W&J Professors guide Cub Scouts toward “Adventures in Science” badge

Created: April 17, 2018
Last Updated: January 13, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (April 17, 2018)—Local cub scouts are delving into the world of science, thanks to Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) Assistant Professor of Physics Cory Christenson and Assistant Professor of Computing Information Studies Greg Hallenbeck.

Cub Scout pack 1315, led by scout leader Joe Cararie, stopped by campus in early March to earn their “Adventures in Science” merit badge.

“Cory and I answered a bunch of their questions and talked about the kind of things we do in our research and as professors, and after that we showed them a couple of demos,” Hallenbeck said.

The demonstrations included making a sodium lamp out of a pickle, using spectra to identify elements in emission tube lamps, and generating static electricity with a Van de Graaff generator.

“They thought it was really cool,” Hallenbeck said of the kids in attendance. “They wanted to use the diffraction glasses [which were a part of the spectra demonstration] to look at all sorts of stuff.”

Hallenbeck is a friend of Cararie and was able to set up the event through their connection. He said he’s open to hosting other scout troops seeking the merit badge or doing other outreach to educate the community on science topics, having previously done similar work with retirement homes.

“I think that the events that I do like this are twofold,” Hallenbeck said. “When you’re working with kids, they get excited about science and are then exposed to science in ways that they may not have been before, and that might send them down a career path in that direction. But I also like to do outreach and think these events are important in teaching the public what an informed citizen should know. I want to get people excited about science, because I think science is important as an enterprise.”

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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