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2009 ChemLuminary Award Winners

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society

Mary Virginia Orna | Professor of Chemistry, College of New Rochelle

Mary Virginia Orna was recognized for her unstinting service to the ACS, its Council and committees, the Divisions of Chemical Education and the History of Chemistry, her students and colleagues, and humanity. | Video

Committee on Public Relations and Communications

Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach

David A. Katz | Professor, Pima Community College

The 2009 Helen Free Award was presented to David A. Katz for more than 30 years of chemistry outreach. From developing some of today’s most common classroom chemistry activities to performing live as an “expert demonstrator” before international audiences; from conducting televised experiments and radio interviews to popularizing science for youth through his continuously updated website of educational chemistry activities (, Professor Katz is a leader in performing chemistry outreach and enhancing the popular understanding of the chemistry profession. | Video

Committee on Public Relations and Communications

Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section

Chicago Local Section

The Chicago section was recognized for extensive use of their website as a communications tool, launch of the ACS branding initiative, and partnership with local science organizations. | Video

Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section

Pittsburgh Local Section

The Pittsburgh section was recognized for partnering with local organizations to organize "The Future of Energy Symposium," a discussion of local significance that brought the community together with scientists from across the region. | Video

Women Chemists Committee

Outstanding Overall Local Section Women Chemists Committee

Richland Local Section

In 2008 the Richland Section continued to uphold its outstanding record of outreach activities including the Expanding Your Horizons program, sponsoring Nuclear Chemistry Merit Badge events, and sponsoring the Girls in Science Program. Additionally, a new event, Science Saturday, was initiated to expand outreach to minority children. | Video

Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs

Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award – Small to Medium Large Size

The Puerto Rico Local Section receives the
Best High School NCW Event at the 11th
Annual ChemLuminary Awards in
Washington, DC.

Detroit Local Section

The Detroit section provided career guidance, counseling, and enhancement information to members, non-members, and students. Two local section meetings were held to address non-traditional careers for chemists and retirement planning in the new economic paradigm. Support services are being provided on an on-going basis. | Video

Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award – Large to Very Large Size

Georgia Local Section

Several activities of the Georgia section provided career support to high school chemistry and science teachers, academic chemists, chemists in industry, and other career professionals. Extensive public relations activities also were conducted that directly promoted the importance of chemistry practitioners relative to society and the economy. | Video

Younger Chemists Committee

Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event

Michigan State University Local Section

The Michigan State University Local Section YCC held a food drive to support the Mid-Michigan food bank with the goals of collecting food and increasing awareness of YCC. New members were recruited and $1100 worth of donations were collected. | Video

Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee

Delaware Local Section

The Delaware section organized YCC happy hours that were held at 20 local venues and sponsored various other events, including a bowling social, a brewery dinner and tour, a Chemistry of Cooking night, a YCC Night at a Wilmington Blue Rocks baseball game, and a National Chemistry Week event hosting 300 people with fourteen learning and demonstration tables. | Video

Outstanding New Local Section Younger Chemists Committee

St. Louis Local Section

After several years of dormancy, the St. Louis YCC committee was reactivated in 2008 with great response. They held a Chemistry Career night that attracted more than 70 participants; a Younger Chemist Night Out including various happy hours; and a Twilight Tuesday that featured a free concert at the Missouri History Museum. | Video

Committee on Divisional Activities

Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division

Enjoying the ChemLuminary Poster Session
prior to the awards ceremony are l-r Terri
Quinn-Gray, Delaware Local Section;
Mary Carroll, Eastern New York Local Section,
and Chris Masi, Central Massachusetts
Local Section.

Division of Physical Chemistry

The Physical Chemistry Symposium for Undergraduate Chemistry Majors is a pilot program that introduced undergraduate researchers to technical symposia. Students dined with selected invited speakers and presented posters on their own research in the Physical Chemistry poster session. | Video

Division of Chemical Technicians

The Division of Chemical Technicians and the Northeastern Tennessee Local Section sponsored a symposium at the 2008 Southeastern Regional Meeting for technicians and students in the undergraduate programs to show the broad career choices available to chemical technicians. Mentoring from local technicians to students in area colleges has been established from this effort. | Video

Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry

The centennial of the Society's establishment of I&EC as its first Division in 1908 was marked by a Symposium Series volume, an invited-speaker symposium, a reception at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and site posters displayed at three National Meetings. | Video

Committee on Divisional Activities & Committee on Local Section Activities

Outstanding Collaboration Between a Local Section and Division

Northeast Tennessee Local Section and the Division of Chemical Technicians

The Northeast Tennessee Section and the Division of Chemical Technicians are recognized for organizing the excellent symposium, "Why I Chose an Applied Chemical Profession," which was conducted at the 2008 Southeastern Regional Meeting and featured ACS President Tom Lane as the keynote speaker. | Video

Society Committee on Education

ACS Student Affiliates Chapter Interaction Award

New York Local Section

Student Affiliates at institutions across the New York Section play active roles in professional development and outreach activities, including the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, National Chemistry Week events, and, in 2008, regional meeting programming. | Video

Outstanding High School Student Program Award

New York Local Section

Several successful programs were conducted by the New York section for more than 1,000 high school students and teachers. The programs included Project SEED, Chemistry Olympiad, Chemagination Contest, Brooklyn High School Chemistry Day, the 14th High School Research Poster Session, the Nichols Foundation Award, and the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Contest. | Video

Outstanding Kids & Chemistry Award

Greater Houston Local Section

In 2008, more than 7,000 children and adults were directly reached with Kids & Chemistry programs conducted by the members of the Greater Houston section; nearly double the number of people reached in 2007. Activities included chemistry demonstrations on educational television and hands-on programs in local schools, the Houston Hispanic Forum, summer camps, fairs, and museums. | Video

Committee on Project SEED

Outstanding Project SEED Program Award

The Illinois Heartland Project Seed Program has been active for 6 years. It began with just 2 mentors and 3 students, and now encompasses more than 35 students and 15 mentors. Six students have so far received Project SEED scholarships. | Video

Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs

ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs

Delaware Local Section

The Delaware Section organized a variety of successful unique and distinct activities to engage legislators and provide forums for members to learn about, debate, and discuss items of relevance to the chemistry community.

Nashville Local Section

The second winner, the Nashville Section, regularly engaged federal and state legislators and provided a forum for Local Section members to discuss and debate issues such as energy, the environment, education, and U.S. innovation. | Video

Committee on Minority Affairs

Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee

Puerto Rico Local Section

The Puerto Rico Local Section engaged minority students in many activities as part of Earth Day and their Science Cafe. At island-wide technical meetings, more than 400 undergraduates gave oral presentations and 100 advanced undergrads discussed their research with visiting scientists and published their findings in the meeting abstracts. | Video

Committee on Chemists With Disabilities

Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award

Virginia Local Section

The Virginia section hosted an activity for children in special education, some with sensory issues, to help them understand the relationship of water and winter, and how snow is formed. The activity resulted in the children being able to feel the cold snow when it formed. | Video

Joint Subcommittee on Diversity

ChemLuminary Award for Diversity

Brazosport Local Section

Brazosport organized several events that targeted minorities, women, and under-privileged youth and helped bring chemistry to diverse populations. Partnering with the Boys and Girls Scouts, Brazoria Chemistry Day was launched to celebrate Earth Day with more than 200 students. In a separate event, hands-on demonstrations were conducted for 1,200 5th graders by more than 30 volunteers. | Video

Committee on Meetings & Expositions – Subcommittee on Regional Meetings

Outstanding Regional Meeting

59th Southeast Regional Meeting - SERMACS 2007

SERMACS 2007, hosted by the Western Carolinas Local Section, attracted more than 1200 attendees. The program consisted of 859 technical papers, 51 exhibitors, two performances of Roald Hoffmann’s play, “Oxygen,” and an undergraduate program attended by 377 students.

40th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting - MARM 2008

The second winner, MARM 2008, hosted by the New York Section, featured “With Chemistry and Health” as its theme. More than 900 attendees enjoyed 587 technical papers, 19 exhibitors, and keynote addresses by Ronald Breslow and Roald Hoffman.

Committee on Community Activities

Outstanding Event for the General Public Using the Yearly Theme

Midland Local Section

The Midland section continued with their successful ongoing event with Scifest 2008 – Having a Ball with Chemistry. Hands-on activities were carried out from various exhibitors such as the Society of Plastics Engineers and the Mid-Michigan Technicians Group. | Video

Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW

North Jersey Local Section

Three members of the North Jersey section’s National Chemistry Week committee were featured on ABC’s Good Morning America kicking off their celebration. Some of their 200 community volunteers included Cub Scouts, ACS student members, industrial chemists, and college professors. | Video

Outstanding Event for a Specific Audience

Pittsburgh Local Section

The Pittsburgh section continued their commitment to reach students that have various economic, transportation, and other barriers by creating partnerships to help these under-represented groups. These efforts enhance the National Chemistry Week celebration each year by increasing science literacy and participation in science-related technology. | Video

Best High School NCW Event

Puerto Rico Local Section

The Puerto Rico section increased high school student involvement and interaction with their National Chemistry Week celebration by using local media from various mediums to promote the cooperation between local high school chemistry clubs and ACS. | Video

Best Student Affiliates Event

Southern California Local Section

This Student Affiliate chapter of the Southern California section adorned their entire campus with festive decorations for their National Chemistry Week celebration. Support was garnered from faculty, staff, students, volunteers, and experts from the sports world to show how to “have a ball with chemistry.” | Video

Outstanding Industrial Involvement

Cincinnati Local Section

Local companies such as Procter and Gamble, Givaudan Flavors, and Cognis Corporation partnered with the Cincinnati section’s volunteers for National Chemistry Week to endorse chemistry and its importance and relevance to society. | Video

Outstanding On-going NCW Event

Delaware Local Section

Students, teachers, and parents once again celebrated NCW with the Delaware Local Section and their annual “Chemistry Fair”. This on-going National Chemistry Week activity has grown tremendously for the past 11 years and continues to be a strong community event. | Video

Most Original Hands-On Activity or Chemical Demonstration

South Florida Local Section

The South Florida Local Section incorporated the historical aspects of Hispanic Heritage Week into their National Chemistry Week celebration with an exciting contest hosted by the science club. The contest featured students participating in creating a recipe for guacamole using chemistry terms. | Video

Greatest Community Involvement in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day

North Jersey Local Section

The North Jersey section sponsored outreach activities the entire month of April with Earth Day events that included collaboration with the 4-H environmental group, Fairleigh Dickenson University, Rutgers University, and others. They also were successful in gaining a new volunteer to work with under-represented communities. | Video

Creative and Innovative Use of the Chemists Celebrate Earth day Theme

Idaho Local Section

The Idaho section used several solar ovens to demonstrate solar power. The solar oven activities were based on the idea of using the clear “sky” to power solar ovens and conserve air by using less energy. | Video

Committee on Local Section Activities

Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement

Greater Houston Local Section

The Greater Houston Section is recognized for their collaboration with the Education Rainbow Challenge to improve academic achievement in math and science for 600 inner-city students. Working with local student affiliates, a greater impact has resulted within the inner city. | Video

Most Innovative New Activity or Program in a Local Section

Rochester Local Section

In 2008, the Rochester Local Section instituted the "Chemistry and the Arts Lecture Series". Over the course of the year, more than 1,000 people from the Rochester area – both members and non-members – enjoyed talks that demonstrated a variety of connections between chemistry and the arts. | Video

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Small Size Category Award

Mobile Local Section

Three new successful activities by the Mobile section included: A Forensic Science Saturday for High School students and teachers, funded by an Innovative Project Grant; a Chili Cook-off with the American Cancer Society that resulted in $250,000 in proceeds and attendance by 13,000 people; and a Science CafÉ with support from an LSAC mini-grant. | Video

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Medium Small Size Category Award

Brazosport Local Section

Brazosport had a strong year retooling and doubling their number of events from 2007. They partnered with the Boys and Girls Scouts to Celebrate Earth Day; successfully launched Brazoria Chemistry Day; and conducted hands-on demonstrations for 1200 fifth graders in 50 classes with more than 30 volunteers. | Video

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Medium Size Category Award

Nashville Local Section

Continued leadership, volunteers, publicity, and recognition programs gave the Nashville Section another outstanding year. They hosted a successful 2008 SERMACS; kicked-off an “Each One, Reach One Campaign” to boost membership; and the Publicity Chair established a weekly radio show to keep the public informed. | Video

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Medium Large Size Category Award

Eastern New York Local Section

The Eastern New York Section did an excellent job in science advocacy – re-establishing committees to target new young leaders and recognizing the section’s 50- and 60-year volunteers. New programs included utilizing the local hockey team’s marketing venues to promote a hockey game family event for National Chemistry Week. | Video

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Large Size Category Award

Colorado Local Section

Colorado is recognized for using their outstanding publicity efforts to conduct a National Chemistry Week Outreach at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science with an attendance of 6,513 people. | Video

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Very Large Size Category Award

North Jersey Local Section

The North Jersey Section did an outstanding job in addressing the challenges faced by many local sections by launching seven new activities; holding 48 executive committee meetings that resulted in a 14% participation increase in membership elections; recruiting 125 volunteers; and becoming involved with street fairs. | Video

David A. Katz, Professor, Pima Community
College, receives the Helen M. Free Award
for Public Outreach from Helen Free,
ACS President Tom Lane, and Russell
Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Public
Relations and Communications