On September 11, 2015, in honor of the 9/11 National Day of Service, hundreds of employees from BASF, CISCO and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina volunteered at Neal Middle School. Employee volunteers helped students to think about science and plan for their futures by engaging them in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning activities.
450 students put on their lab coats, goggles and gloves to work on science experiments in the classroom with BASF team members. Some students made slime out of a few simple ingredients: water, glue, Borax and food coloring. The result - gooey slime in every color! Making slime is fun, but it also helps to learn about polymers.
Another experiment conducted in the "labs" was the extraction of DNA from a strawberry. DNA is the "blueprint" for all living organisms and can be found in the nucleus of the cell. To get to the nucleus, the cell wall must be broken down, which students did by smashing the strawberries. After a few more steps and ingredients such as soap, salt and rubbing alcohol, students were able to see the DNA chains.
BASF partnered with the American Heart Association to build a teaching garden with six garden beds. Volunteers and students built the boxes, added soil and planted vegetables and herbs.
"BASF employees are passionate about research and development and are eager to help educate the students at Neal Middle School on the many exciting opportunities in the field of science," says BASF Senior Vice President Paul Rea. "In addition to contributing to the agriculture industry, we are dedicated to teaching youth about where their food comes from and how to grow and maintain their own gardens."
Other activities included building robots, speed mentoring to answer student's questions about possible future careers and fitness and nutrition workshops to help students assess personal health. Volunteers also participated in a variety of school beautification projects such as painting classrooms and outfitting a robotics room. These activities provide students with access to resources that will enhance learning outcomes while improving the school's appearance and environment.
"When companies such as BASF, Cisco and Blue Cross Blue Shield get involved with our students and schools, everyone wins," remarks Durham Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Bert L'Homme. "Neal Middle School's students were able to explore the STEM careers that are in such demand, and our business community is laying the foundation for a strong high-tech workforce in the next generation. We're grateful that they partnered with Neal."
Activate Good, a nonprofit organization dedicated to activating volunteers in the community, helped organize the day's events. They connect individuals, groups, and companies to volunteer needs with more than 300 nonprofits around the Triangle. Learn more about Activate Good at http://www.activategood.org
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 17,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $20.6 billion in 2014. For more information about BASF's North American operations, visit www.basf.us.
At BASF, we create chemistry - and have been doing so for 150 years. Our portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. As the world's leading chemical company, we combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of over 74 billion in 2014 and around 113,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.