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My favorite ACS things

by Katherine L. Lee, Director, District I
February 28, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 7


Photo of Katherine L. Lee.
Credit: Professional Event Images Inc.
Katherine L. Lee

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

This song sticks in my brain whenever I hear it. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II published “My Favorite Things” in 1959, well before the term earworm was coined. Here are some of my favorite things about the American Chemical Society; perhaps some will stick with you, like a catchy tune.

ACS Career Consultants. Are you looking for a job or planning to make a career transition? Is it time to refresh your résumé or craft your LinkedIn profile? ACS career consultants provide one-on-one advice both virtually and in person at ACS meetings and career events. In addition, ACS career consultants hold virtual office hours every week for chemists seeking advice and networking in a small-group environment. This benefit is free to ACS members. To find out more or to apply to be a career consultant, visit and click on Finding & Landing a Job.

ACS Project SEED. This program provides high school students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with summer research experiences at academic, industrial, or government laboratories. Project SEED celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 and has given more than 10,000 students the opportunity to conduct research. To learn more about the program, visit

ACS Scholars Program. Are you an undergrad from an underrepresented group majoring in chemistry or a chemistry-related discipline? You may be eligible to become an ACS Scholar and receive a scholarship of up to $5,000 per academic year to further your studies. To learn more, visit

Bench and Cubicle in C&EN. Industrial chemist Chemjobber, who blogs about the chemistry job market, writes a monthly column in C&EN called Bench and Cubicle. One of my favorite columns is a recent letter he wrote to his daughters about career choices. Also check out his predictions about the 2021 chemistry job market in the US. Read Chemjobber’s columns at

Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. These fellowships provide undergrads in organic chemistry with $5,000 to carry out research at their colleges or universities during the summer between their junior and senior years. In the fall, SURF awardees visit an industrial campus, where they meet with scientists at the company, tour the laboratories, and share their work at a poster session. Learn more about these fellowships at

ACS is a rich and diverse organization, and I hope that I have piqued your interest in some of the resources that the society offers.

E-alerts for ACS journals. This is my favorite way to keep up with the latest articles in selected ACS journals, often on my phone. E-alerts arrive as emails containing short blurbs of ASAP (as soon as publishable) articles and links to each article. To sign up, go to

Free leadership experience. ACS offers a multitude of volunteer opportunities. You may be wondering, “What’s in it for me?” Let me share my story: I first got involved in my local section, the Northeastern Section of the ACS (NESACS), by attending board meetings and volunteering to lead the Host Local Section Committee. I served as councilor and then chair-elect of NESACS. At the ACS Leadership Institute, I took courses such as “Leading without Authority.” Serving as chair of NESACS and later chair of the Division of Organic Chemistry was excellent on-the-job training, which, with mentorship from numerous ACS colleagues, has been invaluable for my career growth. Visit ACS’s local section website at to learn more about how you can get involved. Information about the ACS Leadership Development System is available at

Joint student membership with NOBCChE. Student members of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) receive a year of ACS membership or a renewal of their active ACS membership at no cost. This is a great way to build connections with our partner society.

Periodic Graphics in C&EN. It can be challenging to explain the power of chemistry and its relevance to daily life to the general public. Andy Brunning, a chemical educator and inventor of the Compound Interest blog, does just that in Periodic Graphics. Using colorful infographics, Brunning tackles diverse topics, including how RNA vaccines are made, the origins of the elements, flea and tick treatments for pets, and suppressing wildfires with chemistry. Explore Periodic Graphics at

ACS is a rich and diverse organization, and I hope that I have piqued your interest in some of the resources that the society offers. Please feel free to share your ideas and feedback with me at

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



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