Supriya Jindal
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Eddy Perez | Photographer | Office of Communications & University Relations  

LSU Camp Shows that "Science is pHun!"


Supriya Jindal, Dow Scientist Work with Students at LSU Continuing Education Summer Camps

"Scientists!"

That refrain was constant among the children in attendance as Supriya Jindal, wife of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and representatives from Dow Chemical Company spoke to LSU Continuing Education Summer Camp students on the wonders that science brings to their everyday lives.

"Almost everything we do involves science," the state’s first lady explained. "It’s right there, every day."

Jindal received enthusiastic answers from more than 100 first through sixth graders in attendance, asking them about some of the common household products they use every day, such as soap, nail polish, detergent and toothpaste. The children were students in LSU’s Camp Challenge and Youth Academy summer academic enrichment programs, which are held at the University Laboratory School on the LSU campus.

The visit, named "Science is pHun," also featured Dow representative Matthew Mechana, an environmental health and safety delivery technician, who performed experiments for the students, even showing them how to make ice cream with Liquid Nitrogen. Dow, in partnership with the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children, shared this unique interactive program, emphasizing the importance of building a strong educational foundation in science and math.

"The chemical industry in Louisiana employs more than 26,000 people and generates more than $5.5 billion," said Jindal, a former chemical engineer. "There are a lot of great opportunities for you, but you have to work hard in school. I want you to remember three things – that math and science are fun, to take some time to read something every day, especially during the summer, and to remember to tell all the special people in your life, like your parents and teachers, ‘thank you’."

Mechana wowed the students with experiments such as combining Silver Nitrate and Hydrogen Peroxide, which causes the resulting mixture to glow.

"Science impacts everything you do in life," said Mechana. "When you turn on a light switch, when you play video games, all of those things involve science in action."

"Visits such as this support Dow’s dedication to building strong educational foundations and underscores Dow’s drive to continually seek the best in everything we do," said Stacy Chiasson, Dow’s public affairs leader for Louisiana. "This is what we have seen from the Jindal family as well."

Jindal, the mother of three young children, has a degree in chemical engineering from Tulane University and formerly worked for Monsanto Chemical in Luling, La., and Albermarle Corp., in Baton Rouge. Her foundation is dedicated to the advancement of Louisiana’s children in all aspects of education, with special emphasis on mathematics and sciences.

"It's exciting to see children's faces light up during the experiments," the First Lady said. "And it's exciting to see that happen when they talk about science. As I travel the state to stress the importance of a quality math and science education it's truly inspiring to watch our state's teachers at work and witness their passion for teaching - a passion that's alive and well here at LSU."

Camp Challenge courses are designed to provide a rich learning environment for academically talented grade students from kindergarten to the sixth grade. The courses introduce curriculum concepts and then explore specific topics at a level not commonly achieved in the regular classroom environment. Youth Academy allows students entering first through sixth grades the chance to review subjects they may have had difficulty with during the previous year, or preview courses they may take in the fall. These classes promote skill development and build confidence for future academic success. These and other youth programs are sponsored through LSU Continuing Education’s community outreach efforts. For more information, visit www.outreach.lsu.edu. For more information on the Supriya Jindal Foundation, visit http://jindalfoundation.org.

Billy Gomila | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
July 2009