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Honoring Outstanding Volunteers

ACS’s new recognition program praises individuals who have tirelessly served their local sections

by Linda Wang
June 24, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 25

Credit: Courtesy of the Washington-Idaho Border Section
Stelck’s Curious Chemistry Show is a hit with students.
Credit: Courtesy of the Washington-Idaho Border Section
Stelck’s Curious Chemistry Show is a hit with students.

They are involved in every American Chemical Society outreach activity, including National Chemistry Week, Chemists Celebrate Earth Day, Project SEED, and the Science Coaches program.

They have logged countless hours of service, coming up with new ideas for engaging the public, organizing events large and small, and making sure everything goes off without a hitch. They are passionate about what they do, and they’re at the heart of ACS.

The ACS Committee on Community Activities has established a new award to recognize and honor these outstanding local section volunteers (C&EN, April 8, page 43). “This is our way of saying, ‘Thank you for the work that you do,’ ” says Mikal Ankrah, a membership associate in the Department of Volunteer Support. “Without volunteers, ACS—being a grassroots organization—wouldn’t be able to function as well as it does.”

The Local Section Outreach Volunteers of the Year program complements ACS’s Chem­Luminary Awards, which recognize excellent local section programs. “This new award recognizes individuals for the work that they do,” says Ankrah.

The following are a few highlights of this year’s 44 awardees:

Michael P. Doyle of the Chemical Society of Washington chaired the scientific committee for the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad, held at the University of Maryland, College Park, in July 2012. Doyle assembled a committee to construct both written and laboratory exams and experiments, ensured that the exams were vetted and tested, and recruited volunteers to assist with the exams.

Well into his 80s, Eckhard W. Hellmuth is still going strong as one of the Kansas City Section’s most devoted volunteers. Over the past 20 years, he has organized numerous programs and activities, including the Kenneth A. Spencer Award Symposium at ACS national meetings, Kansas City Section awards for local high school teachers and students, and Project SEED events held by the local section.

Jordan M. Kaiser of the Joliet Section has played a key role in getting students involved in the local section. He is president of the ACS student affiliates chapter at Lewis University, in Romeoville, Ill. For National Chemistry Week 2012, he coordinated a periodic table bake sale and donated the proceeds to support a local high school. In addition, he coordinated a chemistry and physics demonstration for Lewis University and the local community.

Credit: Courtesy of the Indiana Section
Linda Osborn, Indiana Section
Credit: Courtesy of the Indiana Section
Linda Osborn, Indiana Section

Linda V. Osborn of the Indiana Section was instrumental in converting a local clinic’s waiting room into a chemistry-themed playroom for kids (C&EN, Dec. 10, 2012, page 56). She recruited family members, coworkers, and others to engage in the renovation. She has also volunteered for National Chemistry Week activities, served as a Project SEED mentor, and is helping with the Indiana Section’s outreach activities for the fall 2013 ACS national meeting in Indianapolis.

Sally Peters of the Santa Clara Valley Section has traveled extensively with her husband, Howard Peters, speaking about the chemistry of chocolate. During ACS national meetings, she and Howard can be found distributing chocolate at Sci-Mix. In addition, she has helped grow the local section’s volunteer base by sending welcome letters to new members and encouraging them to volunteer.

Daniel S. Stelck of the Washington-Idaho Border Section runs the section’s Curious Chemistry Show and the Chemistry Sleuth Idaho day camp for middle school students. He also organizes the section’s Earth Day poetry contest. Stelck has helped revitalize the section by bolstering recruitment and reaching out to graduate and undergraduate students.

Juan Suárez of the Puerto Rico Section is adviser to the ACS student affiliates chapter at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao. As an ACS member and volunteer for more than 20 years, Suárez delights attendees at the Puerto Rico Section’s annual Festival de Química celebration with demonstrations such as surrounding participants in giant bubbles.

Desiree C. Wineland of the Nebraska Section started the ACS Chem/Ag Club at Cambridge High School, where she has helped arrange field trips to a local agriculture laboratory, planted trees in support of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day, and raised scholarships for graduating seniors.

A complete list of winners and their profiles is available at



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