BEST Early Annual Research Symposium (BEARS)
"The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done." -- Jean Piaget, (Psychologist, Philosopher; 1896 - 1980).
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan
"We recognize how important it is for our country's economic security to increase STEM literacy so all students can think critically, to ensure we have a high quality of teaching, to foster innovation, and to expand opportunities for all students." - U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, excerpt from letter for the 2013 BEST Early Research Symposium.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
"By getting such an early start on lab research you are really building excellence in science and technology and building the future for our state and for our country." - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), excerpt from video message for the 2013 BEST Early Research Symposium.
U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI, 6th District)
"The investments we make today in the STEM fields and STEM education are indeed going to pay off tremendous dividends as we work to create jobs and compete with countries all around the globe." - U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI, 6th District), excerpt from video message for the 2013 BEST Early Research Symposium.
The BEST Early Annual Research Symposia had their beginning in April 2010 when Mary Judnich, Regional Manager for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) paid a three-hour “show and tell” visit to the Berrien County Math Science Center Grade 12 class. One year later, in April 2011, the first formalized BEST Early Research Symposium was held on the campus of Andrews University in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.
Since then this annual event has changed and developed into the premiere public science activity of BEST Early that allows high school and early college students an opportunity to showcase their research to both science professionals and the general public. 2013 symposium co-sponsors included:
Andrews University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Benton-Michiana Spirit Community Newspaper, Berrien RESA Math Science Center, Frederick S. Upton Foundation, Honor Credit Union, Lakeland HealthCare, Martin’s Super Markets, Meijer, Michigan State University 4H Extension, P.T. Promotions, Walmart, and the Wilce L Cooke Foundation.
Early research continues to pay off in several ways: papers and posters for students; preparation for college labs; summer research jobs; research collaborations at the undergrad and graduate levels on and off Andrews University campus; increased research funding; and awards and recognition for science education innovation.
In particular, the annual BEST Early Research Symposium provides students with an opportunity to experience another important aspect of the global scientific research enterprise - communication and dissemination.
Research projects have covered a wide variety of topics but have focused primarily on organic synthesis. Research areas include: biomass conversion, dyes, fragrances, hybrid drugs, hybrid pesticides, hybrid photostabilizers-developers, liquid crystals, nanoparticle linkers, optical brighteners, polymers, sensors, sunscreens and surfactants.