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Press Release

MSU Denver holds Colorado Center for the Blind Chemistry Lab Workshop

Program highlights equal access to STEM career opportunities


Contact: MSU Denver Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
CCB Brent Batron, Cell 720-384-3023

Posted: July 18, 2013



WHAT:  

Metropolitan State University of Denver has partnered with the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) to educate 28 blind and low-vision middle school and high school students about new career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. This third annual workshop is possible due to developments in modern adaptive technology and the University’s and the CCB’s common goal to improve access to STEM education.

Hands-on experiments will include the analysis of pH levels of various household substances and, time permitting, the effect of salt on the freezing point of water. Students will participate using adaptive technology such as Talking LabQuest and Vernier probes that speak results verbally, enabling participants to record and process information. These hands-on experiments will help break stereotypes and perceived limitations of the blind, who are underrepresented in STEM fields.

 

WHEN/

WHERE: Friday July 19, 2013 - (9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) Auraria Campus Science Building, Room 3095

    (Building faces Speer Blvd. between Arapahoe St. and Lawrence St.)

   MSU Denver Chemistry Lab –         

Session #1                                       9 a.m. – Noon

Session #2                                       1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

 

WHO/WHY:

April Hill, Ph.D. – MSU Denver assistant professor of chemistry, director of forensic science

Thomas Vogt, Ph.D. - MSU Denver assistant professor of chemistry

Cary Supalo, Ph.D. – Illinois State University assistant professor of chemistry and founder of Independence Science, LLC

Brent Batron, B.S. - Colorado Center for the Blind coordinator of youth services

April Hill’s work with blind students began when she was a post-doctoral scholar at the Pennsylvania State University Center for Nanoscale Science. While there, Hill worked with blind chemistry graduate student Cary Supalo, whose thesis was focused on the development of lab equipment to enable blind students to access the chemistry laboratory. Together they developed several hands-on workshops and summer science camps, largely through collaboration with the National Federation of the Blind.

Cary Supalo is the founder and CEO of Independence Science, a company that produces ADA compliant products. He has developed and field-tested devices and methods for making chemistry accessible for all students with disabilities, including those who are blind.

When Hill joined MSU Denver, Thomas Vogt (aware of her experience in the field) approached the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) to evaluate their interest and needs for STEM education. Acutely aware that blind students are often dissuaded from STEM career opportunities, CCB’s Coordinator of Youth Services Brent Batron embraced the opportunity to partner with the University. Batron received the 2013 Gary Schmidt Award from the Colorado Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) for his innovative programming for blind youth in the state. He holds a number of offices in the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado.

MSU Denver’s Department of Chemistry wants to ensure that STEM education and career opportunities are universally accessible to all students. The program seeks to promote awareness, opportunities and acceptance of the blind in STEM education and the workplace.

 

 

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About the Colorado Center for the Blind

The Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB), a private, nonprofit rehabilitation center for the blind of all ages, has provided specialized services to blind students since 1988. The CCB offers comprehensive, integrated training that enables blind students to lead successful lives, compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers and fully participate in their communities. For more information please call 303-778-1130 or visit www.cocenter.org.


About the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry offers students the tools and skills needed to excel in the wide-ranging fields of chemistry including criminalistics and analytical and environmental testing. Bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees in chemistry are offered as well as an American Chemical Society-certified bachelor of science degree and a concentration in criminalistics. The Criminalistics Program is accredited by the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission.

 

About Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver is the leader in transforming the lives of its 23,000 students and communities in Colorado. The University enrolls the highest number of students of color among the state’s four-year colleges. It offers 55 majors, 90 minors and master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work and boasts more than 74,800 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.