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Quast. "I was impressed by his enthusiasm about community college."
Quast taught at Ventura Community College in Ventura, Calif., for eight
years. A move to Boston brought her to Middlesex, where she began
part-time teaching in 1992. She went full time in 2004.
Her interest in MCC's Service-Learning Program a credit-bearing
academic experience in which students participate in an organized
service activity that meets identified community needs began in
2005, when Quast signed up for a year-long Service-Learning Institute.
"Volunteering has always been a cornerstone of my life," she said. "You
get to do something worthwhile with other people."
For her Service-Learning Institute project, Quast chose to focus on girls
in science particularly chemistry. "Research shows that there are
three necessary things to get girls interested in science: age group,
hands-on experience, and mentoring."
Working with Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, Quast developed a "Chemistry
for Kids" program that matched her Middlesex chemistry students with
area middle school girls. Her Service-Learning students come up with
goals, outcomes and objectives for chemistry experiments they design.
For 11 years, Quast has continued the cooperative effort, which benefits
the sixth- through eighth-grade girls who come to campus for Spring
Break programs as well as the MCC students, who share their
knowledge with the youngsters.
The college students work in teams with the girls, who make soap,
perfumes, food flavorings and aspirin. They also undertake more
sophisticated experiments. The girls learn lab safety and procedures,
how to record observations, measure and weigh, as well as what's
involved in clean-up and waste management.
"The `Chemistry For Kids' program has made a huge impact on our Girls
Inc. members, and has been a great addition to our existing science,
technology, engineering and math (STEM) program," said Jennifer
Demers, Girls Inc. Program Director.
"The mentoring relationships created with the MCC students inspire
the girls to see themselves as future science students or scientists. And
chemistry is a field girls from low-income and at-risk backgrounds may
not have seen as an option for themselves.
"Sally has also been a wonderful female role model for our members,
being a strong science leader in the Lowell community," Demers added.
Having witnessed the relationship between Service-Learning and
increased student engagement, Quast has continued and deepened
her involvement. Last year her "General Chemistry for Engineering &
Science" students began participating in an on-going Service-Learning
program with Lowell's Bartlett Community Partnership School. The
multi-year program is focused on STEM, and involves students in grades
K-8 (see related story, page 16).
Quast is also committed to helping all Middlesex science students
succeed. In 2005, when the college initiated a STEM Leadership
Committee, she joined the effort to empower students to be successful
STEM majors. She also serves on the STEM Pathways Advisory Board.
"Chemistry is the most pivotal course in science. Dentists, doctors,
pharmacists and other scientists all build from chemistry," said
Quast. She believes success is based in no small part on self-efficacy:
believing you can complete tasks and reach your goals.
"I was a good chemistry student, but I had no sense of self-efficacy,"
said Quast. "I want the students who take my courses to know that if
they succeed in chemistry, they can do anything. This is the thread of
my life, my entire career."
Anne Broyles
Faculty Profile
" I want the students who take my courses to
know that if they succeed in chemistry, they
can do anything. This is the thread of my
life, my entire career. "
Sally Quast
Professor of Chemistry