During the 25th Annual ChemLuminary Awards ceremony at ACS Fall 2023 in San Francisco in August, the American Chemical Society recognized volunteers from its 185 local sections, 32 technical divisions, 26 international chemical sciences chapters, and regional meetings. The theme of this year’s event was “Harnessing the Power of Our Volunteers.”
“Over the past year, we have witnessed an astonishing display of dedication from our members,” ACS president Judith C. Giordan said in her opening remarks. “With thousands of events hosted by local sections, technical divisions, regional meetings, and international chemical sciences chapters, our collective efforts have had a profound impact on the chemical community and beyond.”
ACS emeritus member Sunny Tang gave the keynote address on behalf of Mamie W. Moy , the recipient of the 2023 Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society . Moy, who was unable to travel to the meeting, was recognized for her more than 40 years of volunteer service to ACS, education, and humanity.
Moy joined ACS in 1967. She served as chair of the Greater Houston Section in 1984, and she now serves as an alternate councilor. Moy has also helped coordinate three regional meetings and served on numerous national committees—she is currently an associate member on the Committee on Meetings and Expositions.
“In my opinion, [Moy’s] greatest contribution to the ACS is that she has been the inspiration and driving force for so many of us to participate in service,” Tang said.
Following are other ChemLuminary Awards presented at the meeting:
▸ ACS Strategic Planning Committee
The Western Carolinas Local Section was given the award for the Best Activity or Program Highlighting ACS Change Driver(s) or Strategic Planning for hosting, together with the Carolina-Piedmont Section, a “Creating Successful Student Chapters” workshop attended by faculty and student leaders from 10 colleges and universities.
▸ Committee on Chemists with Disabilities
The Indiana Local Section won the Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award for organizing the virtual symposium Promoting Equity and Diversity in Chemistry (PREDICT) 2022. This event featured sign language interpreters and closed-captioning.
▸ Committee on Community Activities
The Virginia Section was given the award for the Most Creative and Innovative Use of the CCEW Theme for its Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) event at the Science Museum of Virginia. Over 700 people participated in activities that included making firefly wands and slime.
The Richland Local Section received the award for the Most Creative and Innovative Use of the NCW Theme for its National Chemistry Week (NCW) Investigators of Science event at Eastern Oregon University. The event invited attendees to solve a Halloween-themed forensic mystery.
The Georgia Section won the award for Outstanding Community Involvement in CCEW for engaging more than 24,000 people in its month-long CCEW celebration. Participants examined beeswax candles, liquid crystals, and other materials at schools, a convention center, and a museum.
The Orlando Local Section was given the award for Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW for an event it hosted at the Orlando Science Center. Attendees participated in eight experiments relating to the NCW theme.
The Lehigh Valley Section received the award for an Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience for supporting the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program Fair. Youth attendees participated in hands-on experiments to explore how various fiber types absorb colored water.
The Midland Local Section won the award for an Outstanding Ongoing CCEW Event for cosponsoring a free Earth Day event that drew approximately 350 participants.
The Western Michigan Local Section was given the award for an Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event for its Chemistry at the Mall event, which featured hands-on activities and a demo show.
The Nashville Local Section won the award for an Outstanding Public Outreach Event Organized by a Student Group for its week-long NCW celebration. Activities hosted by the Tennessee Tech ACS Student Chapter included a green chemistry lecture and a demo show.
The Chicago Section received the award for an Outstanding Virtual Event for CCEW or NCW for its virtual science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) expo. At-home chemistry kits and videos were provided for 100 participants.
▸ Committee on Corporation Associates
The California Section won the award for an Outstanding Local Section Industry Event for organizing the 2022 Bay Area Chemistry Symposium. Over 250 students, postdoctoral researchers, and professionals from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries attended the event.
▸ Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs
The Division of Professional Relations (PROF) won the award for an Outstanding Divisional Career Program for establishing the PROF Leadership Development Award, which funds PROF members under the age of 35 to attend the ACS Leadership Institute.
The Kentucky Lake, Memphis, and Nashville Local Sections received the award for an Outstanding Local Section Career Program for hosting a joint local section meeting in November 2022. Each section sponsored a speaker, graduate and pharmacy schools participated in a recruiting fair, and industry partners offered résumé reviews and mock interviews.
▸ Committee on Environment and Sustainability
The Brazosport Local Section won the award for Outstanding Sustainability Activities for the two sustainability-themed events it organized during Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2022.
▸ Committee on Ethics
The District of Columbia’s Chemical Society of Washington received the award for Outstanding Local Section Programming Related to the Promotion of Ethics in Chemistry for holding the virtual discussion “Chemical Commercialization: What to Know about Federal Regulations.”
▸ Committee on International Activities
The Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering won the Global Engagement Award for hosting an award event to celebrate outstanding research in polymer science at the global level.
The Puerto Rico Section received the Outstanding Global Partnership Award for hosting a virtual meeting that brought together ACS members in the US, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
▸ Committee on Local Section Activities
The Hawai‘i Local Section won the award for the Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement for its day-long event celebrating its 100-year anniversary at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.
The Lehigh Valley Section was given the Local Section Partnership/Marinda Li Wu Award for partnering with local industry, a large university, and a venture technology business incubator to conduct its Adhesives at the Beach program.
The Chicago Section received the award for the Most Innovative New Activity or Program for its Meet the Gibbs Medalists reception at the ACS Fall 2022 meeting. The event was attended by nine past Willard Gibbs Medal recipients.
The awards for Outstanding Performance by a Local Section recognize sections that have demonstrated excellent overall achievement by offering multiple programs for members and reaching out to their communities during 2022. Size categories are determined by the number of section members.
In the small category, the Brazosport Local Section won an Outstanding Performance by a Local Section Award for organizing a wide range of events targeting K–12 and college students and industry professionals.
In the medium-small category, the Midland Local Section was given an Outstanding Performance by a Local Section Award for recording more than 5,300 volunteer hours in 2022. More than 5,700 people attended events it organized.
In the medium category, the Rochester Local Section received an Outstanding Performance by a Local Section Award for events organized by its Women Chemists and Younger Chemists Committees. Rochester also hosted over 950 people at the 2022 Northeast Regional Meeting.
In the medium-large category, the Indiana Local Section won an Outstanding Performance by a Local Section Award for hosting two events at ACS Spring 2023 and over 20 events in 2022. A number of these events were arranged by its Younger Chemists Committee.
In the large category, the Greater Houston Section was given an Outstanding Performance by a Local Section Award. In 2022, it worked with 15 organizations to host activities including science demonstrations for Chemists Celebrate Earth Week and National Chemistry Week; social events for Women, Younger, and Senior Chemists Committees; and a hybrid annual award banquet.
In the very large category, the New York Local Section received the Outstanding Performance by a Local Section Award for activities including creating a career video featuring diverse chemists and making progress toward a Spanish translation of the section’s website.
▸ Committee on Meetings and Expositions
The 2021 Southwest Regional Meeting received the award for an Outstanding Regional Meeting. Hosted by the Central Texas Local Section, this hybrid meeting had more than 950 attendees.
▸ Committee on Minority Affairs
The Indiana Local Section received the award for the Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee for its 2022 series of events that included the Promoting Equity and Diversity in Chemistry webinar, dinner, and symposium and a career development symposium.
▸ Committee on Project SEED
The California Section and the Midland Local Section each received an award for Outstanding Efforts by a Local Section to Organize a Project SEED Program. In 2022, the California Section hosted 20 Project SEED students, and the Midland Local Section hosted 7 students in person and 2 students virtually.
▸ Committee on Public Relations and Communications
The New York Local Section received the award for the Best New Public Relations or Communications Program of a Local Section for producing a video that highlights the diversity of chemists and their careers.
R. J. Dwayne Miller , a chemistry professor at the University of Toronto, was given the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach for founding the STEM festival Science Rendezvous. The festival engages around 200,000 people in events across Canada each year.
The California Section won the award for an Outstanding Continuing Public Relations or Communications Program of a Local Section for hosting the third annual Bay Area Chemistry Symposium. This event connected students and academics with scientists from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
▸ Committee on Technician Affairs
The Midland Local Section was given the award for the Best Event or Activity Organized by, or Benefiting, the Applied Chemical Technology Professional Community for its year-end party and the membership drive that resulted in the Mid-Michigan Technician Group gaining nine members.
▸ Divisional Activities Committee
The Division of Energy and Fuels received the award for the Most Unique Project funded by a Division Innovative Project Grant for its Linking Invited Faculty/Scientist Talks for Monthly Orientation, Recruitment, and Exchange (Lift More) project, which increased the diversity of speaker backgrounds and talk topics in the division’s monthly online technical talks.
The Division of Analytical Chemistry received a Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division for co-organizing a series of symposia focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect. The other organizers were the Committee on Minority Affairs and the Division of Biological Chemistry.
▸ Membership Affairs Committee
The Indiana Local Section received the MAC Industry Engagement and Outreach Award for hosting an in-person mentoring event between high school and college students and industry professionals.
▸ Senior Chemists Committee
The Midland Local Section won the award for the Best Continuing Senior Chemists Activity within a Local Section for its update to the exhibit Midland ACS: A Century of Science and Service at Central Michigan University.
The Philadelphia Local Section was given the award for the Best New Senior Chemists Activity within a Local Section for an event it hosted at the Science History Institute that promoted collaboration between smaller section committees and highlighted the benefits of ACS membership to undergraduates.
▸ Society Committee on Education
The Puerto Rico Section won the award for Fostering Interactions between Local Sections and Student Chapters for hosting a meeting with student chapters and chemistry clubs to engage them in plans for the section’s 75th anniversary.
The Midland Local Section won the award for Outstanding Engagement with K–8 Students for facilitating dozens of science and chemistry events for K–8 students, including classroom visits to elementary and middle schools, summer camps, and virtual events.
The Orange County Section received the Outstanding High School Student Program Award for hosting its annual ACS High School First Year Chemistry Exam and for organizing a banquet to honor top-scoring exam students and chemistry olympiad participants.
The Greater Houston Section was given the award for Outstanding US National Chemistry Olympiad for the implementation of innovative measures that increased participation in the US National Chemistry Olympiad.
▸ Women Chemists Committee
The Puerto Rico Section won the award for the Best Local Section Women Chemists Committee Event/Activity for organizing The Power of Women in Science symposium, which discussed the United Nations sustainable development goals and provided students and educators with educational opportunities.
The Nashville Local Section was given the award for the Most Outstanding Local Section Women Chemists Committee for hosting its 26th Tennessee Girls in STEM conference. This event enabled middle and high school girls to meet women role models and other girls interested in STEM.
▸ Younger Chemists Committee
The Virginia Section was given the award for an Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee for cohosting a 2-day professional development workshop about diversity and inclusion in school and the workplace.
The Greater Houston Section received the award for an Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event for organizing the virtual seminar “Do I Need a New Job or Career?”
▸ Joint Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs and Committee on Environment and Sustainability Award
The Princeton Local Section was given the award for Outstanding Promotion of the Society’s Sustainability Position Statements for its Earth Day Eve event. A diverse group of 30 attendees came together to learn about and discuss ACS public policy statements on sustainability and climate change.
▸ Joint Society Committee on Education and American Association of Chemistry Teachers Governing Board Award
The North Jersey Section was given the award for Outstanding American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) Support for efforts that included creating a ChemEnthusiasts group for local K–12 chemistry teachers and creating a ChemExpo program.
For information on the ChemLuminary Awards, visit www.acs.org/chemluminary.
Nina Notman is a freelance writer based in Salisbury, England.