Ms. Connie J. Murphy, Chair

Connie Murphy joined The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan in 1980. She worked in R&D for over 25 years, first as a technician, and later as supervisor and project portfolio manager. She moved to Dow Information Systems as a supervisor and after spending a couple years in that role, retired from Dow in 2008. Since retirement, Connie and her husband, Karl, have traveled extensively.

Connie has been a member of the ACS since 1992. Since joining ACS, she has served as a member of the Committee on Committees, the Committee on Membership Affairs, the Committee on Technician Affairs, and the ACS Chemical Technology Program Approval Service. She served as Chair in 1996 and as Councilor 1998-2006 of the Division of Chemical Technicians. She is the 2012 Chair-Elect of the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division and is an ACS Career Counselor. She has been featured in articles in books, magazines and brochures about careers in chemistry and has been an invited speaker at colleges, educator forums and symposia on career and educational topics. She facilitates both “Leading Change” and “Coaching and Feedback” in the ACS Leadership Development System. In 2011, she was selected as an ACS Fellow.

Dr. Inara M. Brubaker

Inara M. Brubaker retired in 2002 from the UOP/AlliedSignal (now Honeywell International) Research Center. From 1996-2002 she was a Senior Research Associate with UOP; from 1988 to 1996 she was project leader and research manager at AlliedSignal. Her work was in applied research in analytical chemistry and separations, ranging from feed to effluent treatment and purification, and in materials properties and recycling. She is a co-author of more than two-dozen publications on separations, separation processes and analytical methodologies as well as co-author of three U.S. patents.

In 2003 Inara received the Chicago Section Public Affairs Award “for pioneering the development of programs and activities that established the agenda for a decade of state and local section cooperation on a wide range of public policy issues; for setting the performance standard for the ACS Congressional Fellowship by her significant achievements during her fellowship year of 1977; and for serving your community in various ways”. In June 2004, she was appointed to the Advisory Board for the College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio Northern University (ONU). In 2009, she received an ONU Distinguished Alumni Award.

For about ten years, she was an invited lecturer at ACS section meetings and, as an ACS Tour Speaker, presented her work with the Congress on the PBB contamination incident in Michigan, materials policy and environmental monitoring. She participated in many career guidance meetings and conferences at universities and colleges. She served on the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety and the Task Force on Occupational Health and Safety. Her service to community includes as trustee for the Des Plaines (IL) Public Library (11 years) and the Bluffton (OH) Public Library (7 years); and, the Des Plaines Environmental Control Commission. In 2001, she received the Mayoral Award at the Northwest Cook County Unity Dinner for her contributions to the City of Des Plaines, including the “renewal” of a WWII memorial.

Dr. Charles P. Casey

Charles P. Casey is Homer B. Adkins Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chuck received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1967. He was Chair of the Wisconsin Chemistry Department from 1998-2001. He served as President of the American Chemical Society in 2004 and is the 2010 Chair of the Chemistry Section of AAAS. Chuck is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1993). He received the ACS Award for Distinguished Service to Inorganic Chemistry (2011). He chaired the National Research Council Panel that wrote the 2007 report: “The Future of U.S. Chemistry Research: Benchmarks and Challenges”. Chuck’s research focused on mechanistic organometallic chemistry and explored mechanisms of important catalytic processes including hydroformylation, hydrogenation, and alkene polymerization.

Dr. Raymond E. Forslund

Raymond E. Forslund is a Senior Development Scientist in Process Research at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. He has been at Ironwood since 2008. Ray’s main role at Ironwood is a lead process chemist working to usher novel small molecules from discovery into clinical development by providing robust chemical syntheses that are phase-appropriate, ensuring continual availability of the API. In this capacity he has extensive experience working with and managing Contract Manufacturers across the world. He also serves as a project manager responsible for coordination of all Pharmaceutical Development roles and responsibilities for a Development Stage Project.

Currently, Ray is attending Babson College, where he expects to receive an MBA in October of 2011. Before moving to Ironwood, Ray worked at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in the Chemical Development group as a lead chemist and project manager for several development projects. Ray earned a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he worked for Dr. Duncan Wardrop on new strategies and methods for the synthesis of highly functionalized natural compounds in the areas of nitrenium ion chemistry and generation and application of alkylidenecarbenes. After his time at UIC, Ray moved on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland College Park under the direction of Dr. Michael Doyle. There, Ray discovered new uses for dirhodium carboxamidates in the areas of Lewis acid catalysis and catalytic chemical oxidation. To date, Ray has 4 patents with 4 pending as well as 9 publications in peer reviewed journals.

Ray lives outside of Boston, MA. He is married to his wife Janet and has two children, ages 5 (Grady) and 3 (Riley). In his spare time he enjoys golf and spending time with his family.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Gaffney

Jeffrey S. Gaffney is a tenured Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Jeff has published 190 papers as well as book chapters and technical reports. Some of his recent publications include papers looking at Mexico City aerosol interactions, done in collaboration with Dr. Mario Molina and with theoretical work contributed by Dr. Joseph Francisco. He has also given over 400 lectures at national and international meetings and has worked as a research chemist at three Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories (Brookhaven, Los Alamos, and Argonne). He was Chief Scientist of the DOE Atmospheric Chemistry Program and Global Change Education Program (GCEP) while at Argonne and is currently Mentoring Coordinator for GCEP.

In 2000, Jeff was awarded the ACS Science Policy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Public Policy. He was a member of the ACS Environmental Chemistry Awards Committee from 1993 to 1996, a member of the ACS Books Editorial Advisory Board from 1997 to 2000, a member of the Joint Board Council Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs from 2002 to 2011, Chair of the CCPA Policy Subcommittee from 2007-2010, and a member of the Chicago ACS Candidate Nominating Committee in 2005. He has also been active in the American Meteorological Society as Chair of the Atmospheric Chemistry committee, a member of the History Committee, and a past member of the Board of Women and Minorities.

Jeff holds a BS (1971, honors), an MS (1973), and a PhD (1975) in physical organic chemistry, all from the University of California, Riverside.

Dr. Janan Hayes

Five years ago, Janan Hayes retired in Sacramento, CA after 35 years in the California Community College system. She is now doing the activities she always wanted to do, including a recent trip to Israel for the Edelstein International Symposium on Color at Shenkar College—an experience that she says now typifies her life.

Jan holds a BS and an MS in Science Education from Oregon State University. She began her academic career as a high school chemistry teacher in Northern California. She then obtained a PhD in inorganic-analytical chemistry from Brigham Young University in 1971, after which she became a faculty member at American River College in Sacramento, CA. After teaching primarily quantitative analysis for ten years, she began a 12 year tour as an administrator. She served as SMART (Science, Math, Agriculture and Related Technologies) Dean at Cosumnes River College, and later moved 130 miles down the Central Valley to serve as Dean of Instruction and Vice President of Instruction of Merced College. She then went back to teaching, focusing primarily on introductory chemistry and physical science. In 2005, she retired as a Professor Emeritus from Merced College.

Part of Jan’s academic career was spent in chemical history and the development of Project Inclusion. This is a project designed to include information on the application of chemistry-- and science in general-- from a variety of peoples, places and times in order to enhance student interest and success in their classes. This interest has also encouraged Jan to do a large amount of traveling, including her recent trip to Israel.

Jan has also been active with ACS. She has now served on council for over 30 years, including the past three on the Board of Directors as a director-at-large. She has served on all three elected council committees and been chair of Meetings and Expositions. She is also the immediate past chair of the Division of History of Chemistry. Jan has been involved at the local level with the Sacramento Section, and has been involved in regional meetings and public policy actions such as the California Coordinating Committee. She is currently serving as the co-chair of the Leadership Advisory Board and as a council representative to the Program Review Advisory Group (PRAG) and is looking forward to more adventures.

Dr. Russell W. Johnson

Russell Johnson is a Corporate Fellow at Honeywell. He has worked for the company since 1974, mostly in the Specialty Materials and Aerospace businesses. He currently leads the Honeywell Aerospace Air Management Council, which functions across the company to develop air management products for aircraft, spacecraft, and surface vehicles. Product areas include cabin air quality, protection against chemical/biological threats, environmental control systems, sensors, and fuel tank inerting. Russ and Honeywell’s 6 other Corporate Fellows also help the corporation to develop mentoring and innovation strategy and tools for the company’s 27,000 technical staff.

Russ earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Colorado. Previous to his current assignment, Russ worked on development of automotive catalytic converters, new fluorine-containing chemicals, and systems for advanced thermal management systems for high-speed aircraft. Russ has also been recognized for his work in the application of advanced technology for conversion of hazardous and reactive materials. For example, he served as Chief Scientist for the Parsons-Honeywell team that developed technology for destroying nerve agent and assembled chemical weapons.

Russ’ effort has resulted in 60 U.S. patents, numerous technical papers, and participation in outside professional activities. He is a 2010 Fellow of the American Chemical Society. His role in development of demilitarization technology led to an American Chemical Society Heroes of Chemistry Award in 1997. A councilor from the Chicago Section, he previously served on CPRC.

Dr. Kristen Kulinowski

Kristen Kulinowski is a Research Staff Member in the IDA Science & Technology Policy Institute (STPI). STPI is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) chartered by Congress that provides rigorous and objective analysis of science and technology (S&T) policy issues for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other offices and councils within the executive branch of the U.S. government and federal agencies. Kristen has expertise in chemical and materials sciences, risk policy, education, and research administration. Prior to joining STPI, she was at Rice University as senior faculty fellow in the department of chemistry, executive director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, and director of the International Council on Nanotechnology. Her work focused on engaging government, industry, and civil society stakeholders in exploring and managing the environmental and health risks of engineered nanomaterials. She was also OSA-SPIE Congressional Science Policy Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001-2002, where she worked on legislation involving weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and domestic nuclear power security. Kristen holds a BS in chemistry from Canisius College and MS and PhD degrees in chemistry from the University of Rochester.

Kristen has been a member of the Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs since 2012. She chaired the Greater Houston Section of the American Chemical Society in 2006, and has served as its Government Affairs Committee chair from 2007-2011.

Dr. Pamela Leggett-Robinson

Dr. Pamela Leggett-Robinson is a native of Decatur, Georgia and the product of the DeKalb County School system. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Georgia State University and M.S. in Bio-Inorganic Chemistry from Tennessee Technological University. She received her Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from Georgia State University in 2003.

Currently, Dr. Leggett-Robinson is enjoying the challenges of being the Science Department Chair on the Decatur Campus of Georgia Perimeter College. She teaches one class per year (Organic Chemistry) and remains an active member in the American Chemical Society on both the National and Regional Levels- (Member of the Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs, Secretary of the GA Local Section, Chairperson of the GA Local Section Percy Julian Award, GA Local Section Co-Chair of the Government Advocacy Committee). She is the PI of a $1.5 million NSF STEP grant and continues to work closely with LSAMP students at Georgia Perimeter College and as well as other STEM committees.

Dr. Leggett-Robinson has received awards and honors for scholastic achievement and service to her community, i.e., Southern Regional Education Board Dissertation Fellow 2002-2003; Georgia State University David W. Boykin Graduate Fellow 2002-2003; Ronald E. McNair Scholar 2002-2003; 2005 TRIO Achievement Award; 2006-2007STAR Fellow @University of North Texas-Health Sciences; 2007 Tuskegee University Service Award; Southern Regional Education Board Service Award 2008. She has received external funding from NSF and NIH in both science research and science education.

Dr. Leggett-Robinson continues to hold firm to her beliefs that “Chemistry is the central science that drives the daily phenomenon in our lives and the love for science must start at the grass root level. We, as STEM professionals, need to expose the youth to the many possibilities of a rewarding career in STEM.” Because of this belief, she is a strong advocate for STEM programs in higher education, spends time in Washington, D.C. lobbying for increases in Science Funding, and mentors African-American young college women in the sciences. Dr. Leggett-Robinson also volunteers to judge science fairs (junior and senior divisions) at the local and regional levels and is a Special Awards Judge for the GSEF.

Dr. Leggett-Robinson, lives in Clayton County with her husband and their blended family: 17-year-old daughter Jacquelyne, 15-year-old son Joshua, 15-year-old son Adara, 14-year-old son Adrian, and dog, Moose (a lovable bullmastiff mix). In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, cooking, laughing, and simply being an ordinary “wife” and “mom” to an extraordinary family.

Dr. Jyoti Malhotra

Dr. Jyoti Dalvi-Malhotra earned her Ph.D. degree in chemistry in 2002 from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology). Her Ph.D. research studies were partly conducted at the University of Hull, UK (1998-2000), and mainly dealt with synthesis of complex organic compounds which can be used for biomedical applications. She then joined Argonne National Laboratory, in Argonne, IL, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow (2002-2004). Her postdoctoral research emphasized design and development of polymeric platforms for advanced biosensor applications. She joined Brewer Science in 2004 and has worked in a wide range of R&D projects and multi-year government research contracts since then. Currently, she is one of the few senior scientists in the Brewer Science.

Dr. Malhotra is a councilor for the ACS South Central Missouri local section. She formed a government affairs committee for that ACS section in 2009. She also chaired this local section in 2009 during which she successfully secured Innovation Project Grant from ACS. She along with the local section hosted a workshop named “From a tree to forest: Teaching teachers how to inspire students.” Teachers and students from 10+ high schools participated in the workshop. During her tenure as a local section chair, the local section was selected as one of the final two nominees for the ChemLuminary award by the ACS for the first time ever.

Dr. Sarah Mullins

Sarah Mullins loves industrial sandpaper. She works at 3M in the Abrasive Systems Division, developing the technologies needed to support manufacturing's most "cutting edge" needs. She moved to Minnesota for her job about 10 years ago and have been an avid promoter of Post-it notes, tapes, bandages, etc. ever since!

When not working in the lab, Sarah serves as councilor and on the GAC for the Minnesota Local Section. For the last ten years, she has also been a dedicated advocate for transportation equity issues via a church coalition in which she has led successful legislative and ballot campaigns to increase funding for transit. Sarah has said, “The lesson I learned from participation in transportation and science policy advocacy to a range of elected officials (and their staff) on local, state and federal levels is that there are a lot of good people who are trying to do the best they can for their constituents. Even when the worst of politicization hits Capitol Hill, we have the opportunity to go in and speak from the heart, to talk about the consequences of different options on the ground level. The presence of our voice does matter. As constituents and ACS members connected across the country, I am proud of our impact!” Sarah has been serving on CCPA for 5 years.

Dr. E. Ann Nalley

Ann Nalley is a Professor of Chemistry in the Physical Science Department at Cameron University, a position that she has held since 1969. Ann has held positions as a visiting scientist or professor in the Chemistry Departments at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Dallas, and the Polymer Science Department at the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree at Northeastern Oklahoma State University, a Master's Degree in analytical chemistry at Oklahoma State University, and a PhD in radiation chemistry from Texas Woman's University. Her research includes new product development and solving industrial problems in the area of cosmetic analysis, nanostructural materials, applied research in the petroleum industry and computer molecular modeling.

Ann served as ACS President in 2006. She has a long record of service to the American Chemical Society at the local, state, regional and national level. At the completion of her term in the Presidential succession in 2007 she completed a term of ten years as a member of the ACS Board of Directors, including seven years as Director of District V. She is a member of the PACIFICHEM Organizing Committee and was the first woman to be appointed to that position. She also serves as the deputy chair of the Mata Conferences, which brings scientists together in the Middle East to establish research collaborations to solve environmental and energy related problems that affect countries in the Middle East and to work toward solving political problems in this area. She has served as a councilor for more than 25 years. In 1996, she was awarded the Division of Professional Relation's Henry Hill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Professionalism and was named the Oklahoma Chemist in 1992. She was the first and only woman to receive this award. She received the 2005 Professional Excellence Award from the National Iota Sigma Pi Honor Society for Women in Chemistry. In 2008, she was recognized as one of the top 50 women in the state of Oklahoma by the Journal Record, and in 2009, was inducted as one of the first group of American Chemical Society Fellows. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2010.

In addition, Ann served as President of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi from 1996-1998 (the largest and most prestigious multidisciplinary honor society) and as a member of their Board of Directors for 21 years. In her spare time, she finds time to maintain a pet refuge for over 40 displaced or deserted animals.

Dr. Carl A. Picconatto

Carl A. Picconatto is the Department Head of Emerging Technologies at The MITRE Corporation. This department is responsible for the development of cutting-edge technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational imaging and sensing, quantum information sciences, and neurotechnology. Prior to this position, Dr. Picconatto was the deputy director of the MITRE Department responsible for supporting science and technology programs across the intelligence community. In addition, Dr. Picconatto founded and served as MITRE's first Director of the Nanotechnology Experimental Laboratory. His research efforts include nanotechnology for energy and power systems, carbon nanotube separation, and theoretical investigations of the electronic characteristics of single molecules. In addition, he led MITRE's development of methodologies for the design and simulation of novel nanoelectronic memories and processors, which were critical to the physical realization of the world's first prototype nanelectronic computer systems.

Prior to joining MITRE, Carl served in the United States Congress under fellowships with the National Academy of Sciences and the American Chemical Society. During that time, he served as the chief science advisor to Congresswoman Constance A. Morella, a senior member of the House Committee on Science. He also has worked for the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy at the National Academy of Sciences. Carl holds a PhD in Chemistry from Columbia University and a BS from the University of Notre Dame.


Dr. Lawrence J. Berliner

Lawrence J. Berliner is a professor at the University of Denver and the University of Colorado’s Toxicology Graduate Program. He has previously held professorships in chemistry and medical biochemistry at The Ohio State University.

Larry has served as an alternate councilor for the Colorado section of the ACS and later served as 2009 Chair of the Colorado section, affording him the opportunity to work with ACS members from academic institutions, industry, and government labs. As a current councilor for the Colorado ACS, he continues to work closely with the ACS and the Council for Chemical Research (CCR) on issues pertaining to federal legislation and appropriations requests. He is also interested in undergraduate and graduate education in the chemical sciences as well as strengthening K-12 science education.

Larry has been active with the CCR’s Research Investment Action Network, where he has drafted white papers, participated in Congressional Visitation Days, and helped initiate visits to federal agencies prior to each year’s budget considerations. He has also taught two courses at the University of Denver on ‘The Politics of Science,’ in which freshmen learned from and lobbied federal congressional offices in Colorado. Larry holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA (1963) and a PhD in physical chemistry from Stanford University (1967); he completed a postdoctoral program in biophysics at Oxford University (1968) and a postdoctoral program in physical biochemistry at Stanford University (1969).

Dr. Alvin F. Bopp

Alvin F. Bopp is a native New Orleanian. He received his PhD in 1974 from the University of New Orleans, and, after a tour of duty in the US Army, his career turned to R&D in both government and industry laboratories.

He came to academia a little later than most, joining the Chemistry faculty of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) in 1996. Alvin has spent the last 14 years at SUNO, where he is currently a Professor of Chemistry. His current research interests include the chemistry of cotton and the interdisciplinary area of chemistry and art-- in particular, materials conservation and preservation.

He became active in the Louisiana Section of ACS when he joined the SUNO faculty. Over the past 14 years he has held every office on the Section’s Executive Committee and is currently a councilor.

Dr. Susan Butts

Dr. Susan Butts is an active member of the science and technology policy community following her 31 year career in the chemical industry and related organizations. Most recently she served at the President of the Council for Chemical Research, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to benefit society by advancing research in chemistry, chemical engineering, and related disciplines through leadership collaboration across discipline, institution, and sector boundaries. Before joining CCR she worked for The Dow Chemical Company for three decades in various positions in the Research and Development organization. From 2001-2009 she served first as Director of External Technology then as Senior Director of External Science & Technology Programs. In that capacity she was responsible for Dow’s sponsored research programs at over 150 universities, institutes, and national laboratories worldwide and also for Dow’s contract research activities with U.S. and European government agencies. She also had responsibility for U.S. recruiting and hiring for R&D. She worked on issues related to science policy and government funding for research and development from Dow’s office in Washington, DC. She is past president of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership, an organization in the National Academies which works to strengthen research collaborations between universities and industry. She is also a member of the Council of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable in the National Academies and a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi, and the Association of Women in Science.

Dr. Butts holds the degrees of B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University. Before joining the External Technology group Dr. Butts held several other positions at Dow including Senior Resource Leader for Atomic Spectroscopy and Inorganic Analysis within the Analytical Sciences Laboratory, Manager of Ph.D. Hiring and Placement, Safety and Regulatory Affairs Manager for Central Research, and Principal Investigator on various catalysis research projects in Central Research.

Dr. Hui Cai

Dr. Hui Cai is Vice President of Corporate Alliances at WuXi AppTec, a NYSE listed premier provider of comprehensive and integrated services across pharmaceutical R&D value chain with over 5,600 employees globally. She brought to WuXi broad expertise in strategic planning, business development, along with ten years of drug discovery experience at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development. She is a co-author and co-inventor to over 40 scientific publications and issued or pending patents.

Dr. Cai is an ACS Councilor, and has served on the ACS San Diego local section board member and past local section chair. She served for 5 years as a Commissioner at The City of San Diego Science and Technology Commission, an advisory board to the Mayor of San Diego and San Diego City Council. She was also Chairwoman of Board at Sino-American Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Professionals Association (SABPA) and a member of Bayhelix, an organization of leaders of Chinese heritage in the global life sciences and healthcare community.

Dr. Cai received her BS and MS in Chemistry from Peking University, PhD from The Scripps Research Institute, and MBA from UCSD Rady School of Management as a DLA Piper - Athena FlexMBA Scholar.

Dr. L. Shannon Davis

Dr. Shannon Davis received her B.S. in chemistry from Georgia Southern University and her Ph. D. from Dr. Russell S. Drago at the University of Florida. She spent 18 years as a research chemist and R&D manager at Monsanto Company and Solutia Inc, working on a diverse range of chemistries including oxidation & hydrogenation catalysis, polymer chemistry, material science, & green chemistry. Her work with the Women Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society fostered a longstanding interest in the changing role of women in the physical sciences. In 2006, Shannon returned to academia, joining the faculty at her alma mater, Georgia Southern University, where she taught in the analytical division and supervised an active group of undergraduate researchers focused on the development of novel heterogeneous catalysts and their use in green chemistry applications. She was awarded tenure at Georgia Southern in 2011, but discovered her love for chemical education and teaching outstripped her interests in catalysis and undergraduate research. In 2012, Shannon began a new position at Pensacola State College, where she teaches general chemistry for majors, chemistry for non-majors, and is preparing to tackle the organic chemistry sequence soon.

Dr. Cheryl B. Frech

Cheryl B. Frech is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond, OK, where she has been on the faculty since 1991 and served as department chair from 2004-2012. With the UCO Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning, Cheryl manages a cross-campus mentoring program for new faculty.

Cheryl joined ACS in 1981. She served as Chair of the Oklahoma Local Section in 1994 and as Councilor from 2002-2007. She currently serves on the section Executive Committee as Public Relations Chair. She serves on the Division of Chemical Education’s Biennial Conference Committee, Regional Meetings Committee, and New Members Committee. She served on the ACS Committee on Public Relations and Communications (CPRC) from 2004-2012, chairing CPRC from 2010-2012. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) and serves on the JCE editorial advisory board.

Cheryl’s research interests in chemical education include mentoring and faculty development, team-based learning, women in chemistry, communicating science and chemistry to the public, and the scholarship of the periodic table. She received her B. S. in biochemistry in 1981 from Oklahoma State University and her M. S. (1984) and Ph. D. (1987) in analytical chemistry from the University of Oklahoma. In 1988-89, Cheryl was a post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany.

Lynne Greenblatt

Lynne Greenblatt received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rutgers University, and gained extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, spanning discovery research (cheminformatics, scientific data management and analysis, medicinal chemistry), bulk manufacturing (technical and management positions), and quality assurance. Her retirement from Pfizer in January 2010 marked the end of a 36-year career at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Lynne has been active with the ACS Princeton Local Section for the past 20 years, and has been a councilor since 2002. She served on the ACS Council Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs from 2003 – 2010, and was the 2010 Committee Chair. She also served as a member-at-large of the Division of Professional Affairs from 2008 – 2010, and continues to be actively involved with the division.

She and her husband operate a software consulting company, specializing in custom applications in Excel. They divide their time between their homes in New Jersey, and on the Bay of Fundy, in New Brunswick, Canada.

Dr. Zafra Lerman

Zafra Lerman is the President of MIMSAD (Methods Integrating Music, Science, Art and Dance). Her Ph.D. is from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and she conducted research at Cornell and Northwestern Universities, and the ETH, Zurich, Switzerland. Zafra developed an innovative approach of teaching science at all levels using the arts and cultural backgrounds, which received international recognition, and she has lectured around the world.

For 25 years, Zafra has chaired the sub-Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights for the American Chemical Society (ACS). At great risk to her safety, Zafra was successful in preventing executions, releasing prisoners of conscience from jail and bringing dissidents to freedom.

Since 2001, she has been using chemistry as a bridge to peace in the Middle East. She is the president of the “Malta Conferences Foundation” which brings together scientists from 15 Middle East countries with six Nobel laureates to work on solving regional problems, establishing cross-border collaborations, and forging relationships that bridge chasms of distrust and intolerance.

Zafra has received 38 national and international awards for her work such as the Presidential Award from President Clinton (1999); the World Cultural Council's World Award for Education in Johannesburg, South Africa (2000, the first international award in the new democratic South Africa); the ACS Parsons Award for outstanding public service to society through chemistry (2003); The Royal Society of Chemistry, England, Nyholm Education Award (2005); New York Academy of Sciences Pagels Human Rights Award (2005); George Brown Award for International Scientific Cooperation from CRDF Global(2007); the ACS Pimentel Award for excellence in chemical education (2010); and the Peace Award from the International Center for Innovation in Education (2010). In 2011, Zafra received an award for Stimulating Collaborations and Ensuring Human Rights by the International Conference on Chemistry for Mankind in India.

Dr. Joseph A. Potenza

Joseph A. Potenza received a PhD in chemistry from Harvard University (1967), following a BS in chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of New York, formerly Brooklyn (1962). After two years in the US Army (1966-1968, exit rank, Captain), he entered Rutgers University as an assistant professor of chemistry, becoming Distinguished Professor in 1981, and University Professor in 1996. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Munster, Germany (1974-1975), and at Jilin University, China (1983). He was also the Chair of the Rutgers Chemistry Department from 1981-1984.

Joe has served as Vice-Chair for Development in the Rutgers Chemistry Department from 2002-2008; Chair of the Associated Institutions for Materials Sciences in New Jersey’s governing board from 2000-2003; Dean of the Graduate School, New Brunswick from 1993-1995; Associate Provost for Academic Affairs in the Sciences, New Brunswick from 1990-1992; Provost of the New Brunswick Campuses from 1993-1995; Acting Chair of the Rutgers Chemistry Department in 1986; Director of the graduate program in chemistry from 1980-1984; the New Brunswick Chair in Chemistry from 1980-1981; and Director of the School of Chemistry at Rutgers College from 1977-1980.

Joe has coauthored more than 160 journal articles, and his research interests have included boron chemistry, collision mechanics in liquids, x-ray crystallography, and bioinorganic chemistry. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Award. He has twice received the Susman Award, which is given by the Parents’ Association of Rutgers College and is the highest teaching award at Rutgers. In 2003, he was also a finalist for NJ Professor of the Year.

Joe’s ACS service includes serving as program co-chair of the 2005 MARM, chair of the North Jersey section in 2009, and is currently serving as a councilor.

Dr. Sonja Strah-Pleynet

Sonja Strah-Pleynet has 10 years of drug discovery and development experience in biotech/pharmaceutical industry coupled with 15 years of ACS volunteer and leadership experience on local and national level. Sonja received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry and B.S. in chemistry from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She came to the United States in 1997 after being awarded a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Alan Katritzky at the University of Florida. She moved to San Diego in 1998 for a postdoctoral appointment at the UCSD School of Medicine. Sonja began her professional career in 1999 at Arena Pharmaceuticals, where she held positions with increased responsibilities for ten years, before moving to Boston in 2010. She contributed to various multidisciplinary research programs directed toward discovery and development of novel therapeutics for CNS, cardiovascular, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. She was instrumental in the design and synthesis of key compounds that led to the discovery and development of two clinical candidates, APD125 for insomnia and APD179 for cardiovascular disease. Sonja is a co-inventor and co-author to over 40 scientific publications and issued or pending patents.

Sonja has been an active ACS member since 1998. She served on the Executive Board of the San Diego Section for 12 years, as a Councilor, Alternate Councilor and Government Affairs Committee Chair. Under her leadership, San Diego Section won the ChemLuminary Award - ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs, presented at the 2010 ACS National Meeting in Boston. As the Chair of the Government Affairs Committee for four years, she organized and led federal legislative district office and Capitol Hill visits to engage legislators and advocate on issues important to ACS members, such as science research funding, STEM education, innovation, green chemistry and sustainability. In this role, she initiated and developed strategic partnerships and collaborations between industry, academia and government, ACS and other scientific organizations. In addition, Sonja also represented San Diego Section on the California Government and Legislative Affairs Committee. At the national level, she served on the ACS National Award Selection Committee and completed full six year term on the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA), Subcommittee on Public Policy. She was also a CEPA liaison to the Committee on Minority Affairs and International Relations. Sonja currently serves on the Presidential Task Force ‘Vision 2025’ which was appointed by the ACS 2012 President-Elect, Dr. Marinda Li Wu, to help address challenges that globalization of chemistry enterprise has posed for ACS members. Sonja has been active in the ACS Northeastern Section (NESACS) since moving to Boston in 2010 and is a member of the NESACS Government Affairs Committee.

Dr. Jonathan Wilker

Jonathan is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University and by courtesy, a Professor in the Purdue University School of Materials Engineering. Jon grew up in the Boston area and was often taken to the beach by his parents. Now at Purdue, his research program focuses on materials produced by marine organisms. A particular focus is the adhesives and cements produced by mussels and oysters for sticking to rocks. Ongoing efforts include characterization of these marine biological materials, developing synthetic polymer mimics, and designing applications for these new materials. Projects are often inspired by what is seen while out scuba diving.


Mr. Stephen Benn

Stephen Benn is a lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds and spent his first birthday in Hyde Park, Cincinnati. He currently works with the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the Government in London for the Royal Academy of Chemistry on behalf of science. In this capacity, he has successfully persuaded the United Kingdom’s House of Commons to allow live chemistry experiments in honor of the International Year of Chemistry, 2011. Dr. Benn also has experience lobbying the United States Congress, and once worked as an assistant to a United States Senator.

Committee Liaisons

Mr. Keith Butler

Keith Butler is the Chief Chemist at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant (MLAAP) in Milan, Tennessee, employed by the contracting operator American Ordnance, LLC. His laboratory performs acceptance testing for ammunition components and finished products as well as environmental compliance monitoring. He is the MLAAP Chemical Hygiene Officer, a member of the installation spill response team and is a trained hazardous waste operator. He sits on the Army's Environmental Restoration Advisory Board for the Milan Army Ammunition Plant, twice serving as the community co-chair.

Keith is an adjunct professor of chemistry for Jackson State Community College and Union University where he teaches introductory and freshman chemistry. He has been published in the Journal of Chemical Education and the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety.

As an active member of the American Chemical Society Keith served as the 2007 Chair of the Kentucky Lake Section and is the current PR chair and web administrator for KLS. He is also the Industrial Advisor to the Union University Student Members of ACS (SMACS). Keith recently joined TNGAC and was appointed to the Federal Policy Subcommittee. Championing the public image of chemistry, he serves on the ACS Committee on Public Relations and Communications (CPRC) and is chair of CPRC Awards subcommittee. For several years Keith has been a volunteer judge for the West Tennessee Regional Science and Engineering Fair which is an affiliate of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Union University and an M.S. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Memphis.

Dr. John Gavenonis

John Gavenonis is the Global Technology Manager - Renewable / Sustainable Materials at DuPont Performance Polymers (DPP) in Wilmington, Delaware, where he leads DPP's global R&D program to develop engineering thermoplastic resins derived from renewable feedstocks. Commercial products include Sorona® EP, Zytel® RS polyamide, and Hytrel® RS thermoplastic elastomer resins. Previously he was part of the DPP industrial, consumer, and energy marketing group, where he expanded applications for DPP products in the global health care market segment. He also worked as a member of the Engineering Polymers technical service group with responsibility for Zytel® and Minlon® nylon products. He started at DuPont in 2003 as a Research and Development Chemist in the business extensions group at DuPont Titanium Technologies..

John received an S.B. degree in chemistry from MIT, where he conducted undergraduate research on early transition metal polymerization catalysts with 2005 Nobel Laureate Professor Richard R. Schrock. He earned his Ph.D. in organometallic / inorganic chemistry in 2003 from the University of California, Berkeley under the direction of Professor T. Don Tilley. His thesis research focused on the development of early transition metal complexes containing sterically demanding ligands and reactive sigma-bonds. John is originally from Larksville, Pennsylvania.

John has been an ACS member since 1998 and is a member of the Division of Inorganic Chemistry. Formerly a member of the California Section, he currently serves as Councilor and Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair of the Delaware Section. As Councilor, he is a member of the Local Section Activities Committee (LSAC), chair of the LSAC Alliances and Partnerships (A&P) subcommittee, and is the LSAC liaison to the Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs (CCPA). John is a member of the MIT Alumni Association Board of Directors where he recently launched a policy advocacy program for MIT alumni that is similar to the ACS Act4Chemistry Legislative Action Network (LAN).

Dr. Uzma Zakai

Uzma Zakai is currently serving as the Young Chemists Committee (YCC) liaison to the Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs. She is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working between the departments of chemistry and pharmacy. Her project involves the synthesis of compounds that activate various antioxidant pathways critical to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. She is interested in forging cooperation between the CCPA and the YCC in order to advance the CCPA’s message in Congress.

Uzma has broad training in biological chemistry and organic synthesis that she received as an undergraduate at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina and then as a graduate student at the University of Arizona. After her postdoctoral program at UW-Madison, she became interested in pursuing a career in medicinal chemistry and remaining involved in science policy. In particular, given her career background, she would be interested in forming collaborative relationships with sister biomedical organizations, such as the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for Neuroscience, to advance the message of scientific societies in Congress.

In her free time, she is fond of traveling and watching movies. She enjoys experimenting with different cuisines and shopping for exotic ingredients—and claims that it was this fascination with creation and experimentation that originally drew her to organic chemistry.