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Comment: A rising tide to support all chemists

by Judith C. Giordan, President, American Chemical Society
July 30, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 25


Photo of Judith C Giordan.
Credit: Linda Wang
Juidth C. Giordan

af·​fir·​ma·​tive/ə'fərmətiv/ supportive, hopeful, or encouraging.

“A rising tide lifts all boats” embodies the hope that when the economy—or anything that impacts a large group—improves, then all will benefit. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In science and chemistry, trust in the work we do and access to the education, skills, training, and jobs we need will grow and be an affirmative rising tide for all only when we continue to support, encourage, affirm, and give a hand up to all chemists on their individual journeys at all stages of their careers across the chemistry enterprise.

At the American Chemical Society, our umbrella is and will continue to be large and affirmative! A key strength of ACS as an organization and a member community is the desire to continuously evolve to ensure we welcome and include all who care about the chemistry enterprise. As a 46-year member, and the 2023 ACS President, I believe ACS has been, and will continue to be, a source from which affirmative and hopeful support is provided to all in, and those aspiring to be in, the chemistry enterprise. And this is especially important with ACS’s growing membership number of 173,000 from 140 countries.

And I haven’t changed my opinion. As I wrote in a 1995 ACS Comment, “Solving the complex global issues we face now . . . will require a tolerance and respect for each other that we have not yet experienced. The key ingredient in the recipe for sustainable competitive advantage that helps ensure a healthy and growing economy and well-paying meaningful jobs is people—and diversity of thinking and contribution from a diverse group of people often bring the most creative and innovative solutions.”

Our great opportunity at ACS is to respect and nurture our growing diversity.

Now more than ever, this means each of us needs to reflect on how we can be involved, affirming, and supportive of each other, as well as ensuring trust in the science we love—chemistry.

The Transformative Power of Chemists The transforming power of chemistry is only made possible by the broad, diverse, and highly skilled transforming power of chemists. The ability for each of us to gain and maintain our skills can be enhanced by a strong community of scientists who support, respect, and share ideas with each other. At ACS we do just that and support each chemist on their individual journeys! How are you joining in?

Start with meetings! Whether at the fall and spring meetings, or local section or regional levels, there is something for everyone.

Join in the Fall 2023 meeting in San Francisco, whether virtually or in person! Thanks to the San Francisco Presidential Planning team, there are 30+ presidential events and symposia from Saturday until Thursday. Check them all out at and find a list of them in the full-page ad on the inside back cover.

Get involved with your local section by programming speakers! Our aim is that each local section schedules one speaker from the Speaker’s Directory by December 2023. Check out the directory at And submit your speaker profile by scanning the QR code.

Help at a regional meeting. The regional meeting page has all the information you need. Consider developing a neXus program! I sponsored these programs in 2022 and 2023, and I will again in 2024. This programming aims to address regional opportunities and challenges by bringing together market needs with research and career development.

ACS Governance needs you! ACS has become one of the largest scientific societies in the world. We take pride in the growing diversity of our community. Our great opportunity at ACS is to respect and nurture our growing diversity, and ensure we have a means to actively include all practitioners of chemistry in equitable and affirmative representation on governance. And there are a number of options for members to get involved globally.

Become active in one of our 32 Divisions! Check out the divisions list ( Volunteers who want to program, take on leadership roles, or be supportive of science and fellow chemists are always needed.

Local sections and international chapters! Find out about local sections ( and international chapters ( Get involved to network and make connections, engage with and give back to your community, build leadership skills, and enhance your professional development.

Think about joining a committee! Check out all of the committees ( On each website you’ll find information about requirements and eligibility. Be sure to fill out the Committee Preference form—it just closed for 2024, but if you see a committee you’re interested in, you can always attend an open meeting.

Be a part of the rising tide to lift all boats! Please participate in the way that floats your boat. We can accomplish more only if we’re all in this together. Because together we are not only able to envision the world we want, together we can build that world. And together we can ensure that all chemists, and chemistry, continue to rise.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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