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ACS honors its 2020 Outreach Volunteers of the Year

Ajay Mallia of Georgia Gwinnett College is named the national winner

by Linda Wang
March 7, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 9


Credit: Yancey Miller
Ajay Mallia leads a workshop on the chemistry of paper during a Chemists Celebrate Earth Week event at Peachtree Ridge High School.

Forty local section volunteers are being honored with the American Chemical Society’s 2020 Outreach Volunteers of the Year awards. The program, established by the Committee on Community Activities, recognizes extraordinary outreach volunteer service within local sections.

Ajay Mallia of the Georgia Section is the inaugural national winner. “It’s a great honor,” says Mallia, who is an assistant professor of chemistry at Georgia Gwinnett College. “My profession is teaching, but outreach is a powerful communication tool for students as well as the general public to get them interested in science.”

In 2019, Mallia organized outreach activities for more than 1,000 people at museums, high schools, and higher education institutions. Mallia serves on the ACS Committee on Project SEED and is a facilitator for the ACS Leadership Development System, a science coach, and a coordinator for Chemists Celebrate Earth Week.

This year’s local section winners are Michael Appell of the Illinois Heartland Local Section, Carole Berg of the Puget Sound Local Section, Carol Jean Brunerof the Philadelphia Section, Jessica Cash of the California Section, Jane Snell Copes of the New Haven Local Section, Matthew Crowe of the Trenton Local Section, Kishori Deshpande of the Brazosport Local Section, Patricia Dwyer-Hallquist of the Northeast Wisconsin Local Section, Catherine Faler of the Greater Houston Section, Regis Goode of the South Carolina Section, Michael Hunnicutt of the Virginia Section, Dimi Katsoulis of the Midland Section, Rabin Lai of the Orange County Local Section, Raymond Lam of the Northeastern Section, Michele Mangels of the Cincinnati Section, Jonathan Mauser of the LaCrosse-Winona Section, Natalie McClure of the Silicon Valley Section, William Miller of the Sacramento Section, Orlando José Morales of the Puerto Rico Section, Steven Murphy of the Binghamton Local Section, Linda Nanko-Yeager of the Minnesota Local Section, Megan Nims of the Richland Section, Audrey Preston of the Orlando Local Section, Steve Pruskin of the North Carolina Section, Dave Reingold of the Portland Local Section, Sherri Rukes of the Chicago Section, Nigel Sanders of the Lehigh Valley Section, Elisabeth Schoenau of the San Joaquin Valley Section, Amit Sharma of the Dayton Local Section, Erica Sharpe of the Northern New York Local Section, Paul Sideris of the New York Local Section, Katherine Stickney of the Indiana Local Section, Ashlee Swindle of the Savannah River Local Section, Weslene Tallmadge of the Erie Local Section, T. Greg Tucker of the Central Arizona Section, Krisztina Voronova of the Sierra Nevada Local Section, Kathryn Wagner of the Princeton Section, Susan White of the Detroit Section, and Deborah Wilkinson of the Northeast Tennessee Local Section.

Credit: Courtesy of Ashlee Swindle
Ashlee Swindle shows a second-grade student how to produce carbon dioxide by mixing baking soda and vinegar.
Credit: Courtesy of Catherine Faler
Catherine Faler (left) explains the properties of non-Newtonian fluids to middle school girls as they learn how to make glittery slime and bouncy balls.
Credit: Peggy Willcuts
Megan Nims (left) instructs Joyce Stark, a teacher at Sunnyside High School, on collecting water-quality and water-chemistry data from the Snake River in Washington.
Credit: Courtesy of Kishori Deshpande
Kishori Deshpande (right) participates in an outreach event at the Lake Jackson Historical Museum.
Credit: Jennifer Kent
Krisztina Voronova (in back, in blue lab coat) and Kimberly Hernandez (in white lab coat) with a group of third-grade students from Jessie Beck Elementary School during an outreach event at the University of Nevada, Reno
Credit: Volker Bornemann
Steve Pruskin performs a simulated acid rain demonstration during the Festival for the Eno.
Credit: John Karns
Susan White (right) and her colleagues Cassie Ward (top) and Judy Westrick (center) take a break from assembling the largest periodic table in the world.
Credit: Courtesy of Carole Berg
Carole Berg portrays Marie Curie during a presentation to junior high students.
Credit: Courtesy of William Miller
William Miller (front row, middle) participates in the Pie-a-Professor event at Sacramento City College.

Read more about the awardees at



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