Community Engagement

PPG Foundation grant brings new chemistry labs to life at Great Lakes Science Center

PPG Foundation grant brings new chemistry labs to life at Great Lakes Science Center

Education, PPG Foundation

The PPG Foundation has teamed up with the Great Lakes Science Center to unveil the newly renovated PPG Labs classrooms.

Representatives from PPG and its Cleveland, Ohio-area coatings facilities joined a team from the Great Lakes Science Center at a socially distanced event to officially mark the opening on September 30.

Students from nearby schools were among the first to experience the new space and take part in color-related chemistry experiments led by the Science Center’s educators.

The new PPG Labs, featuring upgraded equipment, and new furnishings, flooring, mobile room dividers and PPG paint, bring real-world scientific discovery to life for interactive learning in the Cleveland area.

According to Rebecca Liebert, PPG executive vice president, the Great Lakes Science Center plays an important role in spreading the love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and increasing science literacy that our PPG employees experience each day.

“Many of the PPG chemists and engineers at our local coatings manufacturing and R&D facilities had an early interest in pursuing STEM learning. We know the great possibilities of discovery and see the PPG Labs as a venue for hands-on, interactive exploration that will help visitors develop, and sustain, an interest in science and open new horizons for STEM-related career fields,” said Liebert.

For the Great Lakes Science Center, the PPG Labs provide an avenue to increase its focus on chemistry.

“Chemistry is a critical part of understanding science in your everyday life, and a stepping stone to exciting STEM careers of the future,” said Science Center President & CEO Kirsten Ellenbogen. “When Great Lakes Science Center examined gaps in our programming we saw an opportunity to improve our chemistry-based experiences to broaden access and better serve our students and families.”

The PPG Labs were initiated when the Science Center found an opportunity in the area of chemistry education, and reached out to the PPG Foundation as a like-minded community partner.

“For decades, PPG and the PPG Foundation have partnered with science centers across the world to create opportunities for visitors and students to discover the possibilities – and fun – created through firsthand access to experimentation,” said Malesia Dunn, Executive Director, PPG Foundation and corporate global social responsibility. “Through a grant to the Great Lakes Science Center, we’re thrilled to invest in the educational possibilities that connect local students with a passion for STEM.”

Now, the PPG Labs are home to chemistry-based summer camp programming – one of the best-attended and received student experiences at the Science Center – and chemistry workshops, as well as elevated experiences of past programs with the upgraded equipment. Topics covered in the PPG Labs could include polymer chemistry, spectrometry, acid/base reactions and stoichiometry.

The new labs will be an inclusive space to accommodate the majority of the Science Center’s educational programs including school field trips, workshops, homeschool lessons, Camp Curiosity sessions and new birthday party experiences.

Since the opening of the PPG Labs, the Institute of Museum and Library Services named the Great Lakes Science Center as one of 15 museum finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. Learn more.

Read about the PPG’s commitment to science centers across the world.

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