ACS – Chemistry Festival – 2021 Costa Rica

VIRTUAL CHEMISTRY FESTIVAL – FESTIQUIM – 2021

This event is supported through an ACS International Festival Grant and co-sponsored by the Costa Rican Chemistry Professional College (Colegio de Químicos de Costa Rica). The Festival is organized by the ACS International Student Chapter at the TEC with the assistance of faculty advisers Dr. Isaac Céspedes Camacho (TEC) and Dr. Santiago Sandi-Urena (UCR).

The Second Festival builds on the experience of the first event held in Cartago in February 2020. This first Festival was a solid success. It left dozens of volunteers inspired to continue serving the community in different ways, hundreds of visitors awed by science, a team of faculty proud of their students’ commitment and performance, and new bonds between institutions.

This year’s Festival has been postponed due to the limitations associated with response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The virtual Festival is carried out following all regulations and precautions set forth by the competent authorities and the Technological Institute. It uses a set of recorded interactive modules that can be peruse individually, although ideally secondary school teachers can embed them as part of their remote or face-to-face instruction.

SUMMARY OF THE FIRST EVER ACS CHEMISTRY FESTIVAL IN COSTA RICA

FEBRUARY 2020

Watch here is a short video of the first Festival: Festival video (3 min)

The first ACS International Chemistry Festival event was held February 14th and 15th at the City House, Casa de la Ciudad, in Cartago, Costa Rica, a vibrant cultural center that attracts a diverse array of citizens. This successful event served over 300 visitors, and several local primary and secondary schools. More than 35 college-student volunteers (TEC and UCR) facilitated the activities, and coordinated the organization leading several committees (e.g. Safety, Scientific, Budget and acquisitions, Communications and Media, Volunteers and Training). 

More on the ACS-TEC International Student Chapter here.

A team of chemistry faculty led by Professors Isaac Céspedes Camacho (TEC) and Ricardo Coy (TEC) supervised all the steps over the course of the five months previous to the event. The City House provided access to their facilities and assisted with the on-site logistics. Additionally, they coordinated the cultural component of the closing ceremony. Post-experience attendee survey responses were overwhelming positive, valued the contribution to the community and highlighted the support of interest in science.

The Festival inspired young students and in-service teachers through the use of simple, hands-on activities. The Festival created a space where individuals, who otherwise might have limited access to science and scientific information, can see science in action and interact with scientists. It favored a balanced, educated perception of science and chemistry, and it strived to improve the public image of scientists.

Students who develop scientific vocation may find more support (or less resistance) at home if their guardians are cognizant of the role of science in society and of the many possibilities open to future scientists. Thus our interest to reach and engage their guardians, as well.

The Festival was carried out very successfully as attendance and surveys show. Moreover, success is demonstrated by the satisfaction and excitement  expressed by volunteers. Organizers are already thinking big for their second Festival, More Chemistry – Better Life, to be held in October during National Chemistry Week.