Paine College Announces Free Chemistry Class

May 10, 2019

Paine College announced that it is once again offering its free six-week chemistry course and registration is now open for middle and high school students in the CSRA. The class will begin on June 5, 2019, and run through July 11.

Dr. Sardar Yousufzai,Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Physics & Environmental Sciences at Paine College and Minority Affairs Chairperson of the Savannah River Section of the American Chemical Society, will teach this free summer class. The popular course offers students an opportunity to gain exposure to the basic concepts of chemistry and includes both instruction and demonstration.

By fostering learning opportunities for pre-college-age students, Dr. Yousufzai's class hopes to pass on his own fascination with science – a fascination he acquired at an early age. His teaching style is designed to help students see basic scientific concepts in practical terms, to simplify the learning process. As he told Diverse Issues in Higher Education in 2016, "I make chemistry like a pie, so easy to eat, so easy."

Yousufzai believes that there are no difficult subjects when it comes to learning. The challenge is for instructors to teach in a way that captures students' interests and encourages them to explore and learn the subject matter. To achieve that goal, he presents his topics – ranging from the standard chemistry formulas and conversions to the periodic table and matter in an approachable way.

The class is an important opportunity to reach students who often score behind international peers on assessments for math and science skills. For some time now, experts have noted a decline in U.S. student performance in those important STEM areas, with America's students coming in near the middle of the pack of most science surveys.

The National Center for Education Statistics has noted that American students' international standing in math and science tends to decline over the course of their educational career. Fourth-graders perform above the international average, but that performance stalls at around eighth grade. By their senior year, American students often perform significantly worse than their international peers.

That's a trend that Dr. Yousufzai has noted as well. However, he said that students who complete the course end up being more comfortable with chemistry and that he receives satisfaction from being able to teach a diverse mix of students who share an eagerness to learn about science.

The program has proved its worth over the years, with many of its participants going on to pursue careers in science-related fields – including dental and medical school.

The six-week program offers classes for middle school students on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 10:40 AM to 11:30 AM. High school student class times are Tuesday and Thursday, 10:40 AM to 11:30 AM. All classes are held at Paine College Campus in Haygood-Holsey Room 220. Registration is now open.

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