Mary K. Engelman is the recipient of the 2021 Award for Volunteer Service from the American Chemical Society. Created in 2001, the award recognizes individuals who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and have contributed significantly to the society’s goals and objectives.
Engelman is being honored for her efforts in increasing public awareness of chemistry, mentorship of young scientists, and leadership of ACS activities. She retired in 2019 from her position as an innovation process manager at Eastman Chemical.
“I am quite humbled,” says Engelman of receiving the award. “It’s hard to explain why you volunteer. It really is because it’s a passion inside you, that you just like to help people and you like to help organizations. I have learned so much through my volunteer efforts. It has helped me be part of a professional organization and help build a pathway into the future of ACS.”
Engelman has taken on numerous roles within ACS, including as a career consultant, chair of the Northeast Tennessee Local Section, vice chair of the society’s Committee on Nominations and Elections, and a councilor for its Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division. As chair of the ACS Committee for Technician Affairs, she championed and helped raise the visibility of applied chemical technology professionals in the field of chemistry. She was named an ACS fellow in 2009. At Eastman, Engelman was awarded eight patents and wrote numerous publications on chemical technology and innovation.
“Volunteers are indeed a special group of individuals,” says D. Richard Cobb, who won the 2017 ACS Award for Volunteer Service and has worked with Engelman on many committees and divisions. “Mary exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism through her efforts to increase public awareness of chemistry and to promote science to students of all ages.”
“It is difficult to quantify the multitude of ways the ACS has benefited from Mary’s involvement at every level,” says Dawn Mason of Eastman, who has volunteered with Engelman at the local, regional, and national levels. “Mary has provided leadership wherever she has served and done so willingly, and she has become a role model for others who want to be active in their professional society.”
Engelman will deliver the keynote address at the ChemLuminary Awards ceremony at the ACS Fall 2021 National Meeting in Atlanta.