Student Affiliates Answer Presidential Video Challenge | January 12, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 2 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 2 | p. 48 | Awards
Issue Date: January 12, 2009

Student Affiliates Answer Presidential Video Challenge

Recipients are honored for contributions of major significance to chemistry
Department: ACS News
We are the student affiliate of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. Our video highlights the transition from childhood to chemist.
Student Affiliates Presidential Challenge
This is the 2008 Presidential Challenge Video for SAACS.

Four American Chemical Society student affiliate chapters have each won $1,000 for producing short videos that communicate the theme “Putting a Human Face on Chemistry.” The winning chapters are Tennessee Tech University, in Cookeville; Claflin University, in Orangeburg, S.C.; University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Va.; and the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

Last year, Thomas H. Lane, then ACS president-elect, invited chapters around the country to submit a three- to five-minute video as part of his Presidential Video Challenge. The videos were judged on clarity of message, creativity, and whether or not they were appropriate for their target age group, K–8 students. The winners were selected from a total of 23 submissions.

Lane says the idea for the video challenge came to him during the student affiliate awards ceremony at last spring’s ACS national meeting in New Orleans. “I knew that by giving the challenge to the students that something cool and innovative would happen. They just have so much energy, and they are so good at communicating,” he says. “Each video tells a message about the importance of chemistry in its own way.”

Both the Tennessee Tech and Claflin student affiliate chapters showed what the world would be like without everyday products such as plastics, sunscreen, and toothpaste. Mary Washington’s chapter highlighted the diversity of chemists in a humorous way. And the Rio Piedras chapter produced a Spanish-language video with English subtitles about the relationships that can be formed through chemistry.

The students learned a lot about chemistry in the process of producing the videos. “They learned how chemistry affects us every day, every second, and in everything that we do,” says Angela W. Peters, adviser to the student affiliate chapter at Claflin. They also had a great time, she says.

Ingrid Montes, adviser to the chapter at Rio Piedras, says that the video challenge created an opportunity for the undergraduates to work with graduate students. “It’s very nice how former members of the student affiliate chapter are still involved with the group,” Montes says. She adds that they decided to do the video in Spanish so they could expand their reach to minorities.

Lane says he will link to the videos from his presidential website. He will also use them in his presentations as he visits various communities and local sections. “We’re going to use them as an example of how you can reach out and engage younger people to help them understand what we as chemists do,” he says.

The winning videos can be viewed on YouTube at


Linda Wang compiles this section. Announcements of awards may be sent to

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