Ninth annual pumpkin explosion brings chemistry to community

By Miranda Parrish

Elm Staff Writer

Washington College’s American Chemical Society affiliate chapter partnered with Gamma Sigma Epsilon for their ninth annual pumpkin explosion.

The event was hosted in the Toll Science Center Atrium and started at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28. Community members and families were invited for painting pumpkins, fall themed snacks, and the pumpkin explosion.

Sophomore Mackenzie Stelyn is the Vice President of the College’s chapter of the American Chemical Society.

“I help with the organizing and prepping of the school year, and I was in charge of mixing the solutions,” Stelyn said.

Various campus groups carve pumpkins to show support, and the pumpkins are then dropped from the top floor in the Toll Science Center. The goal is to see which pumpkins explode on the brick outside the building and which do not.

There was also a glow in the dark installation set up in Litrenta Lecture Hall for the community to see, in addition to the paintings and explosions.

According to an email sent out by ACS Student Affiliates & Gamma Sigma Epsilon on Wednesday, Oct. 19, the event aims to get the community “into the Halloween spirit” and to “learn some chemistry” in a safe and free environment.

To do so, Stelyn said that Gamma Sigma Epsilon and ACS have become more invested in opportunities within Chestertown and Kent County.

Both groups are currently planning an outreach event on Nov. 11 with H. H. Garnet Elementary School. Students will volunteer to go to the school and perform three experiments with each of the first grade classes.

“We were also asked by the other elementary schools in the county to come and perform more science outreach programs,” Stelyn said.

Stelyn said that she hopes students will have more opportunities to get invested in chemistry and STEM programs through these events. They allow younger students to explore different fields, encourage the community to come together, and provide a fall themed event that connects the community to the college.

Photo by Miranda Parrish

Photo Caption: Community members and students gathered to watch the pumpkin explosion through the windows of the Toll Science Center Atrium.

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