Janet L. Bryant is the winner of the 2020 Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society. Created in 2001, the award recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to ACS’s goals and objectives. Bryant was cited for her holistic and strategic approach to volunteerism, unwavering commitment to empowering chemists, and proven track record of translating goals and needs into tangible actions.
“The true measure of the impact of a volunteer is not just their time, energy, and talent but also their ability to make those around them better. I have watched firsthand how Janet achieves this level of distinction,” says David Heldebrant of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), who has worked with Bryant in the ACS Richland Section. “She has worked to find new section members, helped individuals find a good fit for their time and talent, and developed young leaders of tomorrow. In each case, Janet achieves this by listening, caring, and going the extra mile.”
Bryant, who recently retired after 38 years at PNNL, says she is passionate about ACS and its impact on the global community. “Being able to see the society and its people from different perspectives helps integrate solutions to problems, broaden the view held by our members, and ensure the next generation of chemists are equipped to have sustainable chemistry careers,” she says. “Nothing is more satisfying than helping talented chemists maximize their impact.”
Bryant’s volunteer activities have included chairing the Women Chemists Committee, the ACS Division of Business Development and Management, the Leadership Development Subcommittee, and the ACS Richland Section. She is a founding member and chair of the ACS Chemical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council and a mentoring committee chair of the ACS Division of Professional Relations.
“I have worked with many excellent volunteers who are willing to get in and contribute to a project that they believe in. What makes Janet most outstanding is that she has the necessary vision to plan the project as well,” says Angela Hoffman, a chemistry professor at the University of Portland. “I was very impressed with one of her projects to get more people, especially women, involved with networking. Her idea of speed networking sessions has spurred on many chemists to profitable and interesting careers.”
Malika Jeffries-EL, an associate professor of chemistry at Boston University, says Bryant is a role model for many. “Janet steered me toward the YCC [Younger Chemists Committee] and effectively launched what is now a 17-year stretch of service on my part,” Jeffries-EL says. “Since then, Janet has been a reliable informal mentor, as well as a continuous source of advice and inspiration to me and many other young chemists.”
Bryant will deliver a keynote speech during the ChemLuminary Awards ceremony at the ACS Fall 2020 National Meeting in San Francisco.