Local Section and Division Public Relations “Sparkle” Workshop

This hands-on workshop provides training to ACS member-volunteers on how to successfully publicize a Local Section’s or Division’s awards, events, and community outreach activities and help generate public awareness of the significance and benefits of chemistry and the contributions of the Section or Division and its members.

Attendees learn how to:

  • Successfully publicize and promote Section and Division awards, events, and community outreach activities
  • Build a customized public relations plan for their Section or Division
  • Interest reporters and the public in Section/Division activities
  • Write press releases and develop talking points
  • Prepare for media interviews

Reporters, editors, and broadcasters from around the country, along with ACS public relations professionals, provide tips and guidance on how to successfully work with the media.

Workshop Costs, Application Guidelines, Expectations

All costs related to travel, lodging, and training for the workshop are provided free to selected applicants. There is no cost to Local Sections, Divisions, or attendees. Upon successful completion of training, each attendee will be designated the Public Relations Chair for their Local Section or Division, subject to approval of the Local Section/Division Chair and Executive Committee.

Applications for the workshop must be approved and submitted by the Local Section or Division Chair and include a written endorsement by the applicant’s Chair. The endorsement must include a statement from the Section/Division Chair regarding expectations for the PR Chair to undertake and accomplish during the PR Chair’s first 12 months in the position.

Eligibility Guidelines for Applicants

  • Nominees must be active members of an ACS Local Section or Division and be willing to serve as the PR Chair for a term of three years.*
  • No previous public relations experience is required, although applicants must have an interest in communicating the importance and benefits of chemistry to lay audiences.
  • Good writing and verbal communication skills and good organization and people skills are essential.
  • Nominees must be willing to contact reporters in their local areas and tell them about activities of their Section or Division.
  • Members of a Section’s or Division’s Executive Committee, including the Section/Division Chair, are eligible to be nominated to attend the workshop; however Sections and Divisions are encouraged to look beyond the Executive Committee to their general membership for potential nominees.
  • Volunteers who have previously attended an ACS PR Workshop (Sparkle) are not eligible to apply.

* Local Section PR Chairs typically devote approximately four hours per month to handling public relations for their Sections, according to a survey of LSPR Chairs. However, this is only an average and will vary greatly depending on the Section’s/Divisions initiatives.


The annual PR Workshop is conducted by the ACS Office of Public Affairs. For questions about Sparkle Workshops, including future workshop availability, contact Nancy McCormick-Pickett (202-872-4381 or 800-227-5558, ext. 4381) (n_mccormick-pickett@acs.org) for more information.

"Sparkle was phenomenal!"
—Lisa Aguirre, 2010 participant