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ACS honors its 2023 Outreach Volunteers of the Year

Evonne Baldauff of the Pittsburgh Section is named the global winner

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
March 9, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 9


Demonstrator stands behind a lab bench holding up a test tube.
Credit: Heidi Fletcher
Evonne Baldauff (center) introduces visitors to acids, bases, and indicators during a Waynesburg University ACS Student Chapter event organized for National Chemistry Week 2022.

The American Chemical Society’s Committee on Community Activities recognizes 27 members with its 2023 Outreach Volunteer of the Year Awards. The program rewards local section and international chapter volunteers for their extraordinary outreach efforts in chemistry.

Each year, one awardee is named the Global Outreach Volunteer of the Year. Evonne Baldauff, a professor of chemistry at Waynesburg University, is the 2023 global winner. She is being honored for her contributions to National Chemistry Week (NCW) activities in the ACS Pittsburgh Section, both as a volunteer for the past 15 years and as a coordinator since 2019.

Volunteers and children stand around a table with paper clips and kinetic sand laid out on it.
Credit: Courtesy of Soma Mukherjee
Soma Mukherjee (front right) and other volunteers from the Tennessee–Virginia Highlands Section use paper clips and kinetic sand to demonstrate polymer properties during National Chemistry Week 2022.

For NCW 2022, Baldauff organized an in-person event for around 70 high school students and their teachers at Carnegie Science Center’s laboratory facilities. She also worked with undergraduate ACS student chapters to mail 100 science experiment kits to school teachers around the Pittsburgh region so they could conduct NCW-themed activities in their classrooms.

“I love it when I show a kid a simple point about chemistry that they’ve never thought about before, and they get it, and give you a smile, and you see a spark in their eyes,” Baldauff says. “Those moments are what I love about outreach.”

I love it when I show a kid a simple point about chemistry that they’ve never thought about before, and they get it.
Evonne Baldauff, professor, Waynesburg University

This year’s local section and international chapter Outreach Volunteer of the Year winners are Daniel G. Abebe of the Brazosport Local Section, Erin Joy E. Araneta of the Orange County Section, Erin Avram of the Northeastern Ohio Local Section, Andy Axup of the Illinois-Iowa Local Section, Joseph Baker of the Trenton Local Section, Jesse D. Bernstein of the South Florida Local Section, Shirmir D. Branch of the Richland Section, Linda de la Garza of the Southwest Georgia Section, Erin Dotlich of the Indiana Local Section, Carmen Folk of the Detroit Section, Sharon L. Gardlund of the Southern Arizona Local Section, Carissa Hunter of the Virginia Section, Sandra Keyser of the North Jersey Section, Victoria Kompanijec of the Binghamton Local Section, Karen Kowlzan of the Central Massachusetts Local Section, Fran K. Kravitz of the Chicago Section, Keith H. Lawson of the Northern Oklahoma Local Section, Patrick S. Lee of the California Section, Safia Mohamed of the Greater Houston Section, Daisy Morales of the Puerto Rico Section, Soma Mukherjee of the Tennessee–Virginia Highlands Section, Michael J.-C. Nalbandian of the San Gorgonio Local Section, Candice Pelligra of the Philadelphia Section, Tom Rickhoff of the Joliet Section, Chuanbing Tang of the South Carolina Local Section, and Cheryl Trusty of the Georgia Section.

Volunteers stand behind a table that has a conical flask on it with blue foam spewing out.
Credit: Elaine A. Araneta
Erin Joy E. Araneta (center) and other volunteers from the Orange County Section demonstrate the “elephant toothpaste” experiment at the Orange Home Grown Farmers and Artisans Market.


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