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For president-elect: Mary K. Carroll

by Mary K. Carroll
September 4, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 34


This is a photo of 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, chemistry, 1986; Indiana University, Bloomington, PhD, analytical chemistry, 1991.

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2016; 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 past 10 years): Union College, Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Chemistry, 2017–; Professor, 2005–17; chair, Chemistry Department, 2008–11; Sunthru LLC, chief science officer, 2013–.

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Science, committee associate 2019–20; Leadership Advisory Board, 2018–19, committee associate, 2014–17; Board/Council Policy Committee Task Force on Governance Design, cochair, 2016–19; Committee on Planning, 2017; Council Policy Committee, (voting) 2013–18, vice-chair, 2017–18, 2010–12 (nonvoting); Committee on Education, 2005–12, chair, 2010–12, committee associate, 2001–04; ACS Strategic Plan Education Goal Working Group, 2011, chair, 2011; Program Review Advisory Group, 2010–11; Advisory Board, Graduate Education, 2010–12; Women Chemists Committee, 2004, committee associate, 2001–03.

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

Member: ACS member 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; Inorganic Chemistry; Polymer Chemistry; and Small Chemical Businesses.

Related activities: 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 47 journal articles and three book chapters; three patents.

Carroll’s statement

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

We are all currently living and working under unanticipated circumstances. At this difficult time, when our professional and home lives have been upended by a global pandemic, ACS provides connectivity, networking, and continued professional development for its members. With and through its members, ACS is making significant contributions to society as a whole via ongoing education, research, publication, and advocacy and outreach activities.

It is still too early to fully scope the mid- and long-range impact of the pandemic on the chemical enterprise and its workforce, on scientific research, and on science education at all levels. Although it is clear that there will be continued disruptions, I believe that the Core Values, as stated in the ACS Strategic Plan, place us in a strong position to rise to the upcoming challenges as we work together to move the Society forward:

Passion for Chemistry and the Global Chemistry Enterprise
Focus on Members
Professionalism, Safety, and Ethics
Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

At this difficult time, I am pleased to note that 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 three fundamental questions:

What is ACS uniquely positioned to do? That is, where can our collective expertise and efforts have the most significant impact? 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 members of the general public. Simply put, science matters. As an established teacher-scholar, recent entrepreneur, and 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. ACS, through its programs, journals, and policy statements, has taken and must continue to assert a leadership role in supporting and promoting scientific advancements, science education, and the use of science to inform policy decisions at all levels. And ACS must do this while supporting, encouraging, and involving all ACS 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, while they are students, throughout their careers, into retirement, and wherever their paths take them. It is critically important for ACS to encourage members to be lifelong learners, prepared to build upon their education and gain expertise in areas that might not even exist today, and establish and continually cultivate their professional networks. To this end, ACS offers an outstanding array of professional and leadership-development programs. ACS has a well-deserved reputation among other professional societies for robust member volunteerism at the local and national levels. And ACS has made important progress in 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. However, the established ACS governance structures, which enable and support continuous efforts, have traditionally required long-term commitments and travel to meetings. These structures underutilize the talents of some members, including technicians, industrial professionals, international members, faculty members in high schools and 2-year colleges, and early-career and senior chemists. In the past few months, we have demonstrated that it is possible to accomplish much more while working remotely than many of us realized. I am committed to working within the governance structure to provide more focused, short-term opportunities for members with a broad diversity of backgrounds and experiences to contribute meaningfully to initiatives that further the ACS Goals.

What can, and what should, ACS do? No one person has all the answers. Indeed, in this turbulent time, we cannot even be certain of all the questions. Regardless of the outcome of this election, I commit to working constructively, respectfully, collaboratively, and creatively with you to advance ACS for its members and ­society. It would be an honor to do so as president-elect, and I thank you for your consideration. Please visit my website for more information:

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