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ACS names its 2024 Outreach Volunteers of the Year

Local section and international chapter volunteers are acknowledged for their outreach efforts

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
March 4, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 7

A demonstrator in a white lab coat and safety glasses stands at a lab bench that holds three beakers containing liquids of different colors.
Credit: Ryan Riffle
Grazyna Zreda of the Southern Arizona Local Section prepares a redox reaction that uses a potassium permanganate solution and some lollipops before a demonstration at an outreach event.

The American Chemical Society’s Committee on Community Activities honors the service of 27 ACS members with a 2024 Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award. These volunteers from local sections and international chemical sciences chapters are recognized for their outstanding science outreach efforts.

A volunteer stands on one side of a table that holds a replica skull, replica guns, and other forensics-related items, and a crowd of students stands on the opposite side.
Credit: Edmy J. Ferrer-Torres
Edmy J. Ferrer-Torres of the Puerto Rico Section talks to students about forensic chemistry and fingerprint analysis during an outreach event at a mall.

Every year, one of these awardees is also named Global Outreach Volunteer of the Year. The recipient of the 2024 global award, who has conducted outreach with their local section for over 30 years, has chosen to remain anonymous. “[This year’s global award recipient] has demonstrated inexhaustible enthusiasm for inspiring and encouraging the next generation of chemists, and for easing the apprehension and mystery that many people associate with chemistry,” Lori Stepan, chair of the ACS Committee on Community Activities, states in an email.

The rest of this year’s local section and international chemical sciences chapter Outreach Volunteer of the Year awardees are Betty Jo Chitester of the Erie Local Section, Pamela Cohn of the South Jersey Local Section, Poulami Dutta of the Brazosport Local Section, Philip J. Elias of the Lehigh Valley Section, Edmy J. Ferrer-Torres of the Puerto Rico Section, Brandi Ford of the Virginia Section, Leonardo F. Fraceto of the Brazil International Chemical Sciences Chapter, David S. Heroux of the Green Mountain Local Section, Nedialka I. Iordanova of the Southwest Georgia Section, Lawrence Kolopajlo of the Huron Valley Local Section, Nawana Lawson of the Detroit Section, Regina M. Malczewski of the Midland Section, Deepika Malhotra of the Richland Section, Vanessa M. Marx of the California Section, Beverly Matsuda of the Orange County Section, Martha D. Morton of the Nebraska Local Section, Mary Chioma Okorie of the North Jersey Section, Denisia Popolan-Vaida of the Orlando Section, Rigel K. Rilling of the Permian Basin Local Section, Laurel A. Royer of the Georgia Section, Despina Strong of the Puget Sound Section, Blessing I. Umoh of the Nigeria International Chemical Sciences Chapter, Dorothea S. Wells of the Central Texas Local Section, Ding-Shyue “Jerry” Yang of the Greater Houston Section, Hannah Zimmerman-Federle of the Indiana Local Section, and Grazyna Zreda of the Southern Arizona Local Section.

A demonstrator in a white lab coat and safety glasses stands behind a table and pushes a balloon into a white container.
Credit: Bobby Tracy
David S. Heroux (center) of the Green Mountain Local Section uses liquid nitrogen and balloons to explore the properties of gases as part of a large community chemistry magic show held in Burlington, Vermont, during National Chemistry Week 2023.
Three volunteers stand behind a table and in front of a hanging periodic table.
Credit: Mary Chioma Okorie
Mary Chioma Okorie (left) and two other members of the North Jersey Section host a booth with hands-on electric activities during the Thomas Edison Day 2023 celebrations at the Thomas Edison Laboratory Complex in West Orange, New Jersey.

Nina Notman is a freelance writer based in Salisbury, England.



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