Bioenergy outreach at Juneteenth Celebration of Science

A child reaching to turn a tile in a wooden grid while a smiling adult watches
Allison Bender, outreach coordinator at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, helps 5-year-old Ember D. explore a memory game with tiles featuring information about petroleum- versus plant-based products.
Jeff Miller, UW–Madison

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center's outreach team joined groups from across UW–Madison for a Saturday of science exploration at the Kujichagulia Center for Self-Determination's Juneteenth celebration on June 18 at Penn Park in Madison. Attendees were invited to explore science at nearly a dozen UW Science Alliance hands-on educational stations, chat with scientists, and more.

GLBRC Outreach Coordinator Allison Bender guided attendees through activities featuring information about petroleum- versus plant-based products.

"It was special to be invited to be a part of the community Juneteenth celebration and to demonstrate that science is everywhere and belongs to everybody," says Bender. "It couldn’t have been a better day with perfect sunshine, lots of music, delicious food, and tons of hands-on science."

Several children standing at a table with small components of a science experiment
Children make “DNA bracelets” by connecting test tubes with sequences of colored water (representing ACGT bases for DNA). The activity was hosted by Irene Ong, associate director of the Carbone Cancer Center's Cancer Informatics Shared Resource and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology with a joint appointment in biostatistics and medical informatics. Jeff Miller, UW–Madison

Juneteenth is celebrated each year on June 19 to commemorate the day in 1865 when U.S. troops liberated nearly 200,000 Black Americans in Texas, bringing freedom to the last enslaved people in the former Confederacy more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. It’s a celebration of freedom and African American history, culture, and progress. Learn more about the history of Juneteenth at

For more photos and information about the Juneteenth event, check out UW–Madison Director of Photography Jeff Miller's photo story on