program; handles training, budgets, and community relations;
and also deals with day-to-day decisions and problem-solving to
ensure the program runs smoothly.
The program is guided by the faculty and student directors;
however, without the chapter members and other volunteers,
the events would not happen. Volunteers are recruited from
both inside and outside the chapter, as SFU professors will often
offer students the opportunity to drop their lowest quiz grade
of the semester if they participate in a ROCK event and write a
Students have a variety of other incentives for participating. For
example, students in the education program (pre-service teachers)
often volunteer their time to gain training in the field. Meanwhile,
students taking religious studies courses are required by the university to perform 10 hours of community service, and many see
ROCK as a fun way to reach their service goals. Whatever their
motivation, SFU students who help in the program experience science first-hand and connect with younger students, thus sharing
All volunteers are required to agree to and sign a Code of
Conduct form that states how to dress, handle equipment, and
act appropriately at each event. The volunteers are then trained
on how to do specific activities. Ideally, training of new volunteers
is completed before the event— but sometimes, due to time constraints, training has occurred in transit to the event! Flexibility
and willingness to follow the leader is key!
the reach of our activities. In collaboration with the teachers, we
identified needs in the high school chemistry curriculum and are
currently adapting laboratory modules to be taught using portable
laboratory equipment that we loan to the high schools. The modules have been tested by certified high school teachers, and the
portable spectrometers, gas chromatographs, and potentiostats
will be piloted in their schools.
Making an impact
While not necessarily musical, ROCK and ROLL is the sound of
our ACS student chapter reaching out. By leading free activities
and lending portable equipment, the SFU chapter members have
become a commonly heard science resource for our community.
Our chapter’s membership was originally small, but our students wanted to be involved in something new and different—
and that has helped us grow. The ROCK program provided the tool
to bring chemistry majors together, and a way for our chapter to
make a name for itself.
Jessie Minor is a senior mathematics/secondary education
major and is the current ROCK student director.
Travis Rosmus is a senior chemistry major and chapter
Since the time demands of the ROCK program place a consider-
able demand on the schedules of SFU chapter student members
and faculty, some questions arose: “How do we avoid becoming
burnt out?” and “How can we sustain our outreach efforts on a
With assistance from the Buhl Foundation, we “ROLLed” into
engaging the high school faculty members themselves to increase
Faculty advisor Edward P. Zovinka is a professor of chemistry
and the faculty director of the ROCK program.