NEW ORLEANS, April 7, 2013 — A project that has invested almost $15 million in the scientific careers of hundreds of underrepresented minority students will step into the limelight today with a celebration of the success of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholars program.
The reception, which also will honor donors to the program, will be held here at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the ACS, the world’s largest scientific society. It will take place today at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, from 4:40 to 6:30 p.m. in the Port/Starboard Room.
It will include special recognition of BASF, The Chemical Company, which has become the 15th National Partner in the ACS Scholars Program. Donors are named National Partners when they have given or pledged at least $100,000 in scholarships.
“The American Chemical Society is fortunate to have programs supported by individual and corporate philanthropy that directly benefit outstanding high school and college students and their dedicated teachers,” said Madeleine Jacobs, ACS executive director and chief executive officer. “These programs, which include Project SEED for high school students, the ACS Scholars Program for undergraduates, and Advancing Chemistry Teaching programs for teachers, are nothing less than life-changing. But today, this ‘Celebration of Success’ is highlighting the ACS Scholars Program.”
Evidence of the success of the ACS Scholars program lies in the number of Scholars who have graduated from college, Jacobs noted. About 95 percent of the students who are accepted as ACS Scholars earn their undergraduate degrees, and more than 80 percent graduate with degrees in the chemical sciences. Jacobs noted that those numbers are especially striking compared to the fact that among all students in the U.S., fewer than 60 percent graduate within six years. Many ACS Scholars who graduate are hired by America’s finest companies, while others go on to graduate school. To date, 147 former Scholars have earned Ph.D.s.
The ACS Scholars Program was established in 1994 to attract African American, Hispanic and American Indian students considered underrepresented in the chemical sciences by the National Science Foundation to pursue careers in the field. The ACS Scholars Program awards renewable scholarships of up to $5,000 to underrepresented minority students with financial need who want to enter the fields of chemistry or chemistry-related fields, such as environmental science, toxicology and chemical technology. High school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores or juniors are eligible to apply.
ACS also recognizes the donors to the ACS Scholars program, including new sponsor BASF. Nearly half of the support for the ACS Scholars program comes from individual, corporate, and foundation donors, while ACS supports the other half and pays all overhead and administrative expenses. BASF, The Chemical Company, is the 15th National Partner in the ACS Scholars Program. Donors are named National Partners when they have given or pledged at least $100,000 in scholarships.
Patricia Rossman, BASF’s Chief Diversity Officer, states that the company, the world’s largest chemical enterprise, sees the ACS Scholars Program as a strong fit with its commitments to science education and to helping to broaden the participation of under-represented students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.
“We are happy to partner with ACS in this important effort,” Rossman said. “Through providing scholarships, mentoring and other programs that help the students experience the application of STEM disciplines in industry, BASF helps develop the next generation of scientists who will tackle the challenges facing our customers and society.”