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ChemLuminary Awards celebrate ACS’s volunteers

Top honors go to local sections, divisions, international chapters, and regional meetings

by Linda Wang
September 28, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 38

 

The American Chemical Society recognized volunteer efforts in 2018 by the society’s 185 local sections, 32 technical divisions, 23 international chemical sciences chapters, and at least eight regional meetings at the 21st annual ChemLuminary Awards celebration during the ACS national meeting in San Diego in August.

“Without all of you, we would not be the society we are today,” ACS president Bonnie Charpentier said in her opening remarks. “You are the epitome of dynamic volunteerism, and tonight it is because of each of you that this year’s ChemLuminary Awards theme is ‘ACS Volunteers: The Essential Elements of Our Success.’ ”

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Credit: Scott Henrichsen Fotography
Carolyn Ribes delivers her award address.

Carolyn Ribes, recipient of the 2019 Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society, gave the keynote lecture, titled “Core Elements of Volunteerism.”

Ribes, a business analytical leader at Dow in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, was honored for her impactful leadership, an extraordinary commitment to diversity, and tireless volunteerism to ACS at the local, divisional, and national levels. She has led several ACS units toward meeting strategically important objectives while broadening and developing the pool of ACS volunteer leaders.

In her speech, she spoke about motivation, identifying volunteers, development, and recognition. “When it comes to the core elements of volunteerism, I think we do a pretty good job within ACS,” Ribes said. “I can see the evidence of this as I look across this room and think about the thousands of hours of volunteer time that you all have contributed to the society.”

Other ChemLuminary Awards presented in San Diego are as follows:.

Committee on Public Relations and Communications

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Credit: Scott Henrichsen Fotography
Frankie Wood-Black (center) accepts the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach from Amber Charlebois (left), chair of the Committee on Public Relations and Communications, and ACS president Bonnie Charpentier.

The 2019 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach was presented to Frankie Wood-Black. Wood-Black writes a weekly science column for her local newspaper. She also serves as an ACS expert and has commented on topics such as tattoo inks and pool safety. She wrote a book on how to safely perform hands-on science.

The Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section award went to the Nashville Local Section for hosting hands-on public outreach events as part of the Tennessee STEAM Festival. More than 20,000 people participated in the events.

The award for Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section went to the Silicon Valley Section for organizing free performances about women scientists at college campuses in the Silicon Valley region. More than 1,000 people attended the events.

Women Chemists Committee

The award for Outstanding Women Chemists Local Section Event went to the East Central Illinois Local Section for its Bonding with Chemistry camp, which hosted 120 girls from several local middle schools over two separate weekends.

Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs

The Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award went to the Greater Houston Section, which organized a career fair where career consultants led workshops and held résumé reviews.

Younger Chemists Committee

The Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee award went to the East Central Illinois Local Section, which worked closely with local organizations to serve the community. Highlights include a seminar series on mental health and science demonstrations.

The award for Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event went to the Georgia Section. The section’s Younger Chemists Committee invited a panel of Atlanta-based scientists to talk to younger chemists about how they got started in their careers and how to create a healthy work-life balance.

Committee on Chemists with Disabilities

The Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award went to the New York Local Section, which held a daylong symposium on methods for adapting chemistry lectures and laboratories for students with disabilities.

Committee on Divisional Activities

The award for Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division went to the Division of Energy and Fuels, which developed an energy and fuels award session for students conducting research at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The award for Most Unique Project as Funded by a Division Innovative Project Grant went to the Division of Chemical Health and Safety, which created a short cartoon video about performing lab risk assessments that can be downloaded from the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety website.

The Outstanding Local Section–Technical Division Collaboration award went to the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering and the New York Local Section, which organized a 1-day symposium on advances in space exploration.

Society Committee on Education

The award for Fostering Interactions between Local Sections and Student Chapters went to the Georgia Section, which worked with Georgia Gwinnett College’s ACS student-affiliates group to organize 18 events in 2018, including an all-day, hands-on science and technology workshop.

The Georgia Section also won the Outstanding US National Chemistry Olympiad award for its successful efforts to increase student participation in the 2018 competition by 300%. The local section developed a spreadsheet to help teachers better prepare students for the chemistry olympiad exams.

On a roll, the Georgia Section also won the Outstanding High School Student Program Award. The local section distributed teacher care packages to more than 70 K–12 institutions and engaged more than 7,000 high school students at outreach events.

The Outstanding Kids and Chemistry Award went to the Greater Houston Section, which held 36 events for precollege students and their families, attracting more than 12,000 participants.

Committee on Project SEED

The Outstanding Project SEED Program Award went to the New York Local Section. Of the section’s 46 Project SEED participants, 29 presented at the fall 2018 national meeting, and 2 received Project SEED scholarships.

Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs

The ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs went to the Chicago Section, which collaborated with the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois on a state advocacy workshop. Local section members also observed an Illinois Senate session and learned about the legislative process.

Committee on Environmental Improvement

The Outstanding Sustainability Activities award went to the Central New York Section, which partnered with a local high school and community groups to host a Green Chemistry Think Tank. The event featured demonstrations on composting, urban gardening, and recycling and included pizza and liquid-nitrogen ice cream.

Committee on Ethics

The Outstanding Local Section Programming Related to the Promotion of Ethics in Chemistry award went to the Silicon Valley Section. The section organized performances about women scientists for more than 1,000 attendees at four local colleges.

Leadership Advisory Board

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Credit: Scott Henrichsen Fotography
Larry Krannich (left), chair of the Leadership Advisory Board, and immediate past president Peter Dorhout (right) present a ChemLuminary Award to Chris Bannochie, Elise Fox, Katie Heroux and Kaitlin Lawrence of the Savannah River Local Section.

The Savannah River Local Section won the award for Outstanding Leadership Development Program for its work promoting leadership development through the ACS Leadership Development System. The Savannah River Local Section provided two successful courses in conjunction with the Southeastern Regional Meeting 2018.

Committee on Corporation Associates

The award for Outstanding Local Section Industry Event went to the Detroit Local Section, which sponsored a symposium on sustainable polymers. The poster session highlighted student work in the polymer field, and the networking segment allowed for discussions between the industry and academic speakers.

Committee on Technician Affairs

The Brazosport Local Sectionwon the award for Best Event or Activity Organized by, or Benefiting, the Applied Chemical Technology Professional Community. The Brazosport Local Section hosted a poster session and presentation with Dow’s Big Techs Organization. The event was open to all technicians in the area.

Committee on Minority Affairs

The award for Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee went to the Georgia Section, which held its May meeting in honor of pioneering chemist Percy Julian. The section awarded book scholarships to two graduating high school seniors. The event was attended by more than 100 people, and the majority were from underrepresented groups.

Committee on International Activities

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Credit: Scott Henrichsen Fotography
David Wu (left), chair of the International Activities Committee Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and ACS immediate past president Peter Dorhout (right) present a ChemLuminary Award to Mansour Al-Lahiani (second from left) and Sowelim Al-Shammary of the Saudi Arabia International Chemical Sciences Chapter.

The Global Engagement Award for International Chemical Sciences Chapters went to the Saudi Arabia International Chemical Sciences Chapter, which launched the Chemistry for Community workshop program. The program brought together 700 chemistry teachers for professional development training, which addressed effective teaching methods and reforms to the Saudi public education system.

The Global Engagement Award for Local Sections went to the Northeastern Section, which hosted 12 student delegates from the 2018 German Exchange Program. The students participated in a number of events with the section’s Younger Chemists Committee and attended national meeting technical sessions.

The Global Engagement Award for Technical Divisions went to the Division of Chemical Health and Safety, which helped facilitate a workshop in Kuala Lumpur, sponsored by the US State Department, on chemical safety and security best practices.

Senior Chemists Committee

The award for the Most Innovative Activity in a Local Section for Senior Chemists went to the Lehigh Valley Section. The section hosted an event for senior chemists and K–12 and undergraduate students in which everyone shared their expertise.

The award for Best Ongoing Senior Activity in a Local Section That Benefits the Community, Local Schools, or Legislative Government went to the Corning Local Section. Retired chemists conducted hands-on activities for more than 200 students at area schools during National Chemistry Week. The retired chemists also visited schools throughout the school year.

Committee on Meetings and Expositions

The award for Outstanding Regional Meeting went to the 2017 Southeastern Regional Meeting. The Carolina Piedmont Local Section hosted the 2017 Southeastern Regional Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. A record number of attendees participated; programming included 69 oral presentations, 328 poster presentations, and six workshops.

Committee on Community Activities

The award for Best National Chemistry Week (NCW) Event Organized by a Student Group went to the Mississippi Local Section, which worked with local students to produce their biggest celebration to date of NCW. Events including a rally, bake sale, photo contest, seminars, and tailgate extravaganza.

The award for Most Creative and Innovative Use of the Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) Theme went to the Virginia Local Section, which organized a successful CCEW event at the Science Museum of Virginia.

The award for Most Creative NCW Celebration Using the Yearly Theme went to the Binghamton Local Section, which hosted NCW activities at the Kopernik Observatory in New York. The section engaged the public in space chemistry with 10 themed hands-on activities. The award for

Outstanding Community Involvement in CCEW went to the Northeastern Section, which hosted an event involving 80 science educators from 10 organizations. The event reached more than 700 members of the public.

The award for Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW went to the Georgia Section, which involved more than 9,400 community members in NCW events in 2018. Attendees came from 76 educational institutions, including 36 high schools, 15 middle schools, and 25 elementary schools.

The award for Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience went to the Orange County Section, which hosted its annual Science at the Zoo event. The section handed out free admission for local residents.

The award for Outstanding Ongoing CCEW Event went to the Midland Section, which has hosted its annual CCEW Expo for 15 years in a row, 14 of them in partnership with the Midland Center for the Arts.

The award for Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event went to the Princeton Section, which has conducted its NCW event for 19 consecutive years. Since 2000, the event has become community-wide with more than 130 volunteers from high schools, Princeton University, other colleges, and industry.

The award for Outstanding Public Outreach Event Organized by a Student Group went to the Alaska Local Section, which partnered with the University of Alaska Anchorage Chemistry Club on outreach as part of the 2018 Science Olympiad.

The ChemAttitudes Partnership Award, given jointly by the Committee on Community Activities, Committee on Local Section Activities, and Society Committee on Education, went to the Kentucky Lake Local Section, which served over 500 children with the Let’s Do Chemistry kit.

Committee on Local Section Activities

The award for Best Activity or Program Stimulating Member Involvement went to the Upper Peninsula Local Section, which livestreamed the keynote address from its 2018 Student Research Symposium. The section also livestreamed several other events throughout the year, including its science café.

The Local Section Partnership Award went to the Indiana Section for its involvement in the annual Celebrate Science Festival, which attracted over 3,000 participants.

The award for Most Innovative New Activity or Program went to the Chicago Local Section, which created a crowdsourcing activity to help identify people in historical photos. As subjects are identified, facial-recognition algorithms are applied to automatically propagate information across other photos in the archive.

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The Outstanding Performance Awards by a Local Section recognize local sections that have demonstrated excellent overall achievement by offering multiple programs for members and reaching out to their communities. Local section size categories are determined by the number of members: small, fewer than 200; medium-small, 200–399; medium, 400–799; medium-large, 800–1,599; large, 1,600–3,199; and very large, 3,200 and above.

In the small category, the Outstanding Performance Award by a Local Section went to the Kentucky Lake Local Section, which increased attendance by rotating meetings through four regional locations, attracting students, as well as academic and industrial members.

In the medium-small category, the Outstanding Performance Award by a Local Section went to the Savannah River Local Section. Notable achievements included the development of a strategic plan, modernization of communication materials, and execution of the Southeastern Regional Meeting.

In the medium category, the Outstanding Performance Award by a Local Section went to the Midland Section, which celebrated its centennial in 2018. Volunteers organized more than 100 events in the Great Lakes Bay region.

In the medium-large category, the Outstanding Performance Award by a Local Section went to the Portland Local Section. Among the section’s highlights is organizing the 3rd Annual Oregon Science Startup Forum.

In the large category, the Outstanding Performance Award by a Local Section went to the Greater Houston Section. In 2018, the section focused on using technology and social media to support its many events.

In the very large category, the Outstanding Performance Award by a Local Section went to the New York Local Section, which organized more than 90 events. In addition, 22 leaders from the section served on 19 national ACS committees.

For information on the ChemLuminary Awards or to see more photos, visit www.acs.org/chemluminary.

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