Partnership Profile: NOBCChE Works on Many Levels

Learning about weight-bearing structures is part of the experience for participants in the Summer Science Enrichment Camp put on by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers at Thompson Middle School in Saginaw, Mich., this summer.

Part of the solution to the shortage of people with STEM skills is making sure that all people have an honest chance to develop those skills. The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE ™) is committed to overcoming a historical underrepresentation in the sciences through a number of programs as well as through the dedication of many professional scientists.

The NOBCChE 2014 STEM Festival, set for September 27-28 in New Orleans, is an example. A Science Bowl and Science Fair are the cornerstones of the STEM weekend. The festival also will feature demonstrations and presentations to engage students, parents and the general public. NOBCChE has invited scientists, science centers, planetariums, science museums and other individuals and organizations that do STEM outreach to do their best to engage visitors. The national organization also puts on Step up to Science, the NOBCChE Teachers Workshop, NOBCChE in Your Community and the NOBCChE Young Entrepreneurs Program.

In addition to these national programs, NOBCChE supports a network of local professional and academic chapters, each of which is active in supporting STEM outreach. In Saginaw, Mich., for instance, members from the nearby Midland professional chapter offered a Summer Science Enrichment Camp at Thompson Middle School this year. Students met for four Saturdays in July and August to learn a variety of scientific principles and apply the scientific method to several technical challenges, including making liquid rainbows, identifying “mystery” markers through chromatography, building robust structures out of spaghetti noodles and constructing balloon rockets.

Dow partners with NOBCChE to make possible the Enrichment Camp, a local Science Quiz Bowl competition, and many other programs. Perhaps more importantly, many Dow employees devote their time, energy and expertise to making NOBCChE events possible. The 22 volunteers at the Enrichment Camp included 12 Dow employees. For more information about NOBCChE, including the 2014 STEM Festival, go to For information about the Midland Chapter, go to