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For President-Elect: Allison A. Campbell

September 14, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 36

ACS president-elect candidate Allison A. Campbell.

Richland Section. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash.

Academic record: Gettysburg College, B.A., chemistry, 1985; University at Buffalo, SUNY, Ph.D., chemistry, 1991

Honors: American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2013; Gettysburg College Distinguished Alumni Award, 2013; Western New York Pioneers in Science Award, 2011; R&D 100 Award, 2006; Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Technology Transfer, 2006; ACS Regional Industrial Innovation Award, 2005; George W. Thorn Award, University at Buffalo, SUNY, 2003; named one of ACS’s Women at the Forefront of Chemistry, 2002; DOE Energy 100 Award for Biomimetic Coatings for Orthopedic Implants, 2001; Young Alumni Achievement Award for Career Development, Gettysburg College, 2000; DOE Basic Energy Sciences Award in Materials Science, 1995; Excellence in Teaching Award, University at Buffalo, SUNY, 1987; Undergraduate Research Award, Gettysburg College, 1985

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, associate laboratory director, 2005– , interim director, 2004–05, deputy director, 2000–05

Member: Member of ACS since 1984. Washington State Academy of Sciences, National Academies’ Chemical Sciences Roundtable, American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Association of Dental Researchers

Related activities: National Academies’ Chemical Sciences Roundtable, board member; ACS fall national meeting, Marie Curie Symposium session, “The National Laboratories, Physical Chemistry in the National Interest,” chair, 2011; testified before the Subcommittee on Energy & Environment, Washington, D.C., 2009; Ohio State University, Devon Walter Meek Lecturer, 2007; AAAS annual meeting, “Unique Tools for Unique Science at a DOE National Scientific User Facility,” session cochair, 2006; Department of Energy and National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) workshop, conference organizer, 2002; trained more than 10 graduate and postdoc researchers; published more than 33 journal articles; holds five patents and one license

Campbell’s Statement

Thank you for considering me for president-elect of the American Chemical Society. ACS is an organization with a long and distinguished record of service to our community, and I would welcome the opportunity to lead it and continue this legacy at a critical moment in our history.

Science has become politicized to an unprecedented degree in the U.S. ACS has a central role to play in educating policy-makers and the public on the real contributions that chemistry makes every moment of every day to our high quality of life. The fact that federal R&D funding continues a steady year-on-year decline, that the peer review process is under attack, and that perceptions of science and scientists are increasingly negative underscores an inadequate understanding of the importance of science in American society. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would cut nondefense discretionary spending deeply—by almost $800 billion—over the next 10 years. If enacted, such cuts would have a lasting impact on U.S. economic competitiveness and security and would diminish the attractiveness of the sciences as a prestigious and viable career path. I consider turning this situation around to be a societal “grand challenge,” and I believe that ACS can and should help lead that transformation.

Advocacy with federal officials

Advocating on behalf of chemistry and science with our elected officials would be my top priority as ACS president-elect. In my current role, I have worked with ACS and other professional organizations to advance policy-makers’ understanding of science through activities such as congressional testimony, congressional office visits, scientific-society-sponsored events such as Climate Science Day, and science expos on Capitol Hill. Going forward, I would capitalize on the extensive ACS government affairs and legislative network and strengthen partnerships with sister scientific organizations to deepen and sustain advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., for science education, careers in science, and science funding.

Literacy and appreciation for science

But we cannot stop there. It is also important that we have a scientifically literate public. We are raising a generation that receives greater benefit from the “transforming power of chemistry” than any other, yet so many are unaware of the profound impacts of chemistry on their lives. While we may not inspire every child to become a scientist or engineer, we can help to raise the overall level of public understanding of the value of chemistry so that they can be informed consumers, voters, and environmental stewards. Our ACS membership and organization, including national programs and local sections, offer an extensive network already in place that we can mobilize to highlight success stories and demonstrate how long-term investments in science lead to prosperity through education, the creation of exciting high-skill jobs, and discovery and innovation.

Telling our story ­effectively

In today’s digital, always-connected world, we have an unprecedented set of tools we can draw on to communicate the value of chemistry through compelling stories. We will use traditional outlets such as print media and in-person meetings in conjunction with social media and emerging media outlets to help elected officials and the public understand the impact of the scientific endeavor on our nation’s prosperity. I will reach out to leading experts in science communication—some of whom are ACS members—and to ACS’s own outreach staff to sponsor special sessions and workshops to help our members become more effective ambassadors for their own work and for our community. Given the importance of science communication, I would also work with national education organizations to integrate communication into science education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For the greater good

Chemistry and the sciences are potent forces for good in our world. ACS is well positioned to lead a national conversation about the importance of science in our society, and I welcome the opportunity to lead that conversation on behalf of ACS membership. My goal is to strive to make the critical role of chemistry in our lives the worst-kept secret in our public discourse.

Thank you for your time and consideration. For more information, please visit my website, I appreciate your vote and look forward to working with you and for you.

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