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Beth connects with Rockville by linking local kids with science

Beth Marbois has been a scientist for 30 years, the last two as an analytical chemist in our Technical R&D Vaccines group in Rockville. Since moving to Maryland and joining GSK, Beth has been eager to connect with her new community through volunteering.

“I knew I wanted to get involved in the community and GSK has had an association with American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in the area for many years – as a result, the Science in the Summer program was a recommended fit. I logged onto our volunteer portal and entered my location – and was matched with the Twinbrook Library, one of our 26 GSK Science in the Summer host sites in the US.”

After meeting program manager Betty Calinger, Beth joined the main teacher, Tanya Cain, as an assistant teacher for the local Science in the Summer program, which was offered to kids in grades second through sixth.

“Because GSK encourages us to get involved in the community, I had the opportunity to return to what made me passionate about science in the first place. Sharing the magic of science with kids was incredibly inspiring and I was able to truly experience the joy of learning again – through the eyes of children.”

In 2017, the GSK Science in the Summer program topic was the Science of Sport. The kids learned how their favorite sporting activities link to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

“The kids loved making their own sports drink and didn’t even realize they were learning chemistry. After that, they explored what part of their tongues might be sensing the salt flavor versus the sweet flavors (Answer: the sides toward the front have taste buds for salty compounds). In another activity, the children got in pairs to learn accuracy, balance and the concept of precision – which was a great way to show the intersection of sports and science,” Beth shared.

Beyond helping facilitate these mini-experiments, Beth talked about science in the simplest terms and helped the kids think about possible careers in the field. With the support of GSK and her manager, Jingning Li, Beth could replace the lab for the library for a day — as a result, she is hopeful there are a few more curious young minds in Rockville.

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