Lab aides get into their element

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By Meagan O’Rourke, Co-Convergence Editor

During free periods, most juniors and seniors can be found hanging out in the cafeteria or doing last minute homework. However, chemistry lab aides use their free periods to suit up in goggles and aprons, ready to weather the elements.   

The lab aide program is open to any student who has completed a year of chemistry. Students request to work with a chemistry teacher during the course selection process and are matched with a science department teacher who has free periods in common.

Junior Roxanna Fouladi signs the sacred multi-colored lab aide coat, leaving her mark on the chemistry department.  The SPOKE/Meagan O'Rourke
Junior Roxanna Fouladi signs the sacred multi-colored lab aide coat, leaving her mark on the chemistry department. The SPOKE/Meagan O’Rourke

Junior Roxanna Fouladi chose to lab aide for Dr. Scott Best to expand her knowledge of chemistry beyond the classroom.  

“I decided to become a lab aide because I really liked chemistry, and I really liked lab work,” Fouladi said. “I wanted to get a bigger picture of the entire process that goes into the labs.”

The aides prepare solutions, test new experiments, organize chemicals and help with miscellaneous tasks in the science department. In addition to helping the chemistry department teachers, assisting in the lab is a “source of learning for the students,” according to chemistry teacher Amy Alvarez.

The students must create their own calculations for new experiments and test them to see if they can gain reliable data, which can be daunting at times.

However, senior Anna Bostwick enjoys the challenges of being a lab aide. Bostwick is a veteran lab helper, and she plans to major in chemistry in college. She has completed two years of AP Chemistry, but some of her favorite chemistry memories are from helping in lab.

“A lot of people think it’s nerdy, but it is more fun,” Bostwick said.

The chem lab aide family has traditions like creating lab table signs for Alvarez, who appreciates the lab aides’ enthusiasm.

“I think it is their chance to leave their stamp on the room, something left behind that says they were here,” Alvarez said.

Becoming a lab aide can be a milestone for students interested in chemistry beyond the classroom, academically and physically.

“When you become a lab aide and you get to cross the threshold and go into the back room, it is like a coming of age,” Alvarez said.

Meagan O’Rourke can be reached at [email protected]