Montgomery College Chemistry Professor Selected for USA Science and Engineering Festival’s Nifty Fifty Program
Susan Bontems and Other Local Scientists Will Showcase Science in DC-Area Schools
The USA Science and Engineering Festival selected Montgomery College Professor Susan Bontems and 49 other scientists to visit Washington, D.C.-area middle and high schools, October 10–24, 2010, to ignite a passion for science and engineering in students. Professor Bontems was named the 2009 Maryland Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
The Nifty Fifty, as the scientists are called, were carefully chosen from hundreds of applicants for their differing fields, talents, divergent backgrounds and ages, and ability to convey the importance of science to our nation’s future. Professor Bontems is the only on representing community colleges. The hope is that meeting scientists and engineers who love their profession will help students embrace these disciplines and consider pursuing careers in them. Professor Bontems worked in the chemical industry for nine years before joining Montgomery College as an adjunct professor, teaching organic chemistry in the evening. She became a full-time professor in 2002. Since then, she has been bringing everything she has to offer to her work. She encouraged the College’s Germantown Campus Chemistry Department to offer honors courses and worked with a colleague to develop and run a seminar-style honors module for organic chemistry. She also co-authored laboratory manuals for organic labs to improve student understanding and safety.
“I am passionate about my teaching and about my colleagues and Montgomery College,” says Susan proudly. “We truly do change lives here in a very real and very positive way.”
Professor Bontems’ Nifty Fifty talk is called “Playing with Polymers” and will explore their uses and some of their fascinating properties, including a look at what when they are frozen in liquid nitrogen.
Supported by festival host Lockheed Martin and sponsor Life Technologies, the Nifty Fifty scientists and engineers, include high tech entrepreneurs and financiers, policy makers, actors, journalists, educators, researchers, video game developers, spies, alien hunters, astronauts and surgeons.
The Nifty Fifty Scientists were selected from entries submitted by more than 100 professional science and engineering societies, 100 universities and colleges, 50 federal agencies and laboratories, 75 informal science outreach organizations including the Smithsonian Museums, the United States Botanic Gardens and the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academies; and more than 25 corporations.