Community Outreach


The faculty and students of the Department of Chemistry at Tufts University are committed to supporting programs that engage future scientists early in their development. Many of our outreach programs have been created to provide opportunities to learn about cutting-edge developments in chemistry and foster excitement of chemical sciences.

We invite you to explore the programs currently sponsored by the Department of Chemistry:


Seeing the Invisible: Microbe Hunters Workshop

Seeing the Invisible: Microbe Hunters Workshop (recommended for 3rd and 4th graders) explores the scientific method by allowing students to study something they can’t even see: microbes! Students learn the mathematics of how one invisible microbe can multiply until a visible colony can be observed, then swab their environment to search for invisible microbes in their classroom. Students are given the opportunity to observe and classify the grown microbes, compare to controls, and graph the results.

Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing (BioSeq)

The BioSeq project offers high school students genuine, inquiry-based, research experiences that make use of next-generation sequencing and core bioinformatics concepts. Experiment-based classroom modules have been developed for teachers to incorporate into their existing curriculum, with BioSeq guidance and support. Students, teachers, and informal educational organizations may also make use of our educational sequencing facility to explore their own sequencing projects through the Open Application process.

Reverse Science Fair Program

Recently featured in the Journal of Chemical Education, the Reverse Science Fair builds relationships between high school students and graduate student researchers by swapping the roles that each play during a traditional science fair. Initially, graduate student researchers are introduced as young scientists as they exhibit and discuss their own research at poster presentations at the high school. Then, the high school students have the opportunity to discuss their own science fair projects at a school-wide fair with the same graduate students who serve as judges at this event.

Sweet Science: An Introduction to Organic Synthesis Workshop

The Sweet Science workshop provides high school students with an opportunity to carry out organic synthesis experiments similar to those used in modern chemical research and drug discovery. Students learn how to successfully plan, setup, analyze, and purify a chemical reaction. Products from these reactions are analyzed using Mass Spectrometry, which provides the students with exposure to this powerful analytical technique.

Paper-Based Devices

It is possible to create powerful analytical tools that are simple and inexpensive devices made from layers of paper and tape. By using these devices, middle to high school students can learn about capillary action, microfluidics, analytical chemistry, and even healthcare. Students are given the opportunity to use these devices to study food, water quality, and investigate diseases.

Nanoscience for High Schools

Nanoscience for High Schools introduces high school students to a teaching grade, portable scanning tunneling microscope (STM). STM enables the visualization of geometric and electronic properties of atoms and molecules. Through discussions with current graduate students, interactive student exercises, and STM demonstrations, students are introduced to the scientific process, atomic scale and resolution, laboratory grade equipment, and nanoscale application.

The Degreaser Project

The Degreaser Project allows high school students to investigate the effects of a novel "green" degreasing formulation designed to prevent grease clogs in restaurant pipes and water treatment systems. Students develop critical thinking and analytical chemistry skills, as well as an introduction the under-publicized "real world" problem of sanitary sewer overflows resulting from citizens not following kitchen best management practices within their homes.

Classroom Demonstrations

This program is available to public and private schools in the area (Somerville, Medford, Malden, Arlington, Cambridge, and Winchester), as well as after school programs and other organized activities. Typically, undergraduate students will visit science classes to present some thrilling chemistry demonstrations. These demonstrations are designed to excite students about science in general and in particular chemistry.

CO-OP Lending Library

Teachers of our partner schools (Medford Public Schools, Somerville Public Schools, and JQUS of Chinatown) may borrow the materials purchased as part of the CO-OP program to complete the experiments of the Microarray Project or additional classroom experiments. These materials include pipettes (tips included), bath sonicator, microcentrifuge, orbital shaker, and a thermal cycler.

Laboratory Tours

The Department of Chemistry faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students welcome high school visitors to campus. Students are provided with opportunities to gain a close-up view of scientific research. These programs are designed to foster excitement about inquiry-based science and allow students to connect what they are learning in the classroom to real world research.


Contact Us

Karen O'Hagan, Program & Outreach Specialist

Mailing Address

Tufts University
Department of Chemistry
62 Talbot Avenue
Medford, MA 02155