Award Date: March 2010
Dr. Joanne Kehlbeck, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Union College, has been awarded a $26,000 through the Special Program in the Chemical Sciences focus area of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. Her project "Culinary Chemistry: Developing Laboratory Modules for General Education and Outreach," couples a unique course for non-science majors to community outreach and service learning. Scientific concepts and methods will be introduced in the context of food preparation, an everyday activity to which anyone can relate. The Culinary Chemistry course will attract and engage undergraduate students who lack confidence in their ability to succeed in a traditional laboratory science course. The culinary themed course will include lecture and a hybrid studio laboratory experience with inquiry-based exercises in both the traditional chemical laboratory setting and a typical kitchen setting. Kitchen chemistry experiments for the course will be carried out in Minerva houses, the residential house system at Union College. These houses offer both small seminar style classrooms and large kitchens equipped with major appliances. The non-science majors will employ their new expertise in the science of cooking by participating in outreach opportunities, reaching out to elementary and secondary school students and the general public with interesting and engaging demonstrations that illustrate how science impacts our everyday lives.