Issue Date: October 1, 2012
Stars Of ACS
The American Chemical Society’s dedicated volunteers, who together have logged thousands of hours of service to their professional society, earned their place in the spotlight during the 14th Annual ChemLuminary Awards celebration at the fall ACS national meeting in Philadelphia.
The theme of the celebration was “ACS Volunteers: Our Heritage, Our Future.” Awards were presented by ACS committees in recognition of outstanding volunteer efforts in 2011 by ACS’s 187 local sections and 32 technical divisions.
“As we look back on the achievements of our local sections, divisions, regional meetings, and committees, we have much to be proud of, and we are confident in the future,” ACS President Bassam Z. Shakhashiri said in his opening remarks. “Without you, we would not be the society we are today.”
Ingrid Montes, a professor of chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, and winner of this year’s Award for Volunteer Service to ACS, delivered the keynote address, “Service: A Footprint from and for Your Heart.”
She spoke about how volunteering has affected her own life and her career. “ACS has given me many opportunities to serve and take my footprint far beyond what I ever imagined,” she said. “In each task, I put in my passion for chemistry and a little of myself, and I get back a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and a lot of love.”
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC RELATIONS & COMMUNICATIONS
The first award, the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach, was presented to Ron Perkins, a former high school teacher and retired entrepreneur. Established in 1995, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of public outreach by an ACS member.
Perkins has encouraged a generation of students, science teachers, and chemistry professionals to be passionate demonstrators and educators. He has presented more than 800 chemistry demonstrations over five decades.
The Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section Award went to the Georgia Section for its emphasis on public relations during its outreach events at career expos and at high school and college science fairs.
The Award for Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section went to the Chicago Section for its production of eight videos featuring interviews with chemists along with footage from the section’s Chemistry Day activities. The videos were promoted through social media and reached approximately 1,000 scientists, educators, students, and members of the public.
WOMEN CHEMISTS COMMITTEE
The Best WCC Program for IYC (International Year of Chemistry) 2011 Award went to the Chicago Section for developing the Marie S. Curie Girl Scout Chemistry Day Patch for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana. Girls earn the patch by interacting with women role models and learning about chemistry and chemistry-related careers.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC & PROFESSIONAL AFFAIRS
The Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award in the small to medium-large size category went to the Virginia Section for providing an expanded career fair at the 2011 Southeastern Regional Meeting. The event included career-related workshops, résumé reviews, and a speed interview activity.
The large to very large size category award went to the St. Louis Section for its Career Resources Program, which offers career management workshops, networking opportunities, and career consulting. More than 400 professionals took advantage of the program in 2011 to enhance their careers and employability.
YOUNGER CHEMISTS COMMITTEE
The Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event Award went to the Michigan State University Section. To increase outreach during the summer months, the section’s YCC presented hands-on activities at 4-H events and YMCA camps. The effort was so successful that the section was asked to return in 2012.
The Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Award went to the Chicago Section for hosting a variety of activities for younger chemists. The section held six well-attended events, which resulted in more younger chemists attending section meetings and volunteering to help with local activities.
The Outstanding New Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Award went to the Central Texas Section. The section’s YCC collaborated with three local student chapters to host nine activities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and young faculty. Activities included an undergraduate symposium and a graduate recruiting fair.
COMMITTEE ON DIVISIONAL ACTIVITIES
Four divisions were recognized for innovative programs and outstanding service to their members.
The Division of Business Development & Management was recognized for sponsoring a symposium on water, which supported the theme of the spring 2011 ACS national meeting in Anaheim, Calif., “Chemistry of Natural Resources.”
The Division of Organic Chemistry was recognized for annually awarding its summer undergraduate research fellowships to outstanding organic chemistry students.
The Division of Professional Relations was recognized for creating diversity-oriented subdivisions to provide dedicated programs, networking, and professional development to further advance the division’s mission.
The Rubber Division was recognized for working with industry chief executive officers and university presidents to build a partnership to expand the Rubber Expo.
COMMITTEES ON DIVISIONAL ACTIVITIES AND LOCAL SECTION ACTIVITIES
The Outstanding Collaboration between a Division & Local Section Award went to the Division of the History of Chemistry and the Chicago Section, which jointly held the “Gibbs Medal Centennial Symposium” and reception during the fall 2011 ACS national meeting in Denver. The symposium, cosponsored by six divisions and one ACS committee, featured talks on ethics in chemistry by past and current Chicago Section chairs and previous Gibbs medalists.
SOCIETY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
The Award for Fostering Interactions between Local Sections & Student Chapters went to the Puerto Rico Section for its work with student chapters on an IYC celebration, five outreach events, seven science cafés, and a green chemistry workshop and fashion show that ended with a party to honor the more than 400 student volunteers who were involved. The section also established a new student chapter in 2011.
The Outstanding High School Student Program Award went to the North Jersey Local Section, which was recognized for its participation in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, Merck State Science Day, Project SEED, and various professional development activities for teachers.
The Outstanding Kids & Chemistry Award went to the Detroit Section for conducting a variety of programs, from classroom visits to museum events. More than 65 volunteers engaged in outreach activities, bringing the excitement of chemistry to nearly 1,000 kids and their families.
COMMITTEE ON PROJECT SEED
The Outstanding Project SEED Program Award went to the New York Section for its successful program. More than 60 students participated, and eight students won Project SEED college scholarships.
COMMITTEE ON CHEMISTRY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs went to the Minnesota Section. Section members partnered with state legislators to sponsor a resolution honoring IYC. Members also participated in a legislative summit, visiting 40 members of the state House of Representatives and Senate, which brought new volunteers into ACS advocacy activities.
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT
The Outstanding Sustainability Activities Award went to the Brazosport Section. The Brazosport Sustainability of Water Series raised public and local business awareness with the “Water in Our World” exhibit at Sea Center Texas and the Pennies for PUR Water project, which collected more than $3,400 for water purification efforts in developing nations. The section also held a public seminar titled “Meeting the Needs of the Water-Energy Nexus.”
LEADERSHIP ADVISORY BOARD
The Outstanding Leadership Development Program Award went to the St. Louis Section for organizing two ACS Leadership Development System courses: “Collaborating across Boundaries,” and “Developing Communication Strategies.” The workshops, which were held during the 2011 Joint Midwest/Great Lakes Regional Meeting, attracted participants from industry and academia.
COMMITTEE ON MINORITY AFFAIRS
The Award for Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee went to the Puerto Rico Section. The section reached more than 50 teachers, thousands of K–12 students, and thousands more people in the community with its events based on the IYC themes of environment, energy, materials, and health.
INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE
The International Year of Chemistry 2011 Award in the local section category went to the California Section for producing a “Technology Milestones in Chemistry” poster series illustrating how chemistry has transformed lives. The posters were displayed at Pacifichem 2010 in Hawaii and during the official IYC opening ceremony in Paris in January 2011. The Korean Chemical Society converted the posters into a book and distributed 3,000 copies to Korean libraries, and the Hungarian Chemical Society converted the posters into a digital book.
The International Year of Chemistry 2011 Award in the division category went to the Division of Analytical Chemistry. The division awarded 20 grants to undergraduate and graduate institutions to support outreach projects informing the public about the significance of analytical chemistry in the IYC themes of environment, energy, materials, and health.
The International Year of Chemistry 2011 Award in the committee category went to the Committee on Community Activities for its role in spreading the word about IYC. The committee produced four editions of the publication Celebrating Chemistry and made them available in both English and Spanish. They also produced short videos demonstrating hands-on activities.
COMMITTEE ON CHEMISTS WITH DISABILITIES
The Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award went to the Southern Illinois Section for helping to assemble disability advocates to discuss assistive technology solutions to address the challenges and needs of students who are blind or have low vision, particularly in laboratory settings.
COMMITTEE ON MEETINGS & EXPOSITIONS
The Outstanding Regional Meeting Award went to the Joint Southeastern/Southwest Regional Meeting 2010. The meeting attracted 1,736 attendees and included 1,235 oral and poster technical sessions. The program also featured 13 workshops, a high school program, and an undergraduate program with the largest number of oral and poster presentations ever in a regional meeting undergraduate program.
COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
The Award for Outstanding Community Involvement in National Chemistry Week (NCW) went to the Dallas-Fort Worth Section for sponsoring a weeklong event at Fort Worth Museum of Science & History, which included demonstrations by more than 120 college students representing eight local university chemistry clubs.
The award for Outstanding Community Involvement in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day went to the Virginia Section. Activities were held at a math and science fair and at local schools and attracted more than 8,000 people. Volunteers included section members and faculty and students from nearby colleges.
The Award for Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience went to the Western New York Section for presenting NCW demonstrations at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, in Buffalo.
The Award for Best ChemClub NCW Event went to the Syracuse Section, which joined the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund’s fund-raising event for breast cancer research. More than 1,000 runners were presented with health-themed demonstrations, activities, and information guides.
The Award for Best Student Member NCW Event went to the Puerto Rico Section. Its IYC festivals, held in conjunction with NCW, drew more than 200 volunteers from the various Puerto Rico student chapters.
The Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event Award went to the Cleveland Section for its 24th straight year of organizing NCW activities. The hands-on program puts chemistry in the context of a water park visit by ACS’s mole mascots, Milli and Avogadro.
The Award for Most Creative NCW Celebration Using the Yearly Theme went to the Northeastern Section, which held three NCW events with hands-on activities such as making hand sanitizer.
The Award for Creative & Innovative Use of the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Theme went to the California Section, which partnered with other community organizations to celebrate Earth Day on April 16, 2011, at John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, Calif. The National Park Service estimated that 2,500 people attended the event.
COMMITTEE ON LOCAL SECTION ACTIVITIES
The Award for Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement went to the California Section for initiating a monthly series of science cafés. The series was highly successful, providing networking opportunities for members and nonmembers.
The Award for the Most Innovative New Activity or Program went to the Middle Georgia Section, which sponsored a tour and discussion about chemists buried in a local cemetery that united local history with various disciplines of chemistry.
The Local Section Partnership Award went to the Syracuse Section for its participation in the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund’s fund-raising event for breast cancer research, which included a 5K and a 15K walk/run, followed by health-themed demonstrations and activities.
Outstanding Performance Awards recognize local sections that have demonstrated excellent overall achievement offering multiple programs for members and reaching out to the community. Local section size categories are determined by the number of members: small, 50–199; 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 winner was the Southwest Georgia Section for its activities—including Science Saturday, two poetry contests, and five IYC-themed seminars—that increased section meeting attendance by 80%.
In the medium-small category, the winner was the Savannah River Section. Savannah River created its first outreach program targeted at its Hispanic community. Members integrated the IYC theme into their quarterly activities and conducted outreach events at elementary schools.
In the medium category, the winner was the Richland Section, which sponsored travel awards and a quilt contest for students, who created two quilts to recognize the Nobel Laureates in chemistry.
In the medium-large category, the winner was the Lehigh Valley Section, which hosted presentations by notable scientists on topics as diverse as climate change and military research.
In the large category, the winner was the San Diego Section for its popular outreach events, including a lecture series on medicinal chemistry organized by the section’s YCC. Other events included a “Globalization of Chemistry” event and an NCW ChemExpo.
In the very large category, the winner was the California Section. The section was honored for successful NCW activities, a monthly series of science cafés, and very active YCC and WCC groups. The section also sponsored 40 Project SEED students.
For more information about the ChemLuminary Awards, and to see more photos from this year’s celebration, visit www.acs.org/chemluminary.
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