are members of an emerging field of communicators that are helping groups explain science on basic terms. The winner of the competition, a graduate student at Cornell University, will be added to a database of scientists who are called on by television shows such as Big Bang Theory and Breaking Bad to offer their expertise to script writers.

Although Range did not make it past the semifinal round, the youngest competitor came away from the educational experience with an incredible offer.

“One of the people I met listened to my semifinal speech and complimented my science communication,” said Range. “He asked if I would ever consider editing and authoring chapters of a textbook. I said that sounds awesome, so for the newest editions of Chemistry and Context I’ll be editing chapters, and from then on I’ll also author some.”

Range will graduate December 2015 and is looking forward to applying to medical school. For now, she hopes to someday be a plastic surgeon so that she can change patients’ lives through reconstructive surgery.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals, and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. The Centenary College Chemistry Club was one of 24 clubs in the nation awarded an outstanding commendation by the ACS.

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Kate Pedrotty
Centenary College Of Louisiana
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