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For president-elect: Mary K. Carroll

by Mary K. Carroll, candidate for president-elect
September 9, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 32


Mary K. Carroll.
Credit: Courtesy of Union College
Mary K. Carroll

Eastern New York Section. Union College, Schenectady, New York.

Academic record: Union College, BS, 1986; Indiana University, Bloomington, PhD, 1991.

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2016; Stillman Prize for Faculty Excellence in Research, Union College, 2021; 100 Inspiring Women in STEM Award, INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine, 2015; Faculty Meritorious Service Award, Union College Alumni Council, 2012; Outstanding Service Award, New York Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, 2009; Stillman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Union College, 1995; ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Graduate Fellowship, 1990–91; National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1987–90; Phi Beta Kappa; Sigma Xi; Iota Sigma Pi.

Professional positions (for the past 10 years): Union College, Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Chemistry, 2017–, professor, 2005–17, chair, Chemistry Department, 2008–11; SunThru, chief science officer, 2013–.

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Science, member, 2021–23, committee associate, 2019–20; Committee on Strategic Planning, 2018; Committee on Planning, 2017; Board/Council Policy Committee task force on governance design, co-chair, 2016–18; Council Policy Committee, voting member, 2013–18, vice-chair, 2017–18, non-voting member 2010–12; Leadership Advisory Board, 2018–19, committee associate, 2014–17; Committee on Education, 2005–12, chair, 2010–12, committee associate, 2001–04; Strategic Plan Education Goal Working Group, chair, 2011; Program Review Advisory Group, 2010–11; Advisory Board, Graduate Education, 2010–12; Women Chemists Committee, member, 2004, committee associate, 2001–03.

Service in ACS offices: Eastern New York Section: councilor, 1998–2022; Education Committee, 1993–; alternate councilor, 1995–97.

Member: Member of ACS since 1986. Society for Applied Spectroscopy; International Sol-Gel Society; Materials Research Society; Sigma Xi. ACS Divisions: American Association of Chemistry Teachers; Analytical Chemistry; Chemical Education; Colloid and Surface Chemistry; Inorganic Chemistry; Polymer Chemistry; Small Chemical Businesses.

Related activities: Fulbright Specialist Roster (chemistry education), 2021–25; Union College, director, undergraduate research, 2005–08, associate professor, 1998–2005, assistant professor, 1992–98; Union College Chemistry Club (ACS student chapter) faculty advisor, 2018, 2013, 1994–09; Student Awards Committee, New York Section, Society for Applied Spectroscopy, 2006–12, chair, 2006–12; University at Buffalo, research assistant professor, 1997–2000; University of Massachusetts Amherst, postdoc, 1991–92; Indiana University, lecturer, 1990; published 50 journal articles and several book chapters; holds three patents.

Carroll’s statement

I am proud to be an American Chemical Society member and volunteer and truly honored to be a candidate for 2023 president-elect.

Our professional and home lives have been upended by a global pandemic. Society as a whole is also dealing with other significant challenges, including systemic racism, inequality, and global climate change. ACS provides connectivity, networking, and continued professional development for its members and, with and through its members, is making significant contributions to society as a whole via ongoing education, research, advocacy, and outreach activities. As a result, I find it relatively easy to articulate and demonstrate the benefits of ACS membership to students and colleagues. Moreover, the upending of our usual structures provides us with an opportunity to renew our focus on two fundamental questions:.

What is ACS uniquely positioned to do?

That is, where can our collective expertise and efforts have the most significant impact? We must focus our efforts there. The global pandemic has demonstrated unambiguously the critical importance of performing and publishing rigorous scientific work, educating students, and communicating science to elected officials and other members of the general public. Simply put, science matters.

As an established teacher-scholar and entrepreneur, who is an active participant in my local section and in national ACS governance, I have had the privilege of contributing to shaping and furthering the goals of our society. For our society to have the most influence and impact, ACS needs to nurture and maintain an engaged and diverse membership, capable of taking a multi-pronged approach:

Leading in evidence-based scientific education.

Providing venues and journals for the dissemination of pure and applied research to the scientific community.

Emphasizing the value to society of ethically and safely conducted pure and applied science, and describing that science in terms that can be understood by members of the public.

Encouraging ACS units and individual members to engage in public outreach activities.

Enhancing advocacy for policies based on and supporting sound science.

Working to ensure that our community recruits a diverse membership, and subsequently respects the experiences, engages the talents, and welcomes the contributions of all our members.

How best can ACS engage the talents of all its members to do those things?

In a time of rapid change, ACS must articulate and demonstrate the value of membership to new and continuing members when they are students, throughout their careers, into retirement, and wherever their paths take them. If elected to the presidential succession, I will support efforts to better represent and involve all members in impactful activities for the benefit of ACS and society.

Although ACS has made important progress toward ensuring that our community of chemical professionals treats all its members with respect, including those from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences and our LGBTQ+ colleagues, there is still work to be done in this area. I am committed to advancing the ACS core value of diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect.

ACS has a well-deserved reputation among professional societies for robust member volunteerism at the local and national levels. The established ACS governance structures enable and support continuous efforts but have traditionally required long-term commitments and travel to meetings. As a result, ACS has underutilized the talents of some members, including technicians and other industrial professionals, international members, high school and 2-year college faculty members, as well as both early-​​career and senior chemists.

During the pandemic, it has become obvious that a considerable amount of professional activity can be accomplished remotely. I am committed to working within the governance structure to provide more focused, short-term opportunities for members with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences to contribute meaningfully, in ways that amplify their diverse perspectives, to initiatives that further the ACS goals.

Regardless of the outcome of this election, I will work constructively, respectfully, collaboratively, and creatively with you to advance ACS for its members and society. Although I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even all the questions, I do have a considerable track record of leading positive, collaborative teams that get things done. If I am elected, I will work within existing ACS structures to effect change, amplifying the work of committees, local sections and divisions, international science chapters, and student chapters, rather than focusing on starting new initiatives from scratch.

It would be an honor to serve as president-elect and I thank you for your consideration. For more information, or to contact me with questions and suggestions, please visit my website:


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