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2020 ChemLuminary Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2020 ChemLuminary award winners!


American Chemical Society

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society

Janet L. Bryant, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (retired)

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.


Committee on Public Relations and Communications

Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach

Lydia E. Moissidou-Hines

Lydia has encouraged, taught and inspired generations of young people through activities including Kalamazoo’s annual Chemistry Day at the Museum, which draws 1,000 attendees each year. She wears chemistry-themed t-shirts as a way to start conversations with the public. And she carries science activity information and simple materials with her for the occasional impromptu opportunity to do an experiment on the fly with children and their parents.

Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section

Midland Local Section

The Midland Section continued publicity efforts for a host of events and activities that engage the public in chemistry in a fun and exciting way. The section used a digital newsletter, websites, newspaper articles, emails, social media, and radio to promote events including a museum exhibit on chemistry and art, a lecture about “The Neurochemistry of Music,” and a Science Café on “The Science of Syrup,” at which participants were invited to tap a tree, collect sap, and see it turned into syrup.

Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section

Puget Sound Local Section

The Puget Sound Section hosted multiple activities to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table. The section wanted to convey the message that chemistry is fun, educational and important in everyday life. Highlights included lectures, public activities for all ages, and even bar drinks celebrating the elements. The governor of the State of Washington signed a proclamation for IYPT and Theodore Gray spoke at several venues about his book on the elements.


ACS Strategic Planning Committee

Best Activity or Program Highlighting ACS Change Driver(s) or Strategic Planning

Greater Houston Local Section

The Greater Houston Local Section has been living its strategic plan since it was developed in 2013. A refresh of the strategic plan in 2019 and implementation of new strategies led to measurable results for the local section, including an increase in member involvement and improved communications. Aligning efforts and resources via an evergreen strategic plan has enabled the Greater Houston Local Section to have a greater impact on its members and the local community.


Membership Affairs Committee

MAC Industry Engagement & Outreach Award

Midland Local Section

The Midland Section organized a chemical technician focused symposium at the 2019 Central Region Meeting, “Technologist in Industry: From Molecules to Materials,” that included technical programming, career talks, networking events, and panel discussions.


Women Chemists Committee

Best Overall WCC Local Section

East Central Illinois Local Section

The Graduate Women Mentoring Program was formed to provide incoming, female graduate students with a mentor to help them navigate their first year of graduate school. The program hosted various chemistry area specific events fostering support


Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs

Outstanding Local Section Career Program

Silicon Valley Local Section

Held at Merck Research Labs, and attended by over 200, this symposium was the Silicon Valley local section’s most successful event in 2019 by attendees, engagement with the community, and positive feedback.


Younger Chemists Committee

Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Award

East Central Illinois Local Section

The ACS East Central Illinois Local Section Younger Chemists' Committee strived to provide professional development and leadership opportunities for younger chemists by reaching out to local high school/college-age students and facilitating networking among members and local industries. May events were planned with partner communities including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Department of Chemistry Graduate Student Advisory Committee, Encouraging Tomorrow’s Chemists, the Women Chemists’ Committee, the Society for the Advancement of Chicano/Hispanic and Native Americans in the Sciences, and the undergraduate ACS student chapter.

Outstanding or Creative Local Section YCC Event

Virginia Local Section

The Virginia Local Section Younger Chemists Committee co-hosted the 2nd Annual Chemistry Trivia Night & Poem Writing Contest at VCU in conjunction with the Medicinal Chemistry Graduate Student Association, the Chemistry Graduate Student Organization, and the ACS Undergraduate Student Affiliate Chemistry Chapter. This event was conducted in Celebration of The International Year Of The Periodic Table and it provided a great networking opportunity for the attendees to show off their trivia and poem writing skills.

Outstanding New Local Section YCC

Rochester Local Section

The Rochester Local Section Younger Chemists Committee helped younger chemists climb the ladder of success by bringing together speakers from chemical industry and academia to share their career journey and give advice to aspiring young chemists. Three professors from different types of academia and two industrial chemists shared their personal studies, offered advice and answered questions.


Committee on Chemists with Disabilities 

Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award 

Midland Local Section

The Midland Local Section, Michigan State University St. Andrews, ACS CWD and Dow co-sponsored the creation of a tactile 3D-printed periodic table in braille and American Sign Language. MSU students 6-17 years old who made the table learned individual elements, computer-aided design 3Dprinting, braille and sign language. Letter symbols that easily identify elements were intentionally absent to simulate challenges that persons with disabilities may encounter in accessing the table.


Committee on Divisional Activities

Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division

Division of Environmental Chemistry

An environmental film competition co-sponsored by the Committee for Environmental Improvement encouraged the submission of original films to advocate for an environmental cause, promote a challenge message, or call for change.

Most Unique Project as Funded by a Division Innovative Project Grant

Division of Business Development & Managment

Two highly successful BILL Talks – Business. Illumination. Longevity. Laughs – were held in 2019. Each were promoted and open to all regional meeting attendees as well as a specific target audience of BMGT division members, the ACS Board of Directors, industry, and business chemists. The two events were video recorded and published to the BMGT website.


Society Committee on Education

Fostering Interactions Between Local Sections & Student Chapters

Midland Local Section

Midland Section partnered Student Chapters in the Midland Section and beyond throughout the year to provide professional development & career networking opportunities, including workshops, career panels, presentations, tours, joint meetings, speed-networking, and social networking. Partnerships were primarily with Delta College, Central Michigan University and University of Michigan Flint student sections. The programming benefited students from several universities across the Central Region.

Outstanding U. S. National Chemistry Olympiad

Nashville Local Section

77 students from 12 high schools came to Tennessee Tech University to compete in the local section competition. Students participated in a written exam in the morning and a lab practical in the afternoon. Awards were given to the top students in the written portion and the lab portion, the top three teams, and the ten section delegates who competed in the National Exam.  Students from the TN Tech student chapter and a faculty volunteer executed chemical demonstration show for the participants after the competition has concluded.

Outstanding High School Student Program Award

Greater Houston Local Section

In 2019, Greater Houston hosted 25 events that reached over 8,000 high school students. Events included a variety of topics and activities such as chemistry careers paths, district wide events and local science event recruitment.

Outstanding Engagement with K-8 Students

East Central Illinois Local Section

Over the summer of 2019, East Central Illinois' program, The Bonding with Chemistry Day Camp for Girls, managed to engage and deepen the interest in Chemistry of roughly 100 girls in the Urbana-Champaign region.


Committee on Project SEED

Outstanding Project SEED Program Award

Indiana Local Section

Forty students participated AND successfully completed the 2019 program. That was a growth from 34 the previous year in 2018. Our committee and advisory board worked really hard to increase collaboration with all campus units that could potentially mentor students and at the same time worked hard to broaden the local financial support for the program.  We had a banner year in 2019. Out of the 30 ACS recipients for scholarships, 5 were from the Indiana program. We encourage their applications to the scholarships by first providing the context for it and demonstrating its importance. We also send email, phone and text reminders of impending deadlines and encourage them to relate their experiences in the best manner possible.


Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs

ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs

Puerto Rico Local Section

The Puerto Rico local section arranged an advocacy workshop. 25 members spoke with state senators and a former governor and witnessed the Puerto Rico Senate approve an IYPT proclamation.


Committee on Environmental Improvement

Outstanding Sustainability Activities Award

Chemical Society of Washington

The CSW Green Chemistry on Tap event aimed to introduce member participants the careers and research of chemistry professionals who work on green chemistry and sustainability-related issues.


Committee on Ethics

Outstanding Local Section Programming Related to the Promotion of Ethics in Chemistry Award

Chemical Society of Washington and Midland Local Section

Chemical Society of Washington led an inclusive process to develop a local-section specific Conduct Policy for CSW membership and events. The goal was to provide additional clarity about what is expected of CSW members' professional behavior, especially at CSW events, and to ensure that all members, guests, and public participants in CSW events felt safe and included. Throughout the drafting and development process, the leaders of this policy effort spent a lot of time ensuring that as broad and diverse a group of members as possible were consulted.

The Midland Local Section put on a public museum exhibit celebrating its Centennial Anniversary. One installation was on Unintended Consequences (UC), which addressed how ethics and environmental responsibility remain essential parts of ACS and the field. This installation prominently displayed the ACS code of conduct, stating the responsibilities of chemical professionals, and acknowledged several innovations that originated in Midland and had unintended consequences, including the silicone breast implant controversy, dioxin, and agent orange.


ACS Leadership Advisory Board

Outstanding Leadership Development Program Award

Midland Local Section

The Midland section WCC hosted the Skills Beyond the Bench Event, an annual collaboration between the Midland and the Detroit local sections. The event comprises female speakers sharing non-technical advice for success in chemistry careers.


Committee on Corporation Associates

Outstanding Local Section Industry Event

California and Silicon Valley Local Sections

California and Silicon Valley Local Sections are both recognized for their joint effor on the Bay Area Chemistry Symposium which brought together academic and industrial chemists to discuss various themes.


Committee on Technician Affairs

Best Event or Activity Organized by, or Benefiting, the Applied Chemical Technology Professional Community

Midland Local Section

The Midland Local Section was recognized for its outstanding contributions to chemical technical professionals for hosting a technologist focused section at the 2019 Central Regional Meeting (CERM), June 3-8, 2019.


Committee on Minority Affairs

Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee

Virginia Local Section

The events of the Virginia Local Section were made to enhance the awareness of 80-100 elementary 4th and 5th grade students from J.L. Francis Middle School in STEM. A visit to the Virginia Science Museum and STEM Career Day was held for this predominantly African American and Hispanic middle school student population.


Committee on International Activities

Global Engagement Award for International Chemical Sciences Chapters

Qatar International Chemical Sciences Chapter

The Qatar Chapter translated 32 periodic table posters into Arabic in celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table. The posters were distributed to other ACS chapters in the Middle East and local universities.

Global Engagement Award for Local Sections

Orange County Local Section

The Orange County Local Section held chemistry demonstrations at the Hospicio de San Jose orphanage in the Philippines. Children ages 7-14 participated in various experiments, including milk fireworks and baking soda and vinegar explosions.


Senior Chemists Committee

Best Continuing Senior Chemists Activity in a Local Section

Georgia Local Section

The annual 50-60-70 Year Awards and ACS Georgia Research Symposium is a win for students, senior chemists, and schools. This year “Elements of Collaboration” celebrated an intergenerational exchange of information and love for chemistry.

Best New Senior Chemists Activity within a Local Section  

Midland Local Section

The centennial of the Midland Section was recognized by a seven month museum exhibit and multiple related events. A celebratory lunch capped off the festivities.


Committee on Meetings & Expositions

Outstanding Regional Meeting

2018 Southeastern Regional Meeting (SERMACS)

The Savannah River Local Section hosted the 70th 2018 Southeastern Regional Meeting in Augusta, GA. There were 1593 registered participants with 14 countries in attendance with 1148 presentations in 86 invited or contributed oral sessions and 15 poster session across four (4) days of technical programming. There were 506 posters presented, which 356 were by undergraduates as part of an undergraduate poster contest. Four plenary sessions were held from an array of diverse and notable speakers, including a National Medal of Engineering recipient.


Committee on Community Activities

Best NCW Event Organized by a Student Group

San Gorgonio Local Section

The San Gorgonio Local Section hosted its National Chemistry Week 2019 event with assistance from several universities in the Southern California region, including the Cal Baptist University Chemistry Club, which was the driving force behind the event. The students prepared and ran their on hands-on science activities and conducted all of the advertising for the event. Over 100 people attended the free hands-on science event and were met by more than 20 volunteers.

Most Creative & Innovative Use of the CCEW Theme

Lehigh Valley Local Section

The Lehigh Valley Local Section hosted Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2019 jointly with Minerals Technologies Inc. and the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Their outreach event offered the public an opportunity to learn about the chemical aspects of the 2019 theme of paper from both a scientific and an industrial perspective. Visual exhibits and paper testing equipment from partners made for many fun and educational hands-on activities about papermaking.

Most Creative NCW Celebration Using the Yearly Theme

South Florida Local Section

The South Florida Local Section presented chemistry demos and hands-on activities related to the National Chemistry Week 2019 theme "Marvelous Metals" for 2,500 children and adults at the Miami Frost Museum of Science. About 40 volunteer students and faculty from 5 university student chapters participated in presenting hands-on activities about metals.

Outstanding Community Involvement in CCEW

Georgia Local Section

The Georgia Local Section participated in Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2019 with outreach events full of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and community members. Through 6 different partner events, Georgia reached over 1,100 community members. Community partners included local section members, retirees, two high schools, three colleges and universities, ACS student affiliates, three local museums, other external partners such as the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association, and more.

Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW

Puerto Rico Local Section

The Puerto Rico Local Section kicked off National Chemistry Week with the largest Festival de Química ever hosted. More than 1,000 volunteers welcomed more than 1,000 kids and members of the general public. In total, 22 undergraduate student chapters, 13 high school ChemClubs, and 11 professional groups participated in the event to celebrate chemistry during the International Year of the Periodic Table. Each group worked hands-on demos related to elements on the periodic table.

Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience

Richland Local Section

Over 100 middle school students participated in the Richland Local Section’s Saturday Science during National Chemistry Week, which was co-sponsored by four organizations. The event was held at a site that was easily accessible to the large local Hispanic and Native American populations. Activities from the “Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry” kit were used, including some related to the metals theme and the periodic table of the elements.

Outstanding Ongoing CCEW Event

Virginia Local Section

The Virginia Local Section holds their annual Chemists Celebrate Earth Week event at the rotunda of the Science Museum of Virginia. Over the course of twelve years, the event has grown to hosting over 400 people with 7 activities run by over 50 volunteers. The event brings together local section members, student affiliates, community college chemistry clubs, retired ACS members, and industrial chemists from Pfizer, Waters, Afton, Westrock, and more.

Outstanding Ongoing NCW Event

Pittsburgh Local Section

For the twenty-first consecutive year, the Pittsburgh Local Section celebrated National Chemistry Week with their annual ChemFest event held at the Carnegie Science Center. Over 300 volunteers ran hands-on activities for more than 4,600 members of the public. The event is made possible every year with major stewardship and marketing efforts. In 2019, Pittsburgh raised over $17,000 to supply materials and promotional merchandise to attendees of the event.

Outstanding Public Outreach Event Organized by a Student Group

Detroit Local Section

To celebrate Mole Day during the International Year of the Periodic Table, the Detroit Local Section assembled the largest periodic table in the world. The Local Section partnered with five undergraduate student chapters from Wayne State University, Lawrence Technological University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and University of Michigan-Flint to pull off the recording setting event. Their periodic table was featured by CBS Sunday Morning on social media.


Joint CCA, LSAC & SOCED Award

ChemAttitudes Partnership Award 

Kentucky Lake Local Section

The winner of the 2019 ChemAttitudes Partnership ChemLuminary Award collaborated with an outstanding student chapter and local science center to facilitate 10 hands-on chemistry activities from Let’s Do Chemistry.  Events included a Chemistry Merit Badge Clinic, Saturday Morning Science, and a kids program during Section meetings.


Committee on Local Section Activities

Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement

East Central Illinois Local Section

The East Central Illinois ACS Undergraduate Research Conference is annual event held in the Fall that provides undergraduates involved in research in the chemical sciences an opportunity to present their research through oral and poster presentations.  Students from fifteen institutions presented a total of 70 posters and 8 oral presentations during the 2019 Research Conference.

Local Section Partnership Award/Marinda Li Wu Award

Midland Local Section

The Midland local section hosted museum exhibit at the Midland Center for the Arts entitled “Science Paints Our World: Chemistry and Art.”  The exhibited engaged the audience in learning the history, science and application of paints.  The exhibit included a lecture and over 30 pieces of art. Works were selected to highlight material & aesthetic properties of different paint chemistry.

Most Innovative New Activity or Program

Midland Local Section

Launched for the 2019 ACS Central Regional Meeting, the Midland Local Section conducted a Citizen Science Water Quality Experiment.  H2O Q water chemistry kits and educational materials were distributed to schools, non-profits, university groups, and ACS groups.  In its inaugural year, over 200 volunteers and 3500 kids conducted tests to measure six different water quality parameters.

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Small Size Category Award

Southwest Georgia Local Section

In 2019, the Southwest Georgia Section significantly increased the frequency of its regular meetings and focused on diversifying meeting content and activities.  The section sponsored public outreach events, supported student member programs and engaged with local industry.  Most notably, the section applied Innovative Grant funding to broaden our interaction with local community at large and supporting diversity in science and beyond.

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

Dayton Local Section

In an effort to get more members involved, the Dayton section increased the number of social events and collaborated with the Midwest Chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering to organize a poster session and host an industry collaboration event.  Outings to see a Dayton Dragons baseball game and a picnic at a local dairy farm were among the section’s highlights in 2019.

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Medium Size Category Award

Midland Local Section

After years of planning, the Midland Local Section saw the culmination of three important programs: the celebration of the section’s 100th anniversary, the launch of the Citizen Science Experiment and the successful execution of the 50th Central Regional Meeting.  The section’s members and volunteers set the stage for the next 100 years by partnering with the community by providing unique and multi-faceted community outreach activities, encouraging public participation in learning, celebrating chemistry in everyday life, and nurturing the interest & promotion of the value of science.

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

Portland Local Section

The Portland local section hosted Northwest Regional Meeting in June of 2019.  The regional meeting boasted the largest number of participants for a Northwest Regional Meeting during the last 20 years.  Nearly 650 participants had the opportunity to attend 300 oral and poster presentations including many in nontraditional topical symposia.

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Large Size Category Award

Greater Houston Local Section

2019 was a monumental year for the Greater Houston Local Section. The section kicked of the year with a transition & strategic planning session, where they set committee assignments & goals for 2019.   The section then went on to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table, held seminars, conducted YCC and WCC networking events, organized a career fair, and engaged students in various programs.

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

New York Local Section

In 2019, the section offered a wide variety of opportunities for members to participate in technical and social activities.  Some of these activities included Project SEED, CCEW, Chemistry Olympiad, Chemagination, research poster sessions and awards dinners for the high school and college students. In 2019, the section also unveiled a giant 3D Periodic Table at New York Hall of Science, as its members commemorated the 150th Birthday of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table and the International Year of the Periodic Table.