SPARK Continues to Ignite a Passion for Science Around the World

SPARK Continues to Ignite a Passion for Science Around the World

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.@MilliporeSigma employees gave back to their local communities and ignited a passion for #science worldwide during the company’s #SPARK volunteer week in October. Learn more:
Friday, February 8, 2019 - 9:30am

CAMPAIGN: Employee and Community Engagement

CONTENT: Article

From Europe and Asia to the Americas, MilliporeSigmai employees gave back to their local communities in more ways than one during SPARK Week, October 13-21, 2018. Not only did they teach Curiosity Labs™ lessons and host site tours, but they also brought science education to a low-income village and an orphanage, impacting thousands of students by providing them with hands-on experiments to spark their curiosity in science.

Teaching Flavors and Fragrances at Technorama OpenLab in Switzerland

Technorama is one of the largest and most renowned science centers in the world, and one of the company’s signature partners. MilliporeSigma’s Buchs, Switzerland team invited 50 high school students from a local public school to the science museum Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland. They were given tickets to both the regular exhibition and also the OpenLab sessions held at the laboratories of Technoroma. These OpenLab sessions were developed by MilliporeSigma’s Buchs employees and cover different experiments related to “Flavor and Fragrances.” The Technorama OpenLab sessions were extremely successful in the previous SPARK Weeks this year, with 53 employee volunteers from the Buchs, Altdorf and Schaffhausen, Switzerland sites reaching a total of 645 students. The students enjoyed the demonstrative experiments, as well as their journey to one of the most famous sciences exhibitions in Switzerland!  

Reducing Barriers to Science Education in Turkey

MilliporeSigma employees in Turkey traveled to a city close to the border of Syria to spark scientific passion in students with no prior access to science equipment. Ucdam Middle School is located in a remote and low-income village. The team organized a Science Day, adopting a hands-on, play-oriented approach to instill a love of science in more than 300 disadvantaged students. Together, they conducted fun science experiments and had a day full of excitement and curiosity. Even though these students are in need of many kinds of school supplies, their eagerness to learn touched the hearts of the local team. They were so touched by these students that they decided to donate lab equipment and help the school build a science laboratory. This science laboratory will not only serve students at Ucdam Middle School, but also students at schools nearby.

Sparking Curiosity at a Local Orphanage in Poland

In Poland, 15 employees conducted special Curiosity Labs™ lessons at a local orphanage in Stryzow, Poland. Through the SPARK volunteer program, employees in Poland also renovated this orphanage last year. More than 20 children—the youngest only 3-years-old—participated in many different hands-on experiments related to water filtration, microorganisms and discovering the magic of chemistry. “SPARK brings us the hope that our passion and commitment will ‘infect’ others, stimulating their curiosity and openness to the world around them, and shaping their thinking about a given field of knowledge,” said employee volunteer, Dorota Aniskiewicz-Rioja. “The workshop we ran was also an invitation—perhaps it will inspire a career choice for some of the participants in the future. Everything about this initiative is special.”

Dia Abierto Open Door Event in Mexico

In Toluca, Mexico, employees collaborated with Cinvestav Irapuato—a Mexican non-governmental scientific research institution. The volunteers participated in their open door event called “Dia Abierto,” which teaches students about different science topics. At various stations, the children learned about DNA extraction as well as non-Newtonian fluids. “It was an amazing experience for me! It was very exciting to introduce the new generation to science and wake up their curiosity,” said volunteer Gicela Vasquez.

Experiencing Science for the First Time in Peru

Employees in Peru spread their love of science with a series of seven workshops at the national school of Our Lady of Fatima. The “Curiosity Day" explored topics including density, water filtration oxidation and reduction, and homemade chromatography. They also learned how purple cabbage serves as a natural indicator of pH. The workshops were aimed at third-grade students, many of whom had never experienced science before. According to event organizer Laura Lau, the students showed their curiosity by actively participating in the workshops and asking many questions. The team in Peru hopes to return to the school with more workshops.

Glenart College Students Tour the Arklow, Ireland Facility

More than 20 students from Glenart College—a co-educational secondary school in Arklow, Ireland—visited MilliporeSigma’s local site, which manufactures APIs and excipients. Students toured the facility and participated in Curiosity Labs™ lessons on chemiluminescence, DNA and water filtration. “The pupils, teachers and management of the school were very grateful for the visit and impressed with the site tour,” said volunteer Ciaran Stafford.

Being Curious: Experiments for Everyone in Schnelldorf, Germany

The SPARK Team in Schnelldorf, Germany, held an Open Door Day where curious minds of all ages were invited to experience a number of science experiments. Participants were amazed by a color change experiment in which a normal penny was transformed into a “golden coin.” Children also got to try their hand at chromatography and learn about lab safety while working with dry ice. Many asked, “How can I do this at home?” Parents conducted a fragrance experiment with natural scents and tested their sense of smell. “We had a wonderful time, and I recommend having an event like this,” said volunteer Alexandra Schmidt.

Students Experience New Biosafety Testing Lab in Singapore

One month after the grand opening of the new 3,800-square-meter BioReliance® lab in Singapore—the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region—the Singapore SPARK team invited 25 students from Clementi Town Secondary School to explore the new biologics testing lab and take part in hands-on chemistry experiments presented by 10 employee volunteers.

Fighting Hunger on a Global Scale

The Jaffrey, New Hampshire; St. Louis (Laclede location); Rocklin, California; and Sheboygan, Wisconsin sites in the U.S. held meal packing events. Partnering with Rise Against Hunger—a food relief agency headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina—approximately 400 employee volunteers packed 90,000 nutritious meals that will be distributed to individuals in need around the world. According to volunteer John Connell, it was the Jaffrey site’s second consecutive year packing 30,000 meals. Organizers Lisa Wenk (Laclede), Ella French (Rocklin) and Dawn Weidemann (Sheboygan), whose sites participated for the first time, said their volunteer teams really had fun and would like to participate again.

Sparking Curiosity With the Tokyo Science Club

Elementary school students belonging to the Science and Technology Museum Tokyo Science Club were challenged to explore ways to solve the world’s water crisis as MilliporeSigma employee volunteers presented a hands-on Curiosity Labs™ lesson on water filtration at the museum. “I believe children in SPARK class can understand that technology can save the world,” said volunteer Hiroshi Komatsu. “I am excited to be part of delivering this philosophy to the next generation.”

iThe Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada.