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Updated: Jan 1, 2023

Happy New Year, Everyone.

I love any learning framework that heightens children's intellectual ability of reasoning and critical thinking, which serves as the foundation for continuous career growth and being informed community members.

Therefore, I want to start 2023 with this idea and thought. More attention needs to be directed to engendering a common understanding of STEAM and Innovation, thus, integrated STEAM education because integrated STEAM education could be a valuable strategy to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in the STEAM fields.

Think chemistry is boring? Think again! Recently, I had honored and privileged to talk with Dr. Colleen Kelley about her creative and innovative solutions for sustainable learning of Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) in Science (Chemistry, to be specific). This is a fun and fantastic way of making learning chemistry easy through storytelling and comic books and a creative and innovative way to support equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In terms of equity, diversity, and inclusivity, imagine how powerful learning science could be when teachers and educators integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Many see art and science as being direct opposites. It doesn't have to be true. Learning and mastering science could become more accessible and easier when Science and Arts are integrated!

Take chemistry as an example. Chemistry is everywhere. One of the things I love about Dr. Kelley's approach to learning is that learning doesn't have to be set up in the lab or science classrooms to make learning chemistry fun and more accessible. Because chemistry (like many physical sciences) is everywhere, integrating Arts and Science is about using art (in this case, comic books and storytelling) to inject a sense of play to spark a student's imagination.

Another strategy for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusivity is a collaboration between students and teachers. Because GenZ is developing content, imagine if all teachers collaborate with their students, building content and designing curriculum as I have written previously. Like Dr. Kelley, learning could be fun, creative, and imaginative.

Dr. Colleen Kelley has created a chemistry comic book series filled with colorful characters and exciting storylines that translate complex chemistry into animated mysteries. Her comics and unique imagination have turned the Periodic Table into a playground of chemical adventure and have allowed elementary school students to master concepts often taught at the college level.

Dr. Colleen Kelley is the Creator and Founder of Kids' Chemical Solutions (, a comic-book-based chemistry curriculum for kids ages 8 – 108. Her journey as a chemist began at The University of Richmond, where she received her B.S. in Chemistry. She fell in love with the world of discovery and research and wanted to continue to explore more chemistry. She headed to Penn State University and dashed through graduate school, receiving her Ph.D. in chemistry at 24. She had so much fun doing chemistry research that she accepted a Chateaubriand Postdoctoral Fellowship in Strasbourg, France, with Nobel Prize winner Jean-Marie Lehn.

Colleen was a first-generation college student who kept following her flow of having fun doing chemistry research. Fast forward 30 years later to the tail-end of her career teaching chemistry in higher education, Colleen finds herself captivated by the question, "Why do my students think chemistry is SO hard?" Dr. Kelley now conducts her research in Chemical Education to uncover this mystery. What she has discovered is that learning chemistry is very much like learning music. Both disciplines depend on the interpretation of symbols and the development of fluency with these symbols. We know that the best time to learn music is between ages 6 – 10 when the brain has the plasticity to make the necessary neural connections. We NOW know, through Dr. Kelley's research, that this is also the best time to learn chemistry.

Dr. Kelley is now teaching in 4th and 5th-grade classrooms in Arizona using her chemistry comic book series. The kids are excited and embracing learning through this platform. What's next? "My WHY is to make learning chemistry fun, accessible, and inclusive so that it becomes a 'normal' part of a child's education."

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· (Portfolio)



Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.

Think STEM Careers! You Have The Opportunity to Create The Future And The Privilege Of Deciding What’s In It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.

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