The Catholic University of America

Media Advisory


CUA Students Impersonate Chemical Elements

Friday, Oct. 31, 2008
9:10 a.m. - Maloney Auditorium
12:10 p.m. - Hannan Hall, Room 106


The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C.

Students dressed up as chemical elements for Halloween

On Friday, Oct. 31, more than 100 Catholic University students will participate in a rite of passage for some CUA undergraduates: "Come Dressed as Your Favorite Element" Day, a Halloween lecture that falls somewhere between a masquerade party and a show-and-tell for grown-ups.

The annual event is organized by award-winning Professor of Chemistry Diane Bunce, who will be dressed as Potassium, an element found in everyday products such as matchsticks.

The first class of 65 nursing students will come dressed as their favorite element (or two or more can come as a compound). They must research their element or compound and design a costume that demonstrates at least three properties of the substance. They write these on an index card (along with the name of the substance) and then present clues to their classmates, who then try to guess the element.

The exercise will be repeated with 45 additional nonscience majors in the 12:10 class on Friday afternoon.

Such creative additions to the chemistry curriculum - along with her technologically savvy approaches to teaching, which includes in-class clickers and daily online quizzes - earned Bunce the 2007 James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education's 1993 District of Columbia Professor of the Year.

Coverage of any of the Halloween classes is welcome; please contact Katie Lee in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 for more information.