2014 ChemLuminary Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2014 ChemLuminary award winners! Thanks to their exceptional volunteer efforts, these Local Sections, Divisions, Regional Meetings and Committees are being recognized for their work promoting chemistry and the chemical sciences.

American Chemical Society

Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society

Robert A. Pribush

Dr. Pribush is recognized for his exemplary volunteer efforts in the Indiana Local Section, with ACS Governance, with the ACS Exams Institute, and with Regional Meetings.

Committee on Public Relations and Communications

2014 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach

Susan V. Olesik

The 2014 Helen M. Free Award is presented to Susan Olesik, an award winning research scientist and a role model in public outreach. She is the Dow Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Ohio State University and over the last 15 years, Dr. Olesik has been actively involved in public outreach by enhancing the understanding and appreciation for science and chemistry.

Working in some of the most distressed urban and rural schools within the state of Ohio, Dr. Olesik expanded opportunities for young people to have positive and exciting experiences with science. She proactively addressed barriers of distance by employing video conferencing technology to connect rural high school students struggling in science to university student tutors.

Her combination of partnering scientists, teachers and school aged children transformed science content to exciting experiments of inquiry and wonder.

Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section

Nashville Local Section

The Nashville Local Section is recognized for holding a week-long celebration of National Chemistry Week that generated more than100 media hits. From demonstrations and activities at a seniors’ center in Madison, TN to energy lesson for kids at City Road Methodist Church, chemistry was everywhere.

Best New Public Relations Program of a Local Section

Kalamazoo Local Section

The section spearheaded a ballroom dance event for the public with the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The mayor of Kalamazoo served as the Master of Ceremonies and a total of 217 people participated, including 70 students.

Women Chemists Committee

Outstanding Program Aimed at Retaining Women in the Chemical Enterprise

Puget Sound Local Section

Graduate students and post-doctoral scientists attended an overnight retreat aiming to equip attendees with professional negotiation and communication skills, and to broaden attendees' networks. Sessions included a negotiations workshop, an academic poster session, two career panels, and a keynote speaker. Thirty-five people attended the retreat.

Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs

Outstanding Local Section Career Program Award

Small to Medium Large Size Category

Louisiana Local Section

A series of programs were offered to help the Section's members and students in job search and career-development. The activities included jobs and career seminars, a resume writing webinar, monthly talks on different careers, networking, and the compilation of local chemical employers and their contact information.

Large to Very Large Size Category

Chemical Society of Washington Local Section

The Chemical Society of Washington and the Younger Chemists Committee organized 9 career events that included four career management workshops, four thematic networking and trivia happy hours, and a webinar event on resume preparation. These events attracted approximately 320 chemists at all stages of their careers.

Younger Chemists Committee

Outstanding Local Section Younger Chemists Committee

Savannah River Local Section

The Savannah River YCC was able to increase membership by nearly 25% mainly as a result of increased visibility among college students and the creation of a strong partnership with the Salvation Army of North Augusta.

Outstanding or Creative Local Section Younger Chemists Committee Event

Puerto Rico Local Section

The Puerto Rico YCC organized their third Green Fashion Show, with a Christmas twist.  Three winners were chosen in both the Chem Club and Student Chapter categories for their costumes made of recycled material.  The activity ended with a karaoke party for the volunteers.

Outstanding New Local Section Younger Chemists Committee

Louisiana Local Section

The Louisiana Section YCC held two successful recruiting events and organized a symposium at the National ACS meeting in New Orleans. They helped start a database of local employers and, due to their efforts, the number of student members in the Section has noticeably increased.

Committee on Divisional Activities

Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division

Rubber Division (RUBB)

The Rubber Division developed the Corporate Membership Program initiative with the goal to increase involvement of corporate level senior managers by providing greater opportunities and resources for their employees. The program includes benefits based on corporate size and needs, and has been a huge success in gaining senior level commitment along with new Division membership.

Division of Organic Chemistry (ORGN)

The Division of Organic Chemistry is recognized for their 2013 symposium that was held at the University of Delaware, where 49 graduate students were selected from 43 institutions to present their research to peers and professional participants from academia and industry. The networking among the students was the greatest single benefit of this program.

Society Committee on Education

Fostering Interactions Between Local Sections & Student Chapters

Detroit Local Section

Detroit’s involvement with ACS Student Chapters greatly expanded this year to include participation from groups from various Universities.  Each provided a key component to success of the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and National Chemistry Week outreach programs.

Outstanding High School Student Program Award

Nashville Local Section

The Nashville Section helped to coordinate two STEM days at a local laboratory. Hundreds of students and their teachers worked on assigned case studies with mentors, had lunch while listening to speakers talk about their careers and developed and presented their case study findings.

Outstanding Kids & Chemistry Award

Brazosport Local Section

The Brazosport Section coordinated nine Kids and Chemistry events. These included events with area Boy Scouts, museum outreach activities, a video competition and Take Your Child to Work Day at Dow Chemical. This broad variety of outreach events, complete with hands-on demonstrations, reached a very large audience of students. The organizers of the Detroit Kids & Chemistry program incorporated a “wow” component into each experiment for students, and the relevance of chemistry to everyday living is always stressed.  Kids & Chemistry volunteers range from retirees to student members,  because making new volunteers feel welcome is an important part of the program.

Committee on Local Section Activities &
Committee on Divisional Activities

Outstanding Collaboration Between A Division and Local Section

Northeastern Local Section & Division of Environmental Chemistry

To celebrate National Chemistry Week, the Northeastern Local Section collaborated with the Division of Environmental Chemistry, and the Cape and Islands Boy Scouts Council of America to host a science cafe for kids. Approximately 400 attendees participated in this outreach event, which featured activities related to the National Chemistry Week energy theme and included scientific career pathway talks by local scientists.

Committee on Project SEED

Outstanding Project SEED Program Award

Chemical Society of Washington Local Section

For the first time in the program’s history the Chemistry Society of Washington supported 17 high school students, at seven institutions. Students presented their research and received recognition and awards at the Virginia Junior Academy of Science and SIEMENS competition. CSW organized an Orientation Program and Scientific Career Workshop for the students.

Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs

ACS President’s Award for Local Section Government Affairs

Chicago Local Section

A meeting with Congressman Danny Davis was held to present the congressman with key ACS positions on STEM education, research funding, and Helium legislation. The meeting also engaged the Section in the Altgeld Gardens Revitalization Project, a “Big Ideas” Program to revitalize an impoverished community on Chicago's Southside.

Committee on Environmental Improvement

Outstanding Sustainability Activities

Louisiana Local Section

The Louisiana local section featured two sustainability events. The first event involved a local company converting waste oil and grease into biofuels. The second event involved a company that converts soybean oil into a wide range of commercial products. Both events proved that sustainability is real and you can make a living doing it.

Leadership Advisory Board

Outstanding Leader Development Program Award

North Jersey Local Section

Fourteen members the North Jersey local section came together for a weekend Strategic Planning retreat facilitated by the ACS Leadership Advisory Board.   Retreat participants defined the section's mission and vision, and then went on to develop four new goals to be accomplished over the next 3 to 5 years.

Corporation Associates

Outstanding Local Section Industry Event

Kalamazoo Local Section

For the third consecutive year, the Kalamazoo local section hosted a poster session titled "Sustainable Science – Recycle a Poster" at a local brewery. There were 100 attendees from industry and academia, including graduate and undergraduate students.

Committee on Technician Affairs

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

Brazosport Local Section

The Brazosport local section held an event aimed to be a career development opportunity for chemical technicians. The event was open to all members and the community, and was an opportunity for technicians to interact with non-technical attendees as well as advanced engineers and chemists.

Committee on Minority Affairs

Best Overall Local Section Minority Affairs Committee

Orange County Local Section

The Orange County Local Section holds a yearly “National Chemistry Week Zoo”.  This year 2,500 people participated in the event with two-thirds of the participants being underrepresented minorities.  The event not only helped introduce the concept that “Science is Fun”, but also allowed families who could not afford to pay by offering free admission.

Committee on International Activities

Global Engagement Award: Local Section

Northeastern Local Section

The Section collaborated with the German Chemical Society to bring German graduate students to the Northeastern Regional Meeting. They gave oral and poster presentations, and participated in the “International Chemistry Connections” symposium. This program is an excellent example of what can be achieved by partnering with international sister societies.

Global Engagement Award:  Technical Division

Division of Agrochemicals

The Division of Agrochemicals has a long history of international cooperation, perhaps most notably last year with the Foundation for the Study of Traditional Sciences and Arts Lecture Series. These events attracted over 400 participants for a series of lectures centered on pesticide chemistry and environmental effect.

Global Engagement Award:  International Chemical Sciences Chapter

Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter

The Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter has created the premier chemistry event in the Gulf Region with the Chem-indix Conference, the 9th gathering of which occurred in 2013. The conference brings together top regional leaders in industry, academia, and government, as well as attracting key stakeholders from around the globe.

Chemists With Disabilities

Chemists with Disabilities Inclusion Award

Colorado Local Section

Professors from the Metropolitan and Illinois State University held polymer chemistry activities and a workshop which featured the Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest, the first text-to-speech enabled data collection device for the blind. Thirty eight sight-impaired students participated in this workshop.

Committee on Meetings & Expositions

Outstanding Regional Meeting

2013 Western Regional Meeting

The Santa Clara Valley and California Sections hosted the 44th Western Regional Meeting, “The Many Elements of Chemistry!” where over 700 attendees enjoyed a range of symposia including a symposium honoring former Priestley Medalist Darleane Hoffman and the 2013 Cope Scholar Sarah Reisman.  A highlight of the meeting was the Elements poster session where middle and high school students presented posters about the elements of the Periodic Table!

Committee on Community Activities

Best High School Chem Club NCW Event

Northeastern Local Section

High school students throughout the Northeastern section developed 14 activities related to the energy theme including chemistry of glow-sticks, hydrogen fuel cells, and electrolysis. The event was held at the Museum of Science for nearly 1000 attendees.

Best Student Member NCW Event

Pittsburgh Local Section

Led by student leaders from 11 Student Chapters, and five other area college/university chemistry clubs, the Pittsburgh local section’s NCW event was held at the Carnegie Science Center with a two-day event attendance of nearly 4,000.

Creative & Innovative Use of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Theme

Nashville Local Section

The Nashville section partnered with Earth Friendly exhibitors to host a free event, Earth Day at Centennial Park. More than 1000 activity guides were distributed. There were more than 8000 attendees from various states and foreign countries.

Most Creative NCW Celebration Using the Yearly Theme

Central New York Local Section

The Central New York local section’s NCW celebration featured outreach events on agricultural chemistry at a farm; a “Science Is Fun” night for young children; a Halloween themed science event at a high school; and hands-on activities at a shopping center.

Outstanding Community Involvement in Chemists Celebrate Earth Day

Puerto Rico Local Section

The Puerto Rico section celebrated CCED 2013 with its Festival de Quimica. Joined with Student Chapters and Chem Clubs, more than 200 volunteers collaborated to impact over 2,000 people with hands-on activities, lecture series, and public exhibits.

Outstanding Community Involvement in NCW

Princeton Local Section

With its most successful NCW Activities Night ever, the Princeton local section hosted over 650 attendees, including families with K-8 children, local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, and other community members from Princeton and the surrounding area.

Outstanding NCW Event for a Specific Audience

Orange County Local Section

The Orange County local section, along with 12 different area college/university groups conducted hands-on science activities at the Santa Ana zoo for more than 2300 attendees; more than 1000 of which were children.

Outstanding On-going NCW Event

Eastern New York Local Section

Beginning in 1987, the Eastern New York section celebrated NCW with a few activity tables and roughly 100 volunteers and attendees. The event has since grown, featuring 15 activity tables, over 200 volunteers, and over 600 attendees in 2013.

Committee on Local Section Activities

Best Activity or Program in a Local Section Stimulating Membership Involvement

Indiana Local Section

The national meeting leadership team of the Indiana Local Section was able to engage the members through social media and websites, while implementing an online volunteer management system. Roughly 110 ACS members and 60 non-members were involved with the planning and execution of this event.

Local Section Partnership Award

Nashville Local Section

To celebrate National Chemistry Week, the Nashville Local Section held a variety of 2013 NCW activities that included Lab Fest at Aegis, a STEM symposia, an ACS local section meeting, 8th grade class visits; and demonstrations for senior citizens. There were 230 volunteers and approximately 5300 attendees.

Most Innovative New Activity or Program

South Carolina Local Section

The South Carolina Section collaborated with several partners to offer a variety of STEM activities for over 2000 4th thru 8th grade students from area public, private, and home schools. Chemistry activities involved liquid nitrogen and chemical demonstrations, hands-on activities investigating polymers, invisible ink, molecular models, and gas laws, always keeping safety paramount.

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Small Size Category Award

Kentucky Lake Local Section

Kentucky Lake was able to use an Innovative Project Grant to take underprivileged elementary school children to a science museum for Earth Day and a minor league baseball game.

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

Brazosport Section Local Section

Brazosport conducted science demonstrations including making liquid nitrogen ice cream with mentally and physically challenged adults in a rehabilitation center.  They also sponsored a climate change video competition for middle school students where science toolkits were distributed to teachers and students.

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Medium Size Category Award

Midland Local Section

Midland demonstrated successful partnerships hosting their annual Sci-Fest that brought STEM activities to more than 5000 participants, and successfully hosted the 44th Central Regional Meeting, a Fall Scientific Meeting, and a new event, “Loco for Cocoa: The Chemistry of Chocolate”.

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

Nashville Local Section

Responding to member needs and involvement, the Nashville section sponsored an Earth Day celebration with 150 volunteers that attracted approximately 8,000 attendees.  An Innovative Project Grant sponsored speakers and recruiters for members seeking jobs with career books given as prizes.  Their Government Affairs and Women Chemists groups remain very active.

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Large Size Category Award

Indiana Local Section

Indiana hosted the 246th ACS National Meeting in addition to maintaining their normal yearly events.  At the National Meeting, they organized a successful technical program, and a community outreach event attracting 7,000 people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.   Indiana also had its first Gold Medal winner in the International Chemistry Olympiad, and the first ACS Fellow in 2013.

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

California Local Section

California organized many activities including monthly dinner meetings and lectures, outreach and education programs - particularly the successful Family Science Nights. They co-organized the 44th Western Regional Meeting, and received an ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark for the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Western Regional Research Center.  California also recognized community college chemistry teachers through its Two-Year Chemistry Teacher award.