Issue Date: January 30, 2012
Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society
Sponsored by ACS
“A dynamic leader inspired by a love of chemistry, Ingrid del Carmen Montes-González serves ACS, her profession, her colleagues, and her students with unparalleled zeal and dedication,” says Catherine H. Middlecamp, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Through her volunteer efforts, Montes-González, a professor of chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, has touched countless lives, but “her real strength is in the ripple effect of her volunteer work. She in turn has empowered hundreds, if not thousands, of students to serve others,” Middlecamp adds.
“Because Ingrid has indoctrinated her students into volunteerism, her good work will continue on for generations,” adds Helen M. Free, who served as ACS president in 1993.
Since joining ACS more than 30 years ago, Montes-González has “left her mark on numerous groups,” Middlecamp says, including the Society Committee on Education(SOCED), the Division of Chemical Education, and the Committee on Community Activities.
“Colleagues describe her as a community builder and caring mentor who exhibits the integrity, sincerity, enthusiasm, and professionalism that leads to broad impact wherever she serves,” says Sister Mary Virginia Orna, a professor of chemistry at the College of New Rochelle, in New York.
Montes-González, 53, has long been active in local, regional, and national ACS meetings. Most notably, she served as general chair of the 2009 ACS Southeastern Regional Meeting, held in San Juan, P.R. In that role, she “contributed an energy and enthusiasm that brought together hundreds of students from Puerto Rico as well as chemists from far and wide,” Free says.
In addition to organizing many other meetings and events in Puerto Rico, Montes-González has made major contributions within the ACS Puerto Rico Section. For example, during the 21 years that she served as the section’s National Chemistry Week (NCW) coordinator, the section earned eight NCW ChemLuminary Awards. In addition, she served as the coordinator for Chemists Celebrate Earth Day, helping the section earn two more ChemLuminary Awards.
For 22 years, Montes-González has led the ACS student affiliates chapter at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Benefitting from her gifts as a mentor, the chapter has been recognized by SOCED as an Outstanding Chapter for the past 14 years. She has a long history with the university, where she earned a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1980 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1985.
Montes-González has received the Leonardo Igaravidez Award and the Award for Excellence in Education from the Puerto Rico Section. She is also an ACS Fellow.
Montes-González says she is “very honored” to have been chosen to receive the ACS Award for Volunteer Service, which recognizes her long-standing mission to serve her profession, her students, and the community in general. When visiting schools and working with teachers and students through demonstrations or other means, “it is very rewarding for me to see their faces and experience their enthusiasm,” she says. “I realize that they are feeling the same passion that I feel for chemistry.”
Montes-González will present the award address during the ACS ChemLuminary Awards at the fall national meeting in Philadelphia.
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