Team spirit got a big nod during the 15th Annual ChemLuminary Awards celebration at the fall American Chemical Society national meeting in Indianapolis. ACS committees presented awards in recognition of outstanding volunteer efforts in 2012 by the society’s 187 local sections and 32 technical divisions.
“I am continually astounded by the energy, enthusiasm, and dedication of ACS members,” ACS President Marinda Li Wu said in her opening remarks. “You are models of active volunteerism, and it is because of you that our theme tonight is ‘Winning with the ACS Team.’ ”
William H. (Jack) Breazeale Jr., a professor emeritus at Francis Marion University and winner of this year’s Award for Volunteer Service to ACS, delivered the keynote address, “My Trek Through ACS,” which described how volunteering with ACS has opened many opportunities for him, including meeting new people and traveling around the U.S. “I encourage you all to stay involved with ACS activities,” he said. “Who knows? A future ACS president or two may be sitting in this audience.”
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC RELATIONS & COMMUNICATIONS
The Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach was presented to Ruth Ann Woodall, associate vice president of education and workforce development at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in public outreach by an ACS member.
Woodall has made chemistry accessible to people of all ages through workshops and community events; engaging with TV, radio, and newspapers; and writing for the ACS inChemistry magazine and National Chemistry Week (NCW) publications.
The Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section Award went to the Georgia Section for creating and supplying displays and handouts at 19 outreach events for K–12 students and teachers as well as the general public. More than 65,000 people attended these events.
The Award for Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section went to the Indiana Section for partnering with St. Vincent Health Network and the city of Indianapolis. Together, they transformed a clinic’s waiting room into a chemistry-themed playroom (C&EN, Dec. 10, 2012, page 56).
WOMEN CHEMISTS COMMITTEE
The Outstanding Program Aimed at Retaining Women in the Chemical Enterprise Award went to the Virginia Section for organizing a career discussion panel at Virginia Union University that featured a panel of women chemists, including Jeannette E. Brown, author of the book “African American Women Chemists.”
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC & PROFESSIONAL AFFAIRS
The Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award in the small to medium-large size category went to the Detroit Section, which offered 10 workshops at the Central Regional Meeting that focused on preparing new graduates as well as midcareer chemists for the job market.
The large to very large size category award went to the North Jersey Section, which saw more than 1,500 of its chemists lose their jobs in 2012. The section held frequent Careers in Transition group meetings and networking meetings and socials. It also provided job listings and career counseling.
YOUNGER CHEMISTS COMMITTEE
The Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Award went to the St. Louis Section for building on its successful Career Management Seminar series. The section hosted a social event that connected young chemists from different institutions and continued its Chemistry Career Nights program.
The Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event Award went to the Puerto Rico Section for hosting a dinner and Green Chemistry Fashion Show to honor its volunteers. The clothing designs promoted sustainability and showcased style and talent in Puerto Rico.
COMMITTEE ON DIVISIONAL ACTIVITIES
Four divisions were recognized for innovative programs and outstanding service to their members.
The Division of Business Development & Management organized a conference aimed at mid- to senior-level professionals in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Division of Computers in Chemistry launched a Teach-Discover-Treat initiative that provides computational chemistry tutorials focused on drug discovery for neglected diseases.
The Division of Energy & Fuels grew its membership by providing symposia for members that address current global energy challenges.
The Division of Organic Chemistry’s ongoing Technical Achievements in Organic Chemistry Award Symposium recognizes outstanding contributions in organic chemistry by B.S. and M.S. chemists pursuing careers in the chemical industry and at research institutes.
SOCIETY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
The Award for Fostering Interactions between Local Sections & Student Chapters went to two chapters this year. The Puerto Rico Section established a new student chapter and participated in several outreach events, including Festival de Química, two science cafés, and the Green Chemistry Fashion Show. More than 500 student volunteers were involved in these activities.
The Richland Section’s “Go Nano!” event featured hands-on activities for fifth- through eighth-graders focusing on nanotechnology. The event was organized by Eastern Oregon University student members with support from the Richland Section, the Eastern Oregon University Native American Program, and the Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center.
The Outstanding High School Student Program Award went to the New York Section for its high school chemistry programs, including Project SEED and Brooklyn Chemistry Day, which have benefited hundreds of high school students and teachers.
The Outstanding Kids & Chemistry Award went to the Detroit Section. The Detroit Kids & Chemistry program incorporated a “wow” component into each experiment for students, and volunteers stressed the relevance of chemistry to everyday life.
COMMITTEES ON LOCAL SECTION ACTIVITIES & DIVISIONAL ACTIVITIES
It was a tie for the Outstanding Collaboration between a Division & Local Section Award.
The Division of Small Chemical Businesses and the Georgia Section were honored for hosting a Showcase Expo, which gave local chemical companies an opportunity to network and connect with ACS and the local section.
The Division of Small Chemical Businesses and the Northeastern Section were honored for organizing a symposium geared toward local biomedical firms.
COMMITTEE ON PROJECT SEED
The Outstanding Project SEED Program Award went to the Georgia Section. The section gave eight high school students an opportunity to participate in a summer program in which they interacted daily with graduate students and faculty in chemistry departments.
COMMITTEE ON CHEMISTRY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs went to the Northeast Tennessee Section, which, through its Government Activities Committee, hosted an event with a U.S. representative that helped to communicate chemistry’s value to the public and policymakers.
COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPROVEMENT
The Outstanding Sustainability Activities Award went to the Pittsburgh Section, which used art to stimulate public dialogue on sustainability and global climate change. The section also hosted a high school green chemistry education program at Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy.
LEADERSHIP ADVISORY BOARD
The Outstanding Leader Development Program Award went to the Lehigh Valley Section, which held its first Leadership Development System Strategic Planning Retreat. The initiative has served as a model that is offered to ACS committees, technical divisions, and local sections.
The Award for Outstanding Local Section Industry Event went to the Georgia Section, whose Chemical Businesses Committee hosted a Showcase Expo for local chemical organizations.
COMMITTEE ON MINORITY AFFAIRS
The Award for Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee went to the Georgia Section, whose activities have increased minority participation in the sciences. In 2012, the section’s events drew more than 425 people, most of whom were underrepresented minorities.
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL ACTIVITIES
The winner of the Global Engagement Award is the New York Section. The New York Chemical Marketing & Economics Group hosted an awards event with more than 165 attendees from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, Peru, the U.S., and Venezuela.
COMMITTEE ON CHEMISTS WITH DISABILITIES
The Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award went to the Virginia Section, which hosted hands-on activities at the Down Syndrome Association 5K Run & Family Festival. In addition, the section distributed ACS science kits to schools for children with disabilities.
COMMITTEE ON MEETINGS & EXPOSITIONS
The Outstanding Regional Meeting Award went to the 2011 Southwest Regional Meeting. The meeting, which was hosted by the Central Texas Section, took place after the cutoff for the 2012 ChemLuminary Awards. More than 1,200 attendees participated in 57 technical sessions with a special focus on the celebration of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry. A plenary session featuring Nobel Laureate Robert F. Curl Jr. was open to the local community.
COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
The Award for Best Student Member NCW Event went to the Lehigh Valley Section, which, in partnership with the Penn State Berks Chemical Society, held an NCW kick-off celebration at the Reading Public Museum. Students and parents learned about nanotechnology and its many applications.
The Award for Creative & Innovative Use of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Theme went to the Virginia Section, which partnered with Chesterfield County and John Tyler Community College’s Fool for Art event featuring local artists who create pieces using recycled materials.
The Award for Most Creative NCW Celebration Using the Yearly Theme went to the Orange County Section. The section has been partnering with the Santa Ana Zoo to host NCW activities since the late 1990s. Its 2012 celebration attracted more than 2,500 people and featured new experiments with a focus on the NCW theme, nanotechnology.
The Award for Outstanding Community Involvement in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day went to the Indiana Section, which participated in Science Day at the County Fairgrounds. More than 600 people attended the event, which aimed to interest elementary school students in the sciences.
The Award for Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW went to the St. Joseph Valley Section. Its NCW activities reached 5,300 people and included a presentation for 16 area schools, a two-day Science Spooktacular event at the ETHOS Science Center, and an event at a local library.
The Award for Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience went to the Virginia Section, whose NCW activities raised scholarship money for community college students. The section also facilitated hands-on activities at the Down Syndrome Association 5K Run & Family Festival and distributed ACS science kits to schools for children with disabilities.
The Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event Award also went to the Virginia Section, which has carried out a three-week NCW celebration every year for the past decade.
COMMITTEE ON LOCAL SECTION ACTIVITIES
The Award for Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement went to the Georgia Section for its Showcase Expo, which provided members with an opportunity to network with local chemical businesses and to connect with ACS.
The Local Section Partnership Award went to the Indiana Section, which partnered with St. Vincent Health Network and the city of Indianapolis to transform a clinic’s waiting room into a chemistry-themed playroom.
The Award for the Most Innovative New Activity or Program went to the Savannah River Section, which hosted free public screenings of science-based movies and held a discussion afterward on the accuracy of the science in the films.
Outstanding Performance Awards recognize local sections that have demonstrated excellent overall achievement by offering multiple programs for members and reaching out to their communities. 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 Kentucky Lake Section, which sponsored a Leadership Development Course, hosted numerous NCW events, and updated its bylaws to address electronic elections.
In the medium-small category, the winner was the Mid-Hudson Section, which sponsored a variety of educational outreach programs. The section also sent a representative to the ACS Leadership Institute in January.
In the medium category, the winner was the Midland Section. The section participated in the Great Lakes Regional Meeting, hosted three Project SEED students, and sponsored a Visiting Professor Program, among other activities.
In the medium-large category, the winner was the St. Louis Section, which started a Leadership Development Forum to bring young and senior chemists together to share ideas. The section also created the Battle of the Burets to engage high school chemistry students.
In the large category, the winner was the Pittsburgh Section, whose activities included sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Regional Science Fair, a monthly lecture series, and the establishment of a local Speakers Bureau.
In the very large category, the winner was the New York Section. In addition to its many activities, the section supported “Walk the Brooklyn Bridge Day,” drawing about 200 people who carried ACS banners.
For more information about the ChemLuminary Awards and to see more photos from this year’s celebration, visit www.acs.org/chemluminary.