Donna J. Nelson, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma, has been elected the 2015 American Chemical Society president-elect by members of ACS. Nelson will serve as president of the society in 2016 and immediate past-president in 2017; she will also serve on the board of directors during that time.
Nelson won a three-way race, receiving more votes than Peter K. Dorhout, dean of arts and sciences at Kansas State University, and William A. Lester Jr., professor of the graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. The society, which publishes C&EN, also elected or reelected four other board directors.
Nelson calls the role “a great honor and even larger responsibility.”
“My number one priority is jobs and careers,” she says. “Simultaneously, I will work to create a deeper understanding of science’s contributions to society. I believe we can build a real appreciation for science and scientists that will bring numerous dividends to industry, research, and education.”
Communicating with the public about the benefits of chemistry to the world is not the job of one person, Nelson says. “I call on all ACS members to speak out about what we do and the benefits that science and scientists contribute.” She will be the second ACS president who is of Native American heritage, after Nancy B. Jackson, who served as ACS president in 2011.
Nelson earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma in 1974 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1980. She completed a postdoc at Purdue University in 1983.
In 2010, Nelson was named an ACS Fellow, an honor that recognizes ACS members for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and ACS. She has held numerous leadership roles within ACS. She has also served as a science adviser to the television show “Breaking Bad.”
In other ACS election results, Pat N. Confalone of Confalone Consulting won reelection as District III director for a three-year term. He defeated Anne S. DeMasi, hazard communication manager at Chemtura.
For the District VI director position, Paul W. Jagodzinski, professor and dean of the College of Engineering, Forestry & Natural Sciences at Northern Arizona University, defeated Lee H. Latimer, head of chemistry at NeurOp, in Atlanta.
In elections for at-large director, incumbents William F. Carroll Jr., vice president at Occidental Chemical, and Barbara A. Sawrey, dean of undergraduate education at UC San Diego, secured their seats, defeating Dawn A. Brooks, adviser for diabetes clinical development at Eli Lilly & Co., and Ellen B. Stechel, professor of practice in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Arizona State University.
Voter participation for president-elect was higher than last year, totaling nearly 15% of eligible voters, defined as ACS members in good standing who joined the society no later than August. Some 23,198 valid votes were cast for president-elect.
Additional information about the winners can be found in the candidates’ statements (C&EN, Sept. 8, page 31).