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High school students from across the U.S. explore chemistry and careers at the BASF Science Academy

Program provides college credit to encourage continuing science education


FLORHAM PARK, NJ -- Twenty soon-to-be high school seniors recently previewed college life and learned advanced chemistry during the BASF Science Academy, a two week summer science program sponsored by BASF Corporation at the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) College at Florham campus in Madison, New Jersey.

“The Science Academy aspires to develop the technology based workforce of the future by exposing students to practical business applications and potential careers in chemistry,” said Robin Rotenberg, Vice President of Corporate Communications for BASF in North America.

"The partnership between business and academia is a successful model for helping students to understand the practical applications of what they are learning,” said Amber Charlebois, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “I was excited to be a part of the experiences and progress the students made during the intensive two week program.”

The Science Academy targets students who will be high school seniors in the fall; who completed at least one year of high school chemistry; and have a demonstrated record of academic excellence and a strong interest in the sciences.

Following the curriculum theme “From Molecules to Marketplace,” students learned advanced level science from FDU professors and interacted with BASF scientists and business leaders through lectures, hands-on lab experiments and field trips. In addition to basic scientific method, the students learned about polymerization, the chirality and analysis of chemical components, the properties of fragrances and colors, environmental science, product development, product marketing, and project management.

Working in teams, the students used BASF chemistry to formulate their own personal care products for which they developed business and marketing plans that they presented to a panel of BASF executives.

Students graduated from the program with two transferable college science credits to encourage their continuing pursuit of science education. In addition, FDU offered graduates $5,000 scholarships if they choose to attend FDU in the fall of 2014.

As an on-campus residential program, the Science Academy gives students a preview of college living. They used the university’s classrooms, labs, dining hall, dorms and received college-level instruction. BASF covered the full cost of the program including student tuition and travel and worked with the FDU staff to develop the Science Academy course curriculum.

“I came into this program with high expectations and every single one of them was met,” said Aisha Bosula, Science Academy participant from Flanders, New Jersey. “I am so happy with the people I have met and have worked with and who have taught me and I couldn’t have asked for a better 10 days.”

Michelle West of Geismar, Louisiana, said the Science Academy helped her decide where she wants to focus her future studies. “Getting to spend some hands on time with chemistry helped me realize how much I love it and I definitely want to do something dealing with that in the future,” West said. “I’ve always been focused on chemical engineering and I feel more firm in that now.”

Former graduates from the program – which started in 2011 – have gone on to pursue their science studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Cornell University, Rice University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Lamar University and University of Alabama among others.

Graduates of the Science Academy Class of 2013 are listed below.

Nisha Patel, Madison, Alabama
Hira Hasan, Geismar, Louisiana
Michelle West, Geismar, Louisiana
Shay Bue, Palmyra, Missouri
Delecia Utley, Durham, North Carolina
Aisha Bosula, Flanders, New Jersey
Jason Casar, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Abraham Gertler, Madison, New Jersey
Lisa Hu, Cedar Knolls, New Jersey
Sara Ng, Morris Plains, New Jersey
Aneesh Patankar, Mine Hill, New Jersey
Dominick Sarappa, Rockaway, New Jersey
Gregory Struble, Whippany, New Jersey
Michael Wang, Boonton, New Jersey
Elise Zhou, Denville, New Jersey
Angela Mauri, White Plains, New York
Paul Schaffer, Whitehouse, Ohio
Ghitte Neethling, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Alexandra Elias, Beaumont, Texas
Nicoles Williams, Suffolk, Virginia

For press photos, please click on the following links:

Suggested caption: Participants in the 2012 BASF Science Academy are front row, from left, Hira Hasan, Dutchtown High School, Louisiana; Sara Ng, The Academy for Math, Science and Engineering at Morris Hills High School, New Jersey; Shay Bue, Palmyra High School, Missouri; Alexandra Elias, Clifton J. Ozen High School, Texas; Jason Casar, Ridge High School, New Jersey; and Angela Mauri, Hackley School, York. Middle row, from left, are Lisa Hu, Whippany Park High School, New Jersey; Elise Zhou, Parsippany Hills High School, New Jersey; Michelle West, Dutchtown High School, Louisiana; Aisha Bosula, Mount Olive High School, New Jersey; Nisha Patel, Bob Jones High School, Alabama; Delecia Utley, Hillside High School, North Carolina; and Ghitte Neethling, Fort Mill High School, South Carolina. Back row, from left, are Nicoles Williams, Kings Fork High School, Virginia; Aneesh Patankar, The Academy for Math, Science and Engineering at Morris Hills High School, New Jersey; Paul Schaffer, Anthony Wayne High School, Ohio; Michael Wang, Mountain Lakes High School, New Jersey; Abraham Gertler, Madison High School, New Jersey; Gregory Struble, Whippany Park High School, New Jersey; and Dominick Sarappa, Morris Hills High School, New Jersey.

Suggested caption: During the Science Academy, students visited the BASF research ND development laboratories in Tarrytown, New York, where they viewed product development demonstrations and tried some hands-on experiments in various product laboratories. In the BASF plastics lab, students experimented with polypropylene compression molding using pigment concentrates and effect pigments.

About Fairleigh Dickinson University

Devoted to the preparation of world citizens through global education, Fairleigh Dickinson is New Jersey’s largest private university and features more than 100 liberal arts and professional degree programs, two international campuses, dozens of partnerships with internationally renowned institutions and special programs and status within the United Nations. For more information, go to

BASF - The Chemical Company

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 16,600 employees in North America, and had sales of $18.5 billion in 2012. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of €72.1 billion in 2012 and more than 110,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at

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