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For District IV Director: Will E. Lynch

by Will E. Lynch
September 6, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 36

Will E. Lynch

Coastal Georgia Section. Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Ga.

Academic record: Kalamazoo College, B.A., 1986; Wayne State University, Ph.D., 1991

Honors: ACS Coastal Georgia Section Service Award, 1999; Alumni Award for Service to the Discipline, Armstrong Atlantic State University, 2004; Sigma Xi

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Armstrong Atlantic State University, chemistry department head, 2006 to date, professor, 2005 to date, associate professor, 1997–2005, assistant professor, 1993–97

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Committees, 2008–10; Council Policy Committee (nonvoting), 2005–07; Committee on Local Section Activities, 2002–07, chair, 2005–07, committee associate, 2000–01; Committee on Planning, 2005–07

Service in ACS offices: Member of ACS since 1987. Coastal Georgia Section: councilor, 1999–2010; chair, 2009, 1997; chair-elect, 1996; editor of Noble Gas, 2006, 1997–2000; Executive Committee, member, 1996 to date. Southeastern Regional Meeting: Bioinorganic Modeling symposium, organizer, 2006; technical program chair, 1998–2001; Steering Committee, 1997–2001; 125th Anniversary of ACS symposium, organizer, 2001; Charles Herty & the Savannah Pulp & Paper Laboratory symposium, organizer, National Historic Chemical Landmark Symposium, 2001; Advances in Modern Inorganic Laboratories symposium, organizer, 2001. Southeastern Region: past-chair, 2006; chair, 2005; chair-elect, 2004

Member: American Physical Society, Council on Undergraduate Research, Chemical Heritage Foundation. ACS Divisions: Chemical Education, Inorganic Chemistry

Related activities:University of Georgia, postdoctoral fellow, 1991–93; U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, college mentor, 2008, 2007; Project SEED, coordinator, 2003; ACS Student Affiliates, adviser, 1996–99

Lynch’s Statement

For the past 20 years, I have had the honor and privilege of being a member of ACS, cultivating friendships, participating in professional development opportunities, and extending my network of colleagues. I have learned that by active participation, one can get more out of the society by giving.

In the Coastal Georgia Section, I have held many positions, including councilor for the past 11 years. Nationally, my time as a member and chair of the Local Section Activities Committee (LSAC) and the Committee on Committees has broadened my perspective on ACS and highlighted for me the society’s strengths and areas for opportunity. I have also previously participated on the Board Planning Committee, helping to shape the strategic plan of the society. These ACS experiences have helped me to formulate goals for a term on the ACS Board as director of District IV.

Today I draw your attention to the areas I would like to focus on as a board member to help expand our society’s future. Thematic areas include strengthening our position in interdisciplinary science, using technology to enhance our chemical community, and capturing and engaging our young and industrial chemists as tomorrow’s leaders.

Interdisciplinarity of Science. As a member of the American Physical Society, I often read the great “chemistry” in its journals. One strength of ACS is the outstanding publication and meeting infrastructure; we must continue to enhance the quality and diversity of these activities. As science continues to mature, we must continue to expand our interactions across traditional chemical disciplines as well as across other scientific professions. We need to engage in greater dialogue with materials scientists, our molecular and cellular colleagues, and others working in the physical, electronic, optical, and biological communities.

We can accomplish this via new models within our meeting, publication, and local section infrastructure. My involvement as technical program chair for the 2001 ACS Southeastern Regional Meeting (SERMACS) convinced me of the need to enhance our society’s leadership in interdisciplinary activities. While on LSAC, using Innovative Project Grants and in collaboration with the Divisional Activities Committee, I supported efforts to improve the technical quality and diversity of events at the local level. We are now seeing the impact of these activities, but additional innovations must be developed.

Technology and Community Building. During a planning summit for LSAC a few years ago, a clear message came from the membership: Community is critical to the success of the society. One challenging aspect of this concept is that chemists engage in community in many varied ways, such as through local section events, professional and technical meetings, and increasingly important technology-based activities.

ACS has achieved great advances using technology to strengthen technical content through Web-based journals, leadership training, national meeting presentations, and the newest outlet, the Journal of the American Chemical Society’s Beta site. These are great examples of how technology enhances our members’ sense of connection with the discipline. We need to translate these successful activities to positively affect all chemists, especially at the local level.

We are beginning to use Web resources to engage and enhance community at the local level in venues such as local section meetings and Science Cafés. We have started to build virtual communities through the ACS Network to engage all chemists. We must continue to look toward technology to strengthen the society; there are many opportunities to take advantage of—and we can’t miss the next Facebook.

Engaging Tomorrow’s Chemists. We have long had a strong and vibrant Student Affiliate program in ACS. Unfortunately, far too many young chemists—many of whom become industrial chemists—are fully engaged as student affiliate members but do not participate in or maintain their involvement with the society upon graduation.

Where is the disconnect? I have seen and worked firsthand on this issue in the Coastal Georgia Section, and I don’t have an answer. The transition of student affiliates to student members was a significant step in the right direction. However, we need a giant leap to expand our society. I would like to see us engage student members in real dialogue and personally champion this work. Let us together find a way to make the conversion from student member to engaged member a reality.

These are but a few ideas in which I would like to see the society become more enthusiastically engaged and ones I would highlight should I have the honor of being elected. I ask for your vote to represent you as District IV director.


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