American Chemical Society announces winner of the Chemistry Champions competition

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 23, 2016 — On Aug. 22, in an effort to find and train promising science communicators, the American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted the finals for the Chemistry Champions competition at its national meeting in Philadelphia. Mallory Hinks, a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, was voted the winning 2016 Chemistry Champion after a multi-round public competition. She spoke about how the color of aerosols in the atmosphere can affect climate.

Hinks will receive a paid trip to Washington, DC, to tour the ACS headquarters and will be filmed as a host for an upcoming ACS Reactions video. Additionally, Hinks will be featured at an upcoming event organized by the National Academy of Sciences’ The Science and Entertainment Exchange to share chemistry insights with members of the entertainment industry.

The runner-up Chemistry Champion was Olga Zamudio, a professional chemist based in Vancouver, Canada, who spoke about using fluorescent dyes to study biological processes and how cancer develops, will host a future ACS Webinar.

The other finalists were

  • John Gleeson, graduate student at University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Nathan Turner, undergraduate student at Louisiana Tech University, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The four semifinalists, who received science communications training in June 2016 along with the finalists, were

  • Robin DeClercq, undergraduate student at Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Amanda Pluntze, chemistry professional from Bend, Oregon
  • Melanie Swannell, undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Wilson “Will” Shafer, Ph.D., researcher at the Center for Applied Energy Research in Lexington, Kentucky

Chemistry Champions started in 2014. Previous winners are Jennifer Novotney, Ph.D., and Hadi Fares. At the time of her win, Novotney was a graduate student at Cornell University. She is now the public programs coordinator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum in Cambridge, MA. Fares is a graduate student at Florida State University. Information about the contest is available at Videos from the contestants, as well as the Aug. 22 finals broadcast, are available via The Chemistry Champions contest tweets under @AmerChemSociety #chemchamps.   

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly157,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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