Outreach Programs

One of the core objectives of the PREM program is to bring science education into the community. Led by PREM faculty and path to professorship staff, Hampton University will continue to engage the local community and pique children’s and adolescent’s interest in science-related careers. 

Virginia Aquarium 

Hampton University’s Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) joined the Virginia Aquarium’s Communicating Ocean Science to Informal Audiences (COSIA) for a day of training and development. Hampton University’s PREM and Virginia Beach Aquarium’s COSIA collaborated in providing professional training and practice in exploring strategic and effective means for conversing (highly) technical science to informal, non-technical audiences. 

Dr. Guerrero-Munoz and Dr. Stefan M. Cooper Jr. were permitted creative input and devised a chemistry “Polymer Demonstration” infused with elements from ocean science. The understructure of the training involved introducing and providing informative education centering on synthetic and natural polymers. 

The hands-on component involved adding Elmer’s School Glue to a solution of Borax in water, which upon stirring facilitated the chemical reaction between polyvinylacetate in the glue and borax (Na2B4O7‚óŹ10 H2O) affording a flexible, cross-linked polymer. Importantly, the “silly putty” is non-toxic, environmentally safe and biodegradable. 

Hampton Roads AAU Track Team 

At Boo Williams Sports Complex in Hampton, Virginia, Hampton University PREM (Partnership for Research and Education in Materials) scientists and other university associates engaged over 480 athletes, and over 700 parents and grandparents, about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and Health-related programs at HU. The effort focused on increasing the number of African-American, Latino, Native-American, female, and other underrepresented groups in science through early exposure to STEM and material science. 

Students engaged in several hands-on material and marine science-themed demonstrations. Colorful, amorphous-shaped, sticky and stretchable materials were used and prepared by participants. Activities included Hopscotch infused with a marine science questionnaire and arts and crafts where students created marine creatures. Hampton’s University nursing staff providing free blood pressure readings. Demonstrations were led by two of the first scientists hired under the PREM grant who are training to become college science professors: Dr. Marcos Guerrero-Munoz and Dr. Stefan Cooper, Jr.