More on the Student Volunteer Trip to the Illinois State Fair

One of our students who volunteered at the state fair wanted to give a little more information about what they did. Check out her report and photos below!

DePaul Chem Club volunteers with ACS at Illinois State Fair

By Casey Murphy (DePaul MS student, BS ‘15)

On August 22, a group of DePaul chemistry students volunteered with the Illinois division of the American Chemical Society at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

There were two parts to our volunteering. First, we performed chemical “magic tricks” for a large group of children and adults followed by explanations of the physical or chemical concepts behind them like surface tension, kinetic and potential energy, and vacuum. In the photo, Nick Tassone (BS ‘17) explains how the classic “tornado in a bottle” is a vortex that allows the air and water to pass through the bottlenecks at the same time. If the vortex is not created, the water and air have to take turns passing to the other side.

Depaul University Chemistry ACS
Nick explaining how a vortex works.

We also helped children with hands-on activities. Popular activities included chromatography demonstrations and looking at rainbows created by light- diffracting glasses. In the photo below, Phoebus Sun Cao (BS ‘17) helps a child make their “secret message” appear. The kids drew on a piece of litmus paper with a clear wax crayon. Then the paper was sprayed with an ammonia solution, changing the color of the paper except where the wax had blocked it, so the drawing would suddenly appear due to the pH-dependent color change everywhere else.

DePaul University Chemistry IL State Fair ACS
Phoebus helping students write secret messages using chemistry!

The group had a great time getting kids and adults excited about science, and we are grateful for the invitation from the Illinois ACS! The rest of the evening was spent exploring the State Fair and consuming deep-fried everything. Phoebus and Jessica Rozemburg (alum, BS ‘15) try a deep-fried Snickers, but the deep-fried brownie was the best. We also visited with Tom Hagerman (alum, BS ‘15) in his hometown!

DePaul University Chemistry IL State Fair ACS
Phoebus and Jessica enjoying the Fair’s Food.

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