WC Students Help Kent County High School Students Learn About Green Chemistry

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Gathered around a lab station in a Kent County High School classroom, Washington College senior Alex Riedel and three high school students are busying themselves with an experiment while discussing the future. One of the students says she wants to be a nurse practitioner, and Riedel, a biology major who’s pre-med and taking her MCATs in a month, is telling her about her experience shadowing a nurse who specializes in geriatrics.

“I love her patients!” Riedel says. “But I’m interested in pediatrics too.” While they talk, Riedel helps the students attach small glittery dots to a paper surface until they have completed what is roughly a diamond-shaped pattern. “Are you guys ready to move on?” she says finally, bringing the focus fully back to the reason they’re there—a green chemistry experiment crafted and led by Anne Marteel-Parrish, Professor of Chemistry and Co-Chair of the College’s Department of Chemistry, and six of her students. “OK, next we have to test the different surfaces.”

Anne Marteel-Parrish (right) helps a Kent County High School student set up the experiment.

What they’re testing is how well their creation—a coarse model of a material called Sharklet film—can hold onto a Post-It note as small binder clips are attached to it. The broader technology they are learning about—Sharklet—is a product that mimics on a molecular level the skin of a shark, enabling it to easily repel germs and bacteria from surfaces without the use of chemicals. In this lab, it’s giving Marteel-Parrish and her students a chance to introduce the Kent County students to several concepts related to her fundamental expertise and passion: green chemistry and engineering.

“Green chemistry is all about trying to prevent pollution before it’s formed,” Marteel-Parrish explains to the students during her introduction. While using chemical-based cleaners may purge a surface of germs or bacteria, those chemicals enter humans and the environment, causing all sorts of unintended consequences. Through green chemistry, she says, “We are trying to design everyday products so they don’t harm the environment or people.”

Sharklet technology is an example of biomimicry, Marteel-Parrish explains—when scientists mimic something that occurs in nature. In this case, the inventor realized that the skin of sharks, comprised of denticles in a distinct diamond-shaped pattern, acts as a natural repellent. Sharklet film is now used on all kinds of surfaces, from medical devices to furniture, to repel germs and bacteria. “Nature is a model and mentor to solve human problems,” Marteel-Parrish says.

(L to R) WC senior Simon Belcher oversees Vince Wilson, Matthew Mernaugh, and Jakob Watt in the lab experiment.

Marteel-Parrish, since 2011 the College’s Frank J. Creegan Chair in Green Chemistry, is also the author of Green Chemistry and Engineering: A Pathway to Sustainability (2013, Wiley and Sons). Among many other awards, in 2011 she won the American Chemical Society-Committee on Environmental Improvement (ACS-CEI) Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry.

She’s also a mother of two students in Kent County’s public schools, and while she had devised a variety of special projects for at the elementary school level, she’d never focused on high school students. Last year, she approached the science teachers about introducing their students to green chemistry through a series of four experiments, which she and her undergraduates would present. They gave her an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the idea, and she worked with them to develop four experiments that complemented what their students were already learning.

“I can teach the same concepts they are talking about, but from the perspective of green chemistry,” she says. “We’re trying to incorporate experiments that fit into their curriculum. I’m not here to tell them what to do, I just want to share my passion.”

But it’s clear that the collaboration is doing more than introducing local high school students to green chemistry concepts. It’s a fun, no-pressure opportunity for them to ask the WC students what college is like and what their future might hold, and for Marteel-Parrish’s students to impart some hard-earned advice, and encouragement.

“You guys did awesome!” Riedel says, as she helps her lab students finish up their work. “It was so fun getting to know you!”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Dear Girls Academy Founder Returns to Shore for Black History Month Luncheon

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Girl advocate, best-selling author and Dear Girls Academy founder and CEO Simeaka Melton is returning to her native Queen Anne’s County as the featured speaker for the annual Black History Month luncheon organized by the Chesapeake College Multicultural Advisory Committee in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Honor Society.

The Feb. 3 event celebrates the 200th birthday anniversary of Douglass, the renowned social reformer and abolitionist from Talbot County.

A graduate of Queen Anne’s County High School, Melton started Dear Girls Academy as a mentoring and creative writing program for girls from diverse and at-risk backgrounds that helps young women achieve and demonstrate the courage, wisdom and strength needed to make good choices and dream big.

The organization runs the Dear Girls annual summit, overnight summer camp and bi-weekly leadership program in Northern Virginia. Dear Girls services — including public and charter school curriculums — are used in 19 states.

“We prepare and inspire girls to live life rising above expectations,” Melton said.

Her talk at the Black History Month event will focus on giving back and the concept of the “village community.”

Melton said she grew up with a village mentality in Grasonville and felt connected to everyone around her.

“We all have something to contribute to our communities at any age or stage in life,” she said.  “If children grow up seeing that and believing in it, then they’ll feel connected to a community throughout their lives.”

One of Melton’s favorite quotes about instilling the power of mentorship in youth comes from Frederick Douglass:  “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Harriette Lowery, a Chesapeake College program assistant, Frederick Douglass Honor Society member and Chair of Talbot County’s 200th Douglass anniversary celebration, said the luncheon and Melton’s talk is one of many upcoming activities to mark the achievements of the Eastern Shore’s native son.

“Our theme for the birthday anniversary is ‘Inspire, Celebrate and Educate.’  We want to inspire diverse audiences to serve, celebrate his birthday and educate on his legacy.”

The Black History Month luncheon will be held Saturday, Feb. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chesapeake College’s Caroline Center on the Wye Mills campus. Advance purchase online tickets for the event (including a buffet lunch) are $20 general admission or $10 for students and seniors. Children under 5 are free. Tickets can be purchased. For more information or to purchase tickets by phone, please call Michelle Hall at 410-827-5813.

All proceeds from the event benefit the J.C. Gibson Memorial Book Fund, which helps economically disadvantaged students buy books and supplies.

Gunston Competes in First Tech Challenge

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The Gunston School Robotics Team competed in the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) qualifier at the Bullis School in Montgomery County Sunday, January 14. Against an elite field of competitors, the team finished 14th out the 27 teams present.

The competition was divided into two parts: autonomous (the robot is controlled by a program that senses and reacts to its environment) and driver controlled (students control the robots using gamepads.)

The autonomous program performed flawlessly, batting away their opponent’s jewels. Solving a number of technical glitches, the team worked hard between bouts and eliminated them for the last two bouts. This dogged persistence is a hallmark of the team which, besides daily robotics classes, came into school on 5 weekend and holiday break days to build, program, and practice. “Keep it simple” was their motto as they refined their design and solved unexpected problems over the Fall semester.

Gunston Robotics Team​ Front Row: Michaela Campbell, William Newberg, Jack Morrison, Drew Seaman, Brynne Kneeland, Cedar Foster, Alli Webb. Back Row: Chris Newberg, Garrett Rudolfs.

As a team, they created an engineering notebook that described their strategy, proposed designs, and problems that the team overcame along the way. At the competition the students had to describe and defend their design to a panel of engineers. Real world engineering challenges like FTC teach students to follow the engineering processes that they will use in their future careers.

With the exception of two veterans, the team members were competing for the first time. The team was led by senior Alli Webb. Webb and Brynne Kneeland ‘19 took care of management, finances, spirit, and testing sensors. The build team consisted of Jack Morrison ‘18, Chris Newberg ‘18, and Nick Lee ‘19. During the driver controlled period, Morrison operated the robot’s arm and Drew Seaman ‘19 drove the robot. Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 acted as drive team coach and lead programer. Newberg also wrote code. Seaman and Webb kept the engineering notebook organized and up to date. Cedar Foster ‘20 and Michaela Campbell ‘20 acted as understudies on a second drive team.

The qualifier season is not over and the team is looking forward to their next competition at the Naval Academy on Jan 28.

The Gunston School, a co-ed independent college preparatory school, offers an intellectually rigorous, highly personalized, and nurturing college preparatory educational experience. Valuing a healthy balance between mind and body, a strong sense of community, the creative process, and our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Gunston strives to educate ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society. To learn more about Gunston visit gunston.org, email dhenry@gunston.org, or call 410.758.0620 ext. 6.

Public Invited to Black History Month Event at Chesapeake College

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To celebrate Black History Month and raise money for a scholarship fund, the Chesapeake College Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC) is hosting the 18th annual community luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 3 in the Chesapeake College Caroline College Center at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to members of the public.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the J.C. Gibson Scholarship Fund.  Each semester the committee awards Chesapeake students scholarship money to purchase textbooks.

This year’s theme is celebrating the 200th birthday and honoring the legacy of Frederick Douglass. Chesapeake is collaborating with The Frederick Douglass Honor Society to present the celebration.

The keynote speaker will be Simeaka Melton, a native of Queen Anne’s County and founder of Dear Girls Academy, Inc.

Tickets for the event (including a buffet lunch) are $20 general admission or $10 for students and seniors. Children under age 5 are free.  For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Michelle Hall at 410-827-5813 or visit http://www.chesapeake.edu/black-history-month-2018/about.

WC’s Spring 2018 Concert Series Begins February 2, Offers Four Performances

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Washington College’s Spring 2018 Concert Series begins on February 2 and will include genres from chamber music to spirituals.

Each performance will be in Hotchkiss Recital Hall and begin at 7:30 p.m., except for the free concert on February 2, which will be held at noon. Tickets for all other performances are $20 (adults), $15 (non-WC College students/seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff), and $12 (1782 Member). WC students and youth 18 and under are free.

Trio Simpatico

On February 2, The Concert Series welcomes Trio Simpatico, which performs eclectic chamber music with an orchestral bent. Simpatico’s unusual instrumentation of clarinet, horn, and piano borrows from orchestral timbres. Audiences have remarked, that the trio “sounds like a whole orchestra.”

Simpatico’s members are Phyllis Crossen-Richardson (clarinet), Heidi Brown (French Horn), and Matthew Bachman (piano). All three are active performers and teachers in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore metropolitan area and have collaborated on many projects for the past six years.

Lori Kesner, Dan Shomper, Woobin Park

On February 8, The Concert Series presents The Evolution of Negro Spirituals, a performance by lyric-dramatic baritone, Thomas Beard, accompanied by Julia Morris-Myers and dancer Leandria Gilliam. Beard is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. In 2003 he became the first African-American male singer to be chosen by tenor Placido Domingo to be a part of Washington National Opera’s Placido Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, working directly under the maestro’s tutelage. Beard has performed for U.S. senators, governors, and ambassadors in concerts at embassies and concert halls across the country. He was also invited to perform as special guest soloist by former First Lady Laura Bush at an invitation-only event at the White House.

There will be a reception after the concert.

On February 15, Washington College presents Lori Kesner (flute), Dan Shomper (cello), and Woobin Park (piano), performing works by George Crumb, Carl Maria von Weber, Bohuslav Martinu, and Astor Piazzolla. All three performers currently teach at Washington College.

An award-winning musician and scholar, Kesner enjoys a distinguished and active career as both a performing flutist and world music lecturer. As an experienced and actively sought orchestral flutist, she performs regularly with the Annapolis Symphony, Annapolis Opera, and Mid-Atlantic Symphony in Maryland. Shomper is a performer and teacher in the Washington DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area. The Baltimore Sun praised his virtuoso playing, masterful performance, and lyrical expression. Noted for her commanding stage presence and elegant musicianship, Park has appeared throughout the United States and South Korea with various types of solo and chamber recitals as well as collaboration with renowned orchestras.

On March 29, The Concert Series presents John Thomas (saxophone) and Teodora Adzharova (piano), performing a mixture of classical chamber works and jazz standards. John Thomas spans the chasm between the concert and jazz saxophone worlds. He is currently a lecturer in music at Washington College, teaching applied clarinet and saxophone as well as leading the Woodwind and Jazz ensembles at the college. Teodora Adzharova was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and began piano study at age 7.  By the time she graduated from high school, she had won national and international competitions in Bulgaria, France, Germany, Macedonia, and the Czech Republic. She is currently the Peabody Accompanying Coordinator, and teaches piano at the Conservatory.

Individual tickets for these events can be purchased online with a credit card via EventBrite on the Concert Series website (http://washcoll.edu/concert), or with cash or check at the door.  Inquiries and ticket holds can be sent to Debbie Reed at 410-778-7839 or concertseries@washcoll.edu.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Exhibit on the Ongoing Impact of Islamic Art at WC’s Kohl Gallery

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In its first show of 2018, Washington College’s Kohl Gallery is presenting “Geometric Aljamía: A Cultural Transliteration,” an exhibition revisiting the ongoing impact of Islamic art, science, and philosophy throughout the world today. The show runs from Jan. 25 through March 6, and an opening reception, free and open to the public, will be Jan. 25 starting at 5 p.m.

“Geometric Aljamía: A Cultural Transliteration” is a group exhibition of American and Middle Eastern artists who consider two-dimensional geometry in art, showing hybrid connections between Europe, the Mediterranean basin, and the Middle East. Geometric ornamentation and diverse ethnic patterns from the Islamic world are incorporated into works of art.

The six artists first met during the 2013 Tasmeem Conference in Doha, Qatar: Tamin Sahebzada, Mohammed Saleh Amin, Reni Gower, Hanane Korchi, Sahebzada, Jorge Benitez, and Julia Townsend. The exhibition examines an extended cross-cultural integration of the arts into life.

On Feb. 1, Benjamin Tilghman, assistant professor of art and art history, will give a talk in the gallery delving into the exhibition. The talk runs from 4:30 and is free and open to the public.

Partial funding is provided by Virginia Commonwealth University, VCUarts, and the VCU Printing and Printmaking Department.

Kohl Gallery at Washington College’s Gibson Center for the Arts is open Wednesday to Friday, 1-6p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 11-4p.m.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

The Gunston School Launches Chesapeake Watershed Semester Program

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Last week, Gunston’s Board of Trustees formally approved the launch of a new, ambitious, and important educational endeavor: the Chesapeake Watershed Semester. This fully-accredited, semester-long program for high school juniors and seniors will welcome eight to twelve Gunston students in its inaugural pilot year, and will seek to welcome students from around the region and beyond in future years. Utilizing the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed as the foundation for an immersive, rigorous, and interdisciplinary curriculum, and with a strong focus on the domains of environmental science, public policy, and sustainability, the Chesapeake Watershed Semester (CWS) is the only secondary school program of its kind. The inaugural semester will commence this August.

More than two years in the planning, and borrowing from Gunston’s 20-plus years of innovative Chesapeake Bay Studies programming, CWS will offer students extraordinary learning and life experiences. Within the intensive fifteen-week program, students spend nearly a third of their time on various leadership expeditions and field experiences, ranging from a trip to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, to seminars with public policy leaders in Annapolis and Washington, to an extended tour of the energy-producing regions of Pennsylvania, to a multi-day stay on the ecologically fragile Tangier Island, where the impacts of sea level rise can be observed first-hand.  Meanwhile, rigorous classroom, lab, and research project work will deepen each student’s academic foundation, leading to a capstone action project to be publicly presented at the end of the program. We expect that each cohort of CWS students will emerge as reflective and confident scholars and leaders who can support regional and global environmental sustainability through their understanding of scientific, social, cultural, and political systems.

CWS will be directed by Ms. Emily Beck, Gunston’s current Director of Sustainability and Bay Studies, as well as a Biology and Environmental Science teacher. Under Beck’s leadership the program has engaged a diverse group of formal institutional partners, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Lab, Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society, Echo Hill Outdoor School, and the Harry Hughes Center for AgroEcology, among others.  To further support the program, CWS has also established an advisory board that includes key community members and a diversity of Chesapeake watershed subject experts, including several members of Gunston’s Board of Trustees and parent community.  Curriculum development retreats have already been held, and the formal educational program is being developed by an innovative group of Gunston faculty and leadership team members.

As Gunston’s Headmaster John Lewis commented, “Without question, there is tremendous urgency for educational programs like the Chesapeake Watershed Semester, and it is designed to prepare students to meet the complex challenges of our era.” Details about the CWS mission, philosophy, and program, as well as admissions information, is comprehensively articulated on the program’s website: www.chesapeakebaywatershedsemester.org

The Gunston School, a co-ed independent college preparatory school, offers an intellectually rigorous, highly personalized, and nurturing college preparatory educational experience. Valuing a healthy balance between mind and body, a strong sense of community, the creative process, and our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Gunston strives to educate ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society. To learn more about Gunston visit gunston.org, email dhenry@gunston.org, or call 410.758.0620 ext. 6.

Kent School to Offer Saturday Programs for Youngsters

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Kent School is inviting children and their parents to attend a series of fun, Saturday sessions designed to engage and stimulate the curious minds of children ages 12 and under.

The workshops will be held on January 27, February 10 and March 4. There is no charge and the public is welcome. For activities designed for children ages six and under parents should plan on staying on campus while their children participate. Parents are welcome but not required to stay for the “Science is All Around Us” and the “LEGO Creation Station” for children ages 7 to 12.

On January 27, Kent School Librarian, Julia Gross and Preschool teacher, Karen Schauber will team up to present“Stories, Songs and Explorations” for children 6 and under This session will run from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

Also on Saturday, January 27, Kent School Middle School Science teacher, Hannah Richardson will lead “Science is all Around Us” for children ages 7 to 12. This session will run from 10:00 am to 12:00. Children will engage in Bay Studies oriented activities that will teach them about our environment while having  a great time doing it.

On Saturday, February 10, James Hersh of Bricks for KIDZ will lead a fun and creative LEGO “Creation Station” for children ages 7 to 12. Mr. Hersh will have specialized kits for each participant to use and everyone will leave with their own mini-figure.

On March 4, Physical Education teacher Erin Kent will lead “Gym Time Tumble and Climb” for children ages 6 and under, a session that will get kids moving through age-appropriate obstacle courses and exercise activities. “Sometimes it’s hard for any of us to keep moving in the cold winter months. We will guide the children through fun activities that will keep them moving from start to finish,” said Kent.

All workshops are planned with several breaks so the children can move around and explore the School facilities and other campus features. Tricia Cammerzell, Assistant Head of School for Advancement said, “We’ve designed these activities with a few goals in mind. First, we always want to create fun and interesting activities for children that inspire a love of learning. We want to share the talents of Kent School’s teachers with the community. We are always proud of our commitment to the academic, athletic, artistic and moral excellence this is a way to showcase that.” Cammerzell will be on hand to offer tours of the school to anyone interested.

For more information about Kent School visit www.kentschool.org, email tcammerzell@kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving children from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.

Kent School Students Compete in School Level Geography Bee

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Friday, January 12 Kent School students in grades four through eight competed in the 2018 school-level National Geographic Geography Bee. Flynn Bowman, an eighth grade student, won the school-level competition and a chance to compete in the Maryland State Bee. Flynn was also the runner-up in the 2017 Bee. Seventh grade student, Tait Tavolacci was the runner-up this year. After several rounds, Flynn and Tait emerged as the finalists and the two battled through several tie-breaker rounds with questions about South America, Central America and Asia.

Two students from each of grades four through eight qualified in preliminary rounds completed in individual grades earlier this month.  Finalists were: Cole Gray and Harrison Lavery (4th grade), Jude Gross and Victoria MacGlashan (5th grade), Allie Butler and Tilghman Overton (6th grade), Tait Tavolacci and Frank Cantera (7th grade), and Flynn Bowman and Georgia Gillespie (8th grade.)

Contestants pictured left to right: Front Row: Ally Butler, Harrison Lavern, Cole Gray, Jude Gross, Victoria MacGlashan

Kent School’s seventh grade geography teacher, Michelle Cerino has been coordinating the National Geographic Geography Bee for over a decade and is proud of all the contestants, students and teachers that help in preparing for this event.  Cerino said, “This week, Flynn will take a written test to determine if he qualifies for the Maryland State competition. Several Kent School students have successfully qualified to compete in the state level of the National Geographic Bee in recent years.”

According to the National Geographic Bee web page, “Each year, thousands of schools in the U.S. participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society.  The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in the classrooms and spark student interest in the subject and increase public awareness about geography. Cerino continued, “The National Geographic Bee fits seamlessly with Kent School’s commitment to global studies. Our students learn about the world and different habitats in Kindergarten. Global Studies continues in third grade and is emphasized again in 7th grade when students spend the full year in World Geography.”

For more information about Kent School visit www.kentschool.org, email tcammerzell@kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving children from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide our students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. Our school’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.