Skagit Valley College Chemistry Department Inspires Future Scientists


Skagit Valley College Chemistry Department Inspires Future Scientists

Skagit Valley College Chemistry instructor Dr. Roxi Smith and her students made a visit to La Venture Middle School for some hands-on science work. The Skagit Valley College (SVC) team was there to celebrate National Chemistry Week and work with La Venture science students in their classroom.

To celebrate, science students and professors from Skagit Valley College visited LaVenture Middle School to help get students excited about science.

“Our objective is to go out into the community and interact with the general public to educate about chemistry,” Smith said. “To counter the stereotype of what a chemist is.”

Many kids, she said, envision chemists as crazy-haired men in lab coats. By bringing 35 college science students into LaVenture’s classrooms to conduct hands-on experiments — including growing crystals — Smith hopes to change that perception.

“I think they can see a future for themselves doing science,” Duez said.

Chemistry Week is nothing new to Smith, who has been celebrating it with students since her son, now a seventh-grader, was in first grade.

This is the second year the college has partnered with the Mount Vernon School District to give kids the hands-on experience in their classrooms, Smith said.

“The exposure to science is pretty awesome,” LaVenture Principal Dave Riddle said. “This is one more tie that gets kids to see and believe that college is right next door.”

It was the largest Chemistry Week event in the Puget Sound, said Smith, who is the region’s Chemistry Week coordinator.

“Which I’m super proud of,” she said. “We will interact with ever single LaVenture (seventh-grader).”

The event also coincided with the district’s annual “Principal for a Day” event, where community members shadow a school principal to see how education has changed.

“It is really neat to see schools today and how creative teaching is,” said Brenda Valles, Skagit Valley College’s executive director for equity and inclusion.

Valles said it’s important for the college to provide such experiences to local students.

“I think it’s very important for Skagit Valley College to uphold the partnerships with the neighboring school districts,” she said. “Hopefully those will continue to grow.”

Peter Donovan, the city of Mount Vernon’s project development manager, said if school had been this hands-on when he was a student, he might have been more engaged.

“Mount Vernon seems to go out of their way to make sure the kids have those experiences,” Donovan said.