Congratulations to the 2017 awardees!

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Read awardees' individual profiles below, alphabetized by local section.


Binghamton Section

Stephen Ambrozik

Mr. Stephen Ambrozik is an outstanding young scholar and engaged scientist for our community at the local, regional, and national levels. Steve has served as the event coordinator for the Binghamton University Chemistry Department's outreach visits to local schools, malls, and museums. He brought a professional career pathways development workshop to campus in June of 2015. He was also actively involved in organizing and hosting the NERM 2016 which was hosted in Binghamton in October of 2016. He is the epitome of a graduate student ambassador sharing his passion for Chemistry with the campus and the community.

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Central North Carolina

Cynthia Williard

Cynthia Williard is very active in serving the Central North Carolina Local Section. She has volunteered in the science coach program and hospitalities for the local section meeting. Cynthia has been in charge of the National Chemistry Week celebration activities for more than five years and has dedicated a lot of time to help and educate young students and the general pubic through these valuable activities. Without efforts and contributions from volunteers like Cynthia, CNC-ACS would not be able to host so many different activities.

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Colorado Section

Margaret Rakowsky

Margaret Rakowsky, current Secretary of the Colorado Local Section, has served section members since 1998. In addition, she also serves as membership chair, champions the section's senior program, and acts as historian for the section. She has been a pillar of support for section chairs for decades. Dr. Rakowsky taught at the United States Airforce Academy from 1997 to 2016 in the General Chemistry Courses, Advanced Lab Techniques, and Advanced Inorganic Chemistry. She served on the organizing committee for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp and continued to annually represent ACS at middle school fairs for thousands of Colorado students..

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Connecticut Valley Section

Edward C. Fitzgerald

Edward Fitzgerald organizes the Chemistry Olympiad for the Connecticut Valley Local Section. He has been in charge of this event for the last 25 years. He deserves recognition for this level of service.

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Detroit Section

Hulya Ahmed

Hulya Ahmed has done a lot over the years organizing programs for the women's chemistry group. She has been involved in a safety program that is geared toward teachers and she volunteers for Kids & Chemistry events.

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Erie Section

Jason A. Bennett

Jason Bennett has served the Erie Local Section as Treasurer for more than five years, a role in which he has contributed much more than skillfully managing the section's funds. Jason also helps out at the summer networking picnic and makes arrangements for the annual holiday party. For three years, he has served as co-coordinator for Erie’s National Chemistry Week mall demonstration shows, recruiting numerous volunteers to highlight the science of candy, color, and forensics. Through his volunteer efforts with ACS, Jason brings together not only members of the local section, but also our friends, families, and community members.

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Georgia Section

C. David Sherrill

Dr. C. David Sherrill has been an outstanding outreach volunteer for the Georgia Local Section through coordination and implementation of NCW activities. He has been involved with NCW activities for more than eight years, serving as chair of the section’s NCW committee for more than five years. In 2016, he sent chemistry-related care packages to 23 local schools benefitting 4,700 K-12 students. The care, time and dedication Dr. Sherrill volunteers to the section and community is commendable and reflects his deep commitment to outreach and chemistry.

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Greater Houston Section

Bernard Montgomery "Monte" Pettitt

Professor Pettitt did an outstanding job organizing the Southwest Regional Meeting at the Galveston Convention Center last November. His dedication to the Greater Houston Local Section, together with his leadership and organizational skills, led to a successful event. The local section wants to thank Professor Pettitt for his commitment. He is, and will continue to be, a great inspiration to the younger members.

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Green Mountain Section

Alayne Schroll

Alayne Schroll serves as the Chemistry Olympiad Chair for the Green Mountain ACS Section. As chair, Alayne has volunteered many hours working on all aspects of the local section’s activities. She has been instrumental in organizing volunteers to help with the preparation and administration of the laboratory portion of the exam. In 2017, she will continue in this role and work to increase participation throughout Vermont.

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Illinois Heartland Section

Hind Abi-Akar

Dr. Hind Abi-Akar has been instrumental to the success of the Illinois Heartland Local Section. Dr. Abi-Akar created numerous public science demonstrations based upon safe and economical chemistry that provide hands-on experiences. For decades, these demos have been a core feature of outreach programs that serve K-12 school science events, NCW/Earth Day celebrations, joint events with other professional societies, local park district events and the Heart of Illinois Fair. Dr. Abi-Akar has volunteered in the local section in many roles, including outreach coordinator, newsletter editor, secretary, and 2017 chair-elect.


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Indiana Section

Brian Mathes

For 15 years, Brian has contributed to the Indiana Local Section. Now as a new councilor, he is getting involved at the national level. From section councilor to chair, he has consistently been involved in many of the local section’s activities. Kids and Chemistry, biomedical symposium featuring six local talents and their research, and Chemistry of Beer, are just a few of the activities that he has spearheaded. His persistent efforts to make a difference, his creativity and leadership, his passion for outreach and scientific education, make him highly deserving of this award.

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Indiana-Kentucky Border Section

Jeffery Seyler

Dr. Jeffery Seyler is the Chair of the Chemistry Department at the University of Southern Indiana, and councilor for the Indiana-Kentucky Border Local Section. Dr. Seyler participates in nearly every outreach event sponsored by the local section. Some of the highlights include demo shows for the area elementary schools, events that help the Boy and Girl Scouts earn science badges and the annual Chemistry Day at the Evansville Museum during NCW. Dr. Seyler is a true asset to our local section and is definitely dedicated to outreach for the organization.

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Kalamazoo Section

Doug Williams

In addition to his consistent support and positive contributions to the Local Section Executive Committee deliberations, Doug spearheaded a new forensics activity for the 30th Annual Chemistry Day at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. The event attracted 500 attendees and kept them all entertained and thinking. It was noted that children and adults alike worked diligently to solve the mystery that was set before them. Not a cell phone in sight!.

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Kentucky Lake Section

Phil Davis

The Kentucky Lake Local Section hosts Children Science Centers that run concurrently with the monthly local section meetings. The centers enable members with children to attend the meetings, but depend on the volunteer efforts of members to oversee the centers. Since the center’s inception in November 2014, Dr. Phil Davis has been the primary volunteer. His excitement for chemistry is contagious and caused him to create themes and activities for the children on numerous occasions. Every month the children anticipate seeing Dr. Davis and conducting science activities. Hosting the centers has directly resulted in an increase in member and student member attendance, and instilled a passion for science in the children.

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LaCrosse-Winona Section

Sandy Koster

Dr. Koster works with UW-L Continuing Education and Mississippi Valley Gifted and Talented Network to run Kid's College. Dr. Koster conducts 1.5 hour workshops for three different groups of students. She also organizes the chemistry magic shows, which is coordinated with the physics department. Last year, the chemistry magic and physics laser shows were viewed by more than 800 elementary and middle school students.

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Mid-Hudson Section

Jocelyn Nadeau

Dr. Jocelyn Nadeau teaches organic chemistry at Marist College. She has been involved in the local section for 10 years, starting as a member-at-large and continuing as secretary since 2011. She has coordinated NCW events at Marist since 2007 in her capacity as adviser to the student ACS Club. Most notably, she co-organizes an annual Chemistry Family Night, a popular event at which local children take part in chemistry-related activities with undergraduates in the laboratory. In 2016, (and continuing in 2017) Jocelyn played a key role in organizing the Undergraduate Research Symposium, the section's signature annual event..

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Midland Section

Diana Deese

Diana Deese is the chair of the Midland Local Section awards committee. She devotes tremendous effort to ensure that the accomplishments of the local professionals, students, and volunteers are recognized at the annual award banquet. She goes above and beyond to coordinate an event that demonstrates the appreciation of the member and builds excitement in the local section. In this role, Diana impacts all local committees and initiatives. This event has been a huge success for the local section – promoting excitement for chemistry and raising member engagement. We are grateful for the time, effort, and talent she devotes to the program.

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Milwaukee Section

Irma Quezada

Irma took the initiative to organize an outreach activity, "Solving Crimes with Paper Chromatography," for NCW at the Milwaukee Discovery World Museum for its Halloween night. More than 300 kids were involved. In addition, she created "Chemistry of Beauty and Smell" activity for the Girls and STEM event where more than 350 girls were able to make a lotion and learn about chemistry of smells. She communicated with other ACS volunteers, bought all supplies and contacted Discovery World Museum.

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Minnesota Section

Becky Guza

Becky Guza has been a key volunteer in the local section. She began as the Minnesota Chemist editor and transitioned the newsletter to an electronic edition. This move saved more than $10,000 annually, while increasing the publication to bi-monthly from a quarterly basis. In addition to editorial responsibilities, she became the communications chair in 2013 and oversaw the conversion to a new section website in 2015. In addition, she served as local section chair in 2014, helped plan the inaugural Mommy Chemist event, revived the section’s ACS Leadership Seminars, and has been a key partner in the annual career fair.

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Nashville Section

Daniel Swartling

Dr. Daniel Swartling of Tennessee Technological University serves as the section’s secretary and the student chapter adviser. He recently published a book chapter to help guide other student chapters. Dr. Swartling loves to experiment, and is known for his liquid nitrogen ice cream demonstrations, tie-dying adventures, and glass working. He also happens to be Santa Claus on occasion. Adored by his students and much appreciated by his section, Dr. Swartling is the 2016 Nashville Section Outreach Volunteer of the Year.

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Nebraska Section

Rebecca Lai

Professor Rebecca Lai presents wonderful outreach activities related to the Harry Potter series. Her presentations are included in the University of Nebraska - Lincoln SciPop series, which promotes science in fictional literature. Rebecca's innovative outreach allows students hands-on activities exposing the general public to electrochemical cells, pH changes to hide written codes and the use of common foods to do chemistry.

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North Carolina Section

Jim Martin

Dr. Martin offers two professional development workshops for North Carolina high school teachers that use a design-thinking approach to teach chemistry. ChemPD-1: Building Foundations, Teaching/Learning through Discovery brings standard curricula to life, while teaching strategies for critical thinking, scaffolded learning and effective assessment. In three years, 81 teachers from more than 50 high schools have participated. A second workshop, ChemPD-II: From Concepts and Content to Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, involves collaboration to develop projects that extend student capacity to apply and integrate learned content to real-world problems. In two years, 24 teachers participated in this workshop.

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Northeastern Ohio Section

Richard West

Dr. West is an assistant professor of chemistry at Lake Erie College and has served as secretary for Northeastern Ohio Local Section. Dr. West has coordinated guest speakers for the local section functions that included the Young Scientist Awards Banquet, Agricultural Winery Forum and NCW events. He has also provided technical reviews of event summaries to be highlighted in the annual report via FORMS. Dr. West is a true leader and well-deserving of recognition for volunteer of the year.

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Northern New York Section

Dana Barry

Dr. Dana Barry has served as an officer for the Northern New York Local Section for more than two decades. For the past 12 years, she has been the section’s coordinator for NCW and Earth Day. She is a tireless advocate for the value of chemistry in our every day's life and its impact on the environment. She has been a strong voice for the local section through her numerous presentations and workshops to elementary and high schools, colleges, and elder hostel groups.

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Northern Oklahoma Section

Kay Bjornen

Dr. Kay Bjornen worked for ConocoPhillips Co. and taught high school chemistry and AP chemistry. She played a critical role as the Chair of the Pentasectional Regional Meeting 2016 for the Northern Oklahoma Local Section. She serves on the board of the Bartlesville Public School Foundation and has been an active member of the local section through the NCW, Bartlesville District Science Fair and Energy Days for more than 10 years. Dr. Bjornen should be recognized for her continued dedication and ability to inspire the students in the community.

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Philadelphia Section

Lori Spangler

Lori Spangler, an ACS Career Consultant, has been involved with the Philadelphia Local Section’s Career Services Committee for the past three years. She selflessly gives her time to assist section members with their career concerns through the formation of a local career club. Lori also established a strong working relationship between the Philadelphia Local Section and Temple University through Temple’s College of Science and Technology’s Career Services Department by supporting its career fair programming. She also coordinated the presentation of the ACS Preparing for Life After Graduate School (PfLAGS) workshop at Temple, which was well received.

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Portland Section

Warren Ford

Several years ago Warren dreamed up the idea of reaching out to a population that we had been unable to reach – senior citizens who would not come to our monthly dinner meeting because they do not go out at night. He began scheduling meetings in the middle of the day that would be attractive to older chemists. Since then he has built up a mailing list of more than 40 people. Warren has single-handedly doubled the population we serve.

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Princeton Section

Christin B. Monroe

Christin Monroe, a PhD candidate in chemistry at Princeton University, designed, implemented and administered a unique month-long STEM outreach program for local high school students with a cumulative investment in-excess-of 200 hours. Christin raised $5,750 from ACS and local organizations that was used to fund four field trips, eight career seminars, and five professional development workshops, run by ACS career consultants. The 11 students were also paired with graduate student mentors to perform primary literature research on topics of interest to them. This unique program featured Bassam Shakhashiri, Donna Nelson and President Emerita of Princeton University, Dr. Shirley Tilghman.

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Puerto Rico Section

Stephanie Chaparro-Ruiz

Stephanie Chaparro Ruiz has been a member since 2010. She has made outstanding contributions as Secretary (2016). Stephanie has served as organizer of several Science Cafés, a volunteer in diverse scientific meetings as Senior Technical Meeting and IUPAC World Chemistry Congress. Her motivation has been invaluable to develop community-based activities that enrich the lives of those around her, and diverse outreach activities including hand-on chem-demos. Stephanie is an extraordinary strong young woman with exceptional integrity, reliability, and high commitment. She is authentically, diligence, bright, energetic professional, and her ability to work collaboratively made working with her an outstanding experience.

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Sacramento Section

Makoto Masuno

In the Sacramento Local Section, Mako has been the person responsible for running all aspects of the local and national U.S. Chemistry Olympiad for the last six years. Under his guidance, participation has grown each year due to the relationships he has built with the students and high school teachers and the very tasty liquid nitrogen ice cream he makes after the exams!

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San Diego Section

Rebecca Bowers-Gentry

Rebecca Bowers-Gentry deserves recognition for the last couple of years with the organization, planning and success of our annual ChemExpo event at Miramar College, San Diego. ChemExpo is our section’s celebration of NCW. Through booths and stage shows, area high school students, Boys and Girls Scouts, and the general public are shown how chemistry is applied in everyday life. It is our volunteers that make the ChemExpo a successful event. Especially important is the strong participation from the student and faculty volunteers from local Miramar and MiraCosta Colleges.

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Santa Clara Valley Section

Abby Kennedy

Despite efforts to lighten her ACS duties in 2016, acknowledging the strain of juggling a job, family and extracurricular activities, Abby Kennedy persisted in her role as the local section’s lead of NCW. She staged the section’s primary NCW public outreach event in our main San Jose public library, gathering volunteers from colleges, acquiring materials for hands-on demos for hundreds of youngsters, and describing the event in the newsletter. Additionally, she responded to requests for chemistry demos by organizing outreach volunteers and materials for high schools. Indeed, despite efforts to resist, Abby Kennedy persists in NCW outreach par excellence!

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Savannah River Section

Linda Youmans

Ms. Linda Youmans is a long-time ACS member who currently serves as the projects coordinator for the Savannah River Local Section. She is a highly active volunteer in the Hispanic and other minority communities within the local section, for which she has earned Innovative Projects Grants in past years. In 2016, Ms. Youmans was instrumental in organizing several NWC events, including hands-on demonstrations at the Aiken and Augusta state fairs, various NCW activities at La Casa De Esperanza, and Chemistry for Kids at the Islamic Society of Augusta.

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South Carolina Section

Pamela Riggs-Gelasco

Dr. Pamela Riggs-Gelasco, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry of the College of Charleston, through her Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant, has provided outreach opportunities to local pre-college students. Each year hundreds of students from Title I schools such as Burke High School and Mitchell Elementary come to campus for hands-on experiences. Participation in the annual STEM Education Day also brings more than 1,500 students to campus from area elementary and middle schools. Although relying on the help of many faculty members to accomplish these activities, it is her grantsmanship and leadership that makes this possible.

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Southern Arizona Section

Grazyna Zreda

Grazyna Zreda has served as the Southern Arizona Local Section Community Outreach Coordinator for 3 years. She has done a remarkable job promoting events around Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and National Chemistry Week. Each year through her efforts the number of entries to the illustrated poem contests has doubled. She single handedly distributes information to local teachers, organizes a judging committee, creates participant certificates, and submits to ACS. This year the section received around 180 posters. Additionally, she organized hands on activities for the public during the annual Earth Day Festival.

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Toledo Section

Ken Meinecke

Ken Meinecke, a retired chemistry/physical sciences teacher from Maumee Valley Country Day School, is an invaluable volunteer to the local section’s community outreach efforts. His enthusiasm and passion are contagious! A true chemistry ambassador, Ken is an instrumental partner (planning activities and volunteering at multiple locations) with the NCW at the Libraries, NCW at Imagination Station, and summer library outreach programs since 2014. In 2015, he co-organized the first table at STEM-in-the-PARK. His dedication will continue to enhance the Chem-tennial Events in the futrue!

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Virginia Section

Stephanie Mabry

The Virginia Local Section recognizes Dr. Stephanie Mabry, Trustee and Women’s Chemist Committee (WCC) Chair, for her outstanding and incredibly selfless leadership. Stephanie conducted several WCC networking/planning meetings and hosted a networking/glassblowing demonstration. For the eighth year in a row, she organized an impactful career panel event at the University of Richmond. The 2016 event was attended by approximately 65 predominately minority female students who were counseled by a panel of four female professionals from underrepresented groups. Stephanie also co-planned a weekend retreat for 14 section members, creating a Virginia strategy aligned with the national ACS strategy.

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Wisconsin Section

Tracy Drier

Mr. Drier is a well-established scientific master glassblower in the chemistry department. Throughout his career Tracy has been a dedicated teacher and demonstrator of glassblowing skills. He designed a transportable, self-contained glassblowing station for the purpose of educational outreach. This Firewagon has since been used in area classrooms and other public venues to demonstrate the properties of glass. In 2016, Tracy has participated in 10 outreach events in Madison and Cambridge, Wisconsin. These include the Wisconsin Science Festival and UW Science Expedition, where he did demonstrations for hundreds of students, their parents, and the general public.

Image of Tracy Drier