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For president-elect: H. N. Cheng

September 8, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 35


A photo of H. N. Cheng
Credit: Image credit: Courtesy of H. N. Cheng
H. N. Cheng

Louisiana Section. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans.

Academic record: University of California, Los Angeles, BS; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, PhD.

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2009; Fellow, ACS Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2018; Fellow, ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry, 2010; ACS Volunteer Service Award, 2016; Special Service Award, ACS Polymer Chemistry Division, 2015; Distinguished Service Award, ACS Polymer Chemistry Division, 2005; Tillmanns-Skolnik Award, ACS Delaware Section, 2006; ACS Delaware Section Award, 1994; Outstanding Contributor to Cultural Diversity at USDA Southern Regional Research Center, 2017, 2011; Outstanding Scientist of the Year, USDA Southern Regional Research Center, 2014; Hercules Accountability Award, 1997; Hercules Research Fellow Award, 1990; Hercules High Achievement Awards, 1984, 1987; Sigma Xi; Phi Lambda Upsilon; Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Beta Kappa.

Professional positions (for past 10 years): USDA Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center, research chemist, 2009–; Hercules (later Ashland), senior research fellow, 2002–9.

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Public Relations and Communications, 2019, committee associate, 2018; Committee on Nomenclature, committee associate, 2016–17; Board of Trustees, Group Insurance Plans for ACS Members, 2008–16; International Activities Committee, chair, 2013–15; Presidential Task Force on “Vision 2025: Helping ACS Members Thrive in the Global Chemistry Enterprise,” cochair, 2012–13; Committee on Education, committee associate, 2010; Committee on Committees, 2011–12, 2007–9; Council Policy Committee (nonvoting), 2006; Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs, 2001–6, chair, 2006, committee associate, 2000; Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs Task Force on Globalization Issues, chair, 2004–5; Leadership Advisory Board, 2009–10; Board Task Force on Multidisciplinarity, associate chair, 2004–5.

Service in ACS offices:Louisiana Section:alternate councilor, 2018–21; newsletter editor, 2012–; member-at-large, 2014–15; chair, 2013; chair-elect, 2012. Polymer Chemistry Division:Workshop Committee, chair/cochair, 2011–; alternate councilor, 2013; councilor, 2004–12; member-at-large, 2002–3; By-Laws Committee, 2007–10, Industrial Sponsors Committee, 1997–2005; Membership Committee, 1999–2010, cochair, 2000–2001. Delaware Section:councilor, 2000–2003; chair, 1997; chair-elect, 1996; Long-Range Planning Committee, chair, 2003–9; Nominating Committee, chair, 1997–99; Carothers Committee, 1995–2002, chair, 1996–97; Del-Chem Bulletin Advisory Committee, 1999–2000; Annual Report Committee, 2004–8.

Member: Member of ACS since 1982; Sigma Xi; Chinese American Chemical Society; ACS divisions: Agricultural and Food Chemistry; Cellulose and Renewable Materials; Polymer Chemistry; Professional Relations.

Related activities: Committee on Committees, Task Force on Senior Chemists, 2010; Committee on Committees, Liaison to Economic and Professional Affairs Committee, 2011–12; Meetings and Expositions Committee, 2007–9; Nomenclature, Terminology, and Symbols Committee, 2007–9, 2011–12; International Journal of Polymer Analysis and Characterization, associate editor, 1996–; Polymers, Advisory Board, member, 2018–; Carbohydrate Polymers, Advisory Board, member, 2014–; International Symposium on Polymer Analysis and Characterization, Governing Board, member, 2007–; Polytechnic University (New York), Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Advisory Board, member, 2006–8; served on the PhD committees of two graduate students at the University of Delaware; taught graduate-level courses at the University of Delaware; organized or coorganized 36 symposia at ACS national meetings since 2000; edited 21 books; published 266 scientific articles and 26 US patents and patent publications on green polymer chemistry, agro-based materials, biocatalysis, polymerization theory, and polymer NMR.

Cheng’s statement

I am honored to be a candidate for ACS president-elect. This is a time of change and challenge for the chemistry enterprise. From studies of history, we know that a great nation needs strong leadership, supportive citizens, competitive advantages, the ability to adapt to change, and a national spirit to keep the nation going in good times or bad. Likewise, if ACS is to continue its success in the future, it needs similar attributes. I believe an effective ACS president should be a strong leader who can strengthen the bond between ACS and its members, advocate for science, and catalyze the changes needed to grow ACS and benefit our profession. If elected, I will work hard in conjunction with ACS members, governance, and staff in order to enhance our profession and benefit our members.

Innovation. Innovation is the engine of growth for any society. We need to advocate for increased funding for scientific research. We need to shape public policies that benefit innovation and strengthen the scientific community. As part of this effort, we must redouble our efforts to communicate chemistry’s value to the public at large and also to our government leaders.

Education. The long-term future of chemistry depends on a healthy pipeline of scientists, engineers, and students in colleges and universities. We need to attract and support younger chemists to work in chemistry. ACS has always had strong educational programs. We need to continue these programs and work with federal, state, and local governments to get continued support for science education.

Involvement in ACS. To be successful, we need members who care about the chemistry enterprise and want to make it better. We must energize our members, inform them of the ongoing issues, and enhance the benefits of ACS membership. I am a strong supporter of diversity, and I believe we need to boost our efforts to recruit and retain diverse members and volunteers for the society. Another goal is to increase industrial involvement. Although industrial members constitute about 45% of the ACS workforce (under 70; domestic; not student, emeritus, or retired), far fewer industrial members are engaged in ACS governance. I believe we need close collaboration among industry, academia, and government labs in order to work together to promote innovation and ensure the continued health and vitality of the chemistry enterprise.

Future growth. Two of the major trends in chemistry today are international development and multidisciplinarity. I have previously served in leadership positions on the International Activities Committee, the ACS Task Force on Multidisciplinarity, and the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) Task Force on Globalization. I believe both international and multidisciplinary areas represent great opportunities for future ACS growth and collaboration, and I strongly support our continuing growth efforts in these areas.

Jobs and careers. In a tough supply-demand job market, it is not easy to find (and keep) jobs. As a former member and chair of the Committee on ­Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA), I know ACS has many resources available for our members. Indeed, in addition to academic, industrial, and ­government jobs, there are possible opportunities in small businesses (starting your own or joining one), chemistry-­related fields, and alternative careers. The international and multidisciplinary arenas may present new employment opportunities; collaborations in these areas may also help in job search and career development. Networking, personal referrals, and mutual assistance among members are helpful in career development. I plan to work with the various ACS entities involved to enhance our services to our members and students on this critical issue.

Leadership and momentum. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and staff, ACS has a lot of momentum right now. Working together, we can sustain the momentum and raise it to an even higher level. Peter Drucker, a founder of modern management, once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” I believe with strong leadership and our collective talent, we can indeed create a brighter future for us and for ACS.

I have been active in ACS for many years and have served in numerous capacities and assignments at local, division, national, and international levels. Over the years I have gained a good knowledge of ACS and the chemistry profession. I am active in research, in publications, and in organizing meetings and symposia. From my professional career, I have the experience in strategizing for the future, evaluating new business opportunities, managing people and budgets, organizing projects, and developing new products. Above all, I care about chemistry, and I am passionate about our profession. If elected, I am ready to represent ACS and work hard for the benefit of our members. Visit my website for more information:

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