Community Outreach

Inspiring Young Scholars, Tomorrow’s Chemists

The Department of Chemistry’s outreach efforts provide K-12 students with opportunities to learn about chemistry from passionate scientists. We participate in several programs and events offered through the Yale Office of New Haven Affair’s Pathways to Science initiative.

Students participate in special events, lectures, demos, lab tours, and research opportunities.

Yale Pathways to Science

Opening doors for middle and high school students to explore STEM at Yale, Pathways to Science offers both a scholar’s program – where students attend events throughout the year and conduct research during the summer – and numerous open-to-the-public programs and events that any K-12 student can attend.

All of the events below (and more) can be found on their events calendar and in the events newsletter. To plan an event, contact Rick Crouse and Maria Parente

Chemistry Outreach:

The Wonderful World of Chemistry: A Magic Show

The one-hour interactive lecture introduces basic chemistry concepts through “magic” tricks explained through the science lens. View the photo gallery.

Pathways Discover Chemistry Day

High school students participate in hands-on chemistry experiments that encourage inquiry, examination, and exploration. For example, students work with a gas chromatographer, separate caffeine from tea, engage in simulations of receptor-binding molecules that give rise to our sense of smell, and much more.

Science on Saturdays

In this award-winning lecture series, lectures by Yale professors and engaging science demonstrations by Yale college students bring together Yale scientists and residents of New Haven in a shared sense of wonder. Science on Saturdays is organized and hosted by Professor Kurt W. Zilm. Check out past Science on Saturday events.

Annual West Campus Pathways to Science Festivals

Through a series of mini-lectures, experiments, and demos, students learn nanotechnology, photochemistry, laser technology, and more.

“Opening labs to local students is important because it makes the idea of being a scientist much more real. I think it can be hard to imagine what a day-to-day in a field looks like until you can see it in action.”
-          Josephine Jayworth, Chemistry Graduate Student and Event Co-Organizer

Check out festivals and photo galleries covered in the news to learn more.
In Pictures: Local Students Get Their Hands on Science at Yale’s West Campus
Guided by Light the Eye Can’t See, Local Students Envision a Future in STEM
Local School Students Explore the Science of Color

Summer Programs

The Pathways to Science scholar program offers three chemistry five-day workshops to high school students during the summer. 

Power in Electrochemistry Summer Course

The future of sustainable energy is based in electrochemistry. By building their own batteries, redox pairs, solar cells and more, students will learn about the science behind how electrical energy is applied. 

One module covers battery chemistry, how to make a battery and how it works. Another module looks at redox properties of elements and coating an object with a layer of metals (or electroplating). Students learn to use electricity to do chemical reactions (electric catalysis), and they do electrolysis of water. They build dye-sensitized solar cells and measure the voltage and current generated by them.

Chromatography: A Chemist’s Best Friend

Gas chromatography is an analytical chemistry technique widely used in academic and industrial labs. This course teaches how to perform gas chromatography and apply the technique towards real-world problems in sustainable chemistry!

What Powers the World? The Chemistry of Energy

Where does the energy we use come from? Through building batteries and other experiments, students explore the science behind the different ways energy is captured, stored, and used.

Open Labs at Yale

Open Labs is a group of students, postdocs, and other members of the university who are dedicated to scientific outreach to the local New Haven community.  Their four programs listed below are also promoted on the Pathways to Science events calendar.

  1. Exploring Science
    Students join a weekly online discussions with Yale scientists about the subjects they love. Students interact with Yale scientists each week in different formats – research talks with breakout rooms for discussion, judging head-to-head science presentation competitions, and getting questions about science answered by various graduate students. Science topics include biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and more. Contact Open Labs for more information.

    Watch videos of past Exploring Science discussions.


  2. Science Café

    Graduate student fellows host the Café, a series of events, presentations, and breakout sessions, featuring bite-sized talks on cutting-edge research to familiarize students with how research is done.


  3. Science Haven

    Science Haven is a group that works to bring engaging science activities to neighborhood events and public schools in New Haven to increase awareness of STEM careers and opportunities among children and make science fun.


  4.  Flipped Science Fair

    The Flipped Science Fair flips the traditional science fair format on its head. Instead, middle school students spend the day judging graduate students and postdocs presenting their research.