MilliporeSigma Sparks Curiosity in the Minds of Future Scientists at KIPP St. Louis

Feb 7, 2022 10:00 AM ET
A KIPP St. Louis science teacher with students

For 10th-grade student Rashad Greenwood, hands-on science education, access to the right equipment, and an inclusive learning environment he received at KIPP St. Louis charter school are keys to achieving his dream of becoming a pharmacist.

MilliporeSigma’s* nine-year partnership with KIPP St. Louis Public Schools has helped Rashad, and nearly 2,200 other students, prepare for secondary education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the MilliporeSigma Curiosity Labs, Curiosity LabsTM at Home, and Curiosity Cube® programs.

Since 2012, MilliporeSigma has invested more than $795,000 in the organization to inspire the next generation of scientific leaders. The company has helped to improve KIPP St. Louis’ science lab infrastructure and has also supported the expansion of its middle school science program’s curriculum with inquiry-based science experiments, professional development, and top-notch equipment.

This exposure to high-quality science curricula, supplies and hands-on experiments complemented by a multi-dimensional STEM industry partnership has made an impact. Students are learning new scientific concepts and stimulating scientific thinking, helping them to build confidence and encouraging them to be curious about the world around them. For example, Rashad won second place in his school’s first science fair during the 2020 school year. “I was nervous because I never participated in a science fair before, but I ended up presenting an experiment where I used electrolysis to separate hydrogen and oxygen. It was hard, but I learned a bunch.”

“The most rewarding part about teaching science is seeing kids learn through discovery and exploration,” said Jennifer Burris, a fifth-grade KIPP St. Louis science teacher. “The robotics and electricity lessons from MilliporeSigma challenged them to learn from their mistakes and keep trying until they were successful.”

MilliporeSigma’s dynamic partnership with KIPP St. Louis was recognized with a 2020 St. Louis Business Journal Innovation in Philanthropy award. The collaboration has positively impacted KIPP St. Louis’ students, resulting in strong educational outcomes—with some results even exceeding the top-performing schools in Missouri.

In 2020, the St. Louis Business Journal reported KIPP St. Louis’ eighth graders who were advanced or proficient at math gained a 357% improvement over their St. Louis Public Schools peers. In addition, KIPP students have shown a 3.3 point average improvement on ACT scores each year.

To date, more than 1,800 St. Louis-based MilliporeSigma employees have volunteered more than 12,930 hours to local nonprofit organizations, including KIPP St. Louis. MilliporeSigma prioritizes giving back and offers 16 hours of paid volunteer time off annually to permanent employees.

In addition to the MilliporeSigma Curiosity Labs program, the company has also constructed a mobile science lab out of a retrofitted shipping container called the Curiosity Cube®. One Cube travels the country, and another is now permanently based in St. Louis. Through their science education programs, MilliporeSigma employees volunteer their time, passion, and expertise to spark curiosity in local students.

“We visited the Curiosity Cube® when I was in 5th and 7th grade, and it was great. There was a ton of stuff for us to do, and I got to experience everything,” said Greenwood.

“The Curiosity Cube® allowed my students to use different materials that they wouldn't normally have used in my classroom. MilliporeSigma volunteers also worked with the students, helping them analyze and make observations,” said Burris. “While inside the Curiosity Cube®, my students explored virtual reality and observed organ cells. They especially loved getting to use the safety goggles because it made them feel like real scientists.”

Although the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have forced MilliporeSigma to halt in-person Curiosity Labs™ lessons and Curiosity Cube® tours, the company has provided students and families with experiments they can conduct from the safety of their homes through the MilliporeSigma Curiosity Labs at Home program.

Learn more about how MilliporeSigma is investing in the next generation of scientists and its continued corporate social responsibility initiatives worldwide on the company’s webpage dedicated to sustainability and social business innovation.


*MilliporeSigma is the U.S. and Canada Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.