The American Chemical Society’s shining stars stepped out from behind the curtain and reveled in the spotlight during the 16th Annual ChemLuminary Awards celebration at the ACS national meeting in San Francisco this past August.
Awards recognized outstanding volunteer efforts in 2013 by the society’s 187 local sections, 32 divisions, eight regional meetings, and eight international chapters. The ChemLuminary celebration gives ACS an opportunity to recognize the dedicated volunteers who have poured their passion, along with countless hours of their time, into helping the society fulfill its mission.
“Without all of you, we would not be the society we are today,” ACS President Tom Barton said in his opening remarks. “You are the epitome of dynamic volunteerism, and it is because of you that our theme tonight is ‘ACS Global Stewards: Our Shining Stars.’ ”
In his keynote address, Robert A. Pribush, a professor of chemistry at Butler University, in Indianapolis, and recipient of the 2014 Award for Volunteer Service to ACS, spoke from personal experience about the ripple effect that volunteerism can have. Pribush was honored for his volunteer efforts in the Indiana Section, as well as with ACS governance, with the ACS Exams Institute, and with regional meetings.
“It’s apparent from your presence here tonight that you are ripple creators,” he said. “You do things that matter. As you go forward in your career in chemistry, in your life, what ripples will you create? What relationships are you building that just might change the world?”
The following awards were presented in San Francisco:
Committee On Public Relations & Communications
The 2014 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach was presented to Susan V. Olesik, Dow Professor and chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State University. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in public outreach by an ACS member.
Working in some of the most distressed urban and rural schools in Ohio, Olesik expanded opportunities for young people to engage in science. For example, using videoconferencing technology, she connected student tutors at universities with rural high school students who were struggling in science.
The Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section Award went to the Nashville Section for its extensive celebration of National Chemistry Week (NCW). The events were advertised through various media outlets and included activities at a senior center in Madison, Tenn., and energy lessons for kids at City Road Chapel United Methodist Church in Nashville.
The Award for Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section went to the Kalamazoo Section for organizing a ballroom dance event for the public at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The mayor of Kalamazoo attended the event and served as master of ceremonies.
Women Chemists Committee
The Outstanding Program Aimed at Retaining Women in the Chemical Enterprise Award went to the Puget Sound Section for organizing an overnight retreat for graduate students and postdocs to learn negotiation and communication skills.
Committee On Economic & Professional Affairs
The Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award in the small to medium-large size category went to the Louisiana Section, which offered a series of programs to help the section’s members and students in job searching and career development. Activities included a résumé-writing webinar and monthly career talks.
The large to very large size category award went to the Chemical Society of Washington, which partnered with the Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) to organize nine career events including career management workshops, four thematic networking and trivia happy hours, and a webinar event on résumé preparation.
Younger Chemists Committee
The Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Award went to the Savannah River Section. The section’s YCC helped increase membership by nearly 25% by partnering with the Salvation Army in North Augusta, S.C., and increasing the section’s visibility among college students.
The Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event Award went to the Puerto Rico Section. The section’s YCC organized its third annual Green Fashion Show, this time with a Christmas twist. Three winners were chosen in both the ChemClub and student chapter categories for their costumes made of recycled material.
The Outstanding New Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Award went to the Louisiana Section. The section’s YCC held two successful recruiting events and organized a symposium at the spring 2013 ACS national meeting in New Orleans. The section also helped start a database of local employers, which led to an increase in student members looking for such job-related resources.
Committee On Divisional Activities
Two divisions were recognized for innovative programs and outstanding service to their members.
The Rubber Division developed the Corporate Membership Program to increase involvement of corporate-level senior managers in providing opportunities and resources for their employees.
The Division of Organic Chemistry organized a symposium at the University of Delaware, and graduate students from around the country were selected to present their research.
Society Committee On Education
The Award for Fostering Interactions between Local Sections & Student Chapters went to the Detroit Section for expanding its involvement with ACS student chapters from various universities to organize Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and NCW outreach events.
The Outstanding High School Student Program Award went to the Nashville Section for helping to coordinate two days of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities at a local laboratory.
The Outstanding Kids & Chemistry Award went to the Brazosport Section for coordinating nine Kids & Chemistry events, including a video competition and a Take Your Child To Work Day at Dow Chemical.
Committees On Local Section Activities & Divisional Activities
The Outstanding Collaboration between a Division & Local Section Award went to the Northeastern Section and the Division of Environmental Chemistry. To celebrate NCW, the Northeastern Section collaborated with the Division of Environmental Chemistry and the Cape Cod & Islands Council Boy Scouts of America to host a science café for kids. Roughly 400 attendees engaged in hands-on activities and listened to career talks by local scientists.
Committee On Project Seed
The Outstanding Project SEED Program Award went to the Chemical Society of Washington for organizing an orientation program and scientific career workshop for 17 high school students, who presented their research and received recognition and awards from the Virginia Junior Academy of Science and the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Committee On Chemistry & Public Affairs
The ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs went to the Chicago Section, which coordinated a meeting with Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) to discuss ACS positions on STEM education, research funding, and legislation on helium. The meeting led to discussions with other government officials about the local section’s engagement in the Altgeld Gardens Revitalization Project to revitalize an impoverished community on Chicago’s South Side.
Committee On Environmental Improvement
The Outstanding Sustainability Activities Award went to the Louisiana Section for organizing two sustainability events focused on converting waste oil and grease into biofuels and converting soybean oil into a range of commercial products.
Leadership Advisory Board
The Outstanding Leader Development Program Award went to the North Jersey Section. Fourteen members of the local section came together for a strategic planning retreat facilitated by members of the ACS Leadership Advisory Board. Retreat participants developed four new goals to be accomplished over the next three to five years.
The Award for Outstanding Local Section Industry Event went to the Kalamazoo Section, which hosted a poster session titled “Sustainable Science—Recycle a Poster” at a local brewery. The event drew more than 100 attendees from industry and academia.
Committee On Technician Affairs
The Award for Best Event or Activity Organized by, or Benefiting, the Applied Chemical Technology Professional Community went to the Brazosport Section, which hosted a career development event for chemical technicians.
Committee On Minority Affairs
The Award for Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee went to the Orange County Section for hosting its annual NCW zoo event. Of the 2,500 people who participated in the free event, two-thirds were underrepresented minorities.
Committee On International Activities
The Global Engagement Award for a Local Section went to the Northeastern Section for collaborating with the German Chemical Society to bring German graduate students to the Northeast Regional Meeting.
The Global Engagement Award for a Technical Division went to the Division of Agrochemicals. Its Foundation for the Study of Traditional Sciences & Arts Lecture Series attracted more than 400 people, who learned about pesticide chemistry and other environmental topics.
The Global Engagement Award for an International Chemical Sciences Chapter went to the Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter, which hosted the 9th International Chemistry in Industry Conference & Exhibition (CHEMINDIX 2013) in Bahrain. The event brought together top regional leaders in industry, academia, and government.
Committee On Chemists With Disabilities
The Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award went to the Colorado Section. Professors from Metropolitan State University of Denver and Illinois State University held polymer chemistry activities and a workshop featuring Talking LabQuest, the first data collection device with text-to-speech capabilitites for the blind in chemistry education. Thirty-eight students with sight impairments participated in the workshop.
Committee On Meetings & Expositions
The Outstanding Regional Meeting Award went to the 2013 Western Regional Meeting, hosted by the Santa Clara Valley and California Sections. Highlights of the meeting included symposia honoring former Priestley Medalist Darleane C. Hoffman and Sarah E. Reisman, one of the 2013 Cope Scholars.
Committee On Community Activities
The Award for Best High School ChemClub NCW Event went to the Northeastern Section for an event at the Museum of Science in Boston that drew more than 1,000 people. High school students throughout the section developed 14 activities related to energy, focusing on topics such as the chemistry of glow-sticks, hydrogen fuel cells, and electrolysis.
The Award for Best Student Member NCW Event went to the Pittsburgh Section for hosting a two-day event at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh that drew more than 4,000 people.
The Award for Creative & Innovative Use of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Theme went to the Nashville Section, which offered hands-on activities during the Earth Day Festival at Centennial Park.
The Award for Most Creative NCW Celebration Using the Yearly Theme went to the Central New York Section. Its NCW activities included a farm event on agricultural chemistry, a “Science Is Fun” night, a Halloween-themed science event at a high school, and hands-on activities at a shopping center.
The Award for Outstanding Community Involvement in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day went to the Puerto Rico Section for hosting its Festival de Química, where more than 200 volunteers from student chapters and ACS ChemClubs engaged the public in hands-on activities.
The Award for Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW went to the Princeton Section for hosting its most successful NCW Activities Night, attended by more than 650 people, including families and local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops.
The Award for Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience went to the Orange County Section. Volunteers from area colleges and universities conducted hands-on activities at the Santa Ana Zoo for more than 2,300 attendees.
The Award for Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event went to the Eastern New York Section, which celebrated NCW with 15 activity tables staffed by more than 200 volunteers.
Committee On Local Section Activities
The Award for Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement went to the Indiana Section for implementing an online volunteer management system, which engaged members in local activities through social media.
The Local Section Partnership Award went to the Nashville Section for its NCW activities, including Labfest at Aegis Sciences Corp., a STEM symposium, an ACS local section meeting, eighth-grade class visits, and demonstrations for seniors.
The Award for Most Innovative New Activity or Program went to the South Carolina Section, which collaborated with several partners to offer a variety of STEM activities for more than 2,000 students.
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 used an Innovative Project Grant to bring underprivileged elementary school children to a Minor League Baseball game and to a science museum for Chemists Celebrate Earth Day.
In the medium-small category, the winner was the Brazosport Section, which conducted science demonstrations, including making liquid nitrogen ice cream with mentally and physically challenged adults in a rehabilitation center. The section also sponsored a climate change video competition for middle school students and distributed science tool kits to students and teachers.
In the medium category, the winner was the Midland Section, which hosted its annual SciFest for more than 5,000 participants as well as the 44th Central Regional Meeting, a fall scientific meeting, and a “Loco for Cocoa: The Chemistry of Chocolate” event for the public.
In the medium-large category, the winner was the Nashville Section, which sponsored a Chemists Celebrate Earth Day celebration that attracted approximately 8,000 attendees. More than 150 volunteers participated in the event. In addition, an Innovative Project Grant sponsored career talks for job seekers.
In the large category, the winner was the Indiana Section, which hosted the fall 2013 ACS national meeting. The section’s community outreach event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway attracted thousands of people.
In the very large category, the winner was the California Section, which organized monthly dinner meetings, lectures, and educational programs such as Family Science Night. The section also coorganized the 44th Western Regional Meeting and received an ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark for the Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center.
For more information about the ChemLuminary Awards and to see more photos from this year’s celebration, visit www.acs.org/chemluminary.