ACS members and sections have a long history of reaching out to engage and educate their local communities about the value of chemists and chemistry. Here, we highlight success stories showing innovative and interesting ways that ACS members have promoted chemistry in their communities.
Featured Chemistry Ambassador
Share Your Story
If you’d like to share your outreach, contact us at one of the methods listed at the bottom of the page. We always enjoy hearing from Chemistry Ambassadors like you!
Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach
ACS members who have improved the public recognition and appreciation for the contributions of chemistry.
Local Section Outreach Volunteers of the Year
Each ACS local section has an opportunity to recognize one individual annually for demonstrating extraordinary outreach volunteer service within the section.
Lovell E. Agwaramgbo
New Orleans, Louisiana
“The excitement on the faces of the students when the conductivity bulb lights up, or the disgust they express when they see the amount of sugar they consume each time they drink a can of soda—it’s the students’ reactions that motivate me...”
"Our community needed a program like this. Jobs were going away. So I decided to just go ahead and build that program here in Elkhart. And that's what we’ve done."
"A lot of kids get one of their first experiences with science at these events. I realize this is not going to be their last, but I do think it’s important that we give kids the opportunity to have that experience."
“Fourth grade is the perfect age. They’re deciding what options are available to them. It just feels like we’re making an impact at an age where they’re most open to it.”
E. Robert Fanick
San Antonio, Texas
“I get the satisfaction of encouraging someone else to...hopefully become a colleague... The students that we’re bringing up now are going to take over. I want to have someone stand on my shoulders and achieve things that I never thought about.”
"Catching students early on and letting them know the complicated aspects of science are really a fun challenge makes them more willing to confront those challenges in the future."
Marcia L. Gillette
"I realize that in my own life, teachers impacted me as role models. I strongly believe that the best way for me to say ‘thank you’ to them is to pay it forward, and try to do for young people now what they did for me so many years ago."
“I had a lot of fun. Anytime someone comes up to you with an opportunity to help kids, don’t be afraid to get a little crazy and try something you haven’t done before.”
"Most librarians are not experts in science and math. And here we’re expecting them to lead this science programming. I decided that this is a good opportunity to bring something better to the library world..."
Newark, New Jersey
“These kids are every bit as enthusiastic as any other kid. They just don’t have that exposure at home. So if we want to get them involved in science, we have to show them what’s possible.”
West Orange, New Jersey
“This is the first job I've ever had that really deals with the general public, and we get all types of folks coming into the park. It’s interesting to talk to people who are not scientists. I’ve found it remarkably rewarding.”
“Most of the time we get children accompanied by their parents or grandparents... And sometimes there are teachers that come. I love that, because then I can tell them about ACS’s fantastic array of education materials.”
“Identify what girls are interested in, and attract them to STEM... We have the programs that will build a pipeline of Tennessee girls, which will keep them on track to a STEM degree and satisfying STEM career.”
“Don’t be afraid to choose a topic or a project that is advanced—bring the chemistry to the students and make it accessible to them, and they will benefit!”
Port Charlotte, Florida
"My objective was to help the chemistry teacher go home earlier. So I basically helped her with the laboratory, preparing the agents, and even washing glassware. Anything that I could do to help..."
Key Largo, Florida
"You are a role model... As ones who have had interesting, productive lives, we must share our experience and passion for science to our youngest generation.”
"the reactions we were getting from some of these [undergraduates] were the same as we’d been getting from the 6-year-olds. It was amazing to see that these were people who were our age or older, who are now thinking about chemistry in a different way..."
"Your time and efforts will be rewarded. You and the students will learn. What’s better, as professionals, we can help to inspire science and chemistry. There is no better feeling.”
“I believe students really learn science by doing research. You can’t truly learn science without doing research, without doing your own experiments. So I’m glad for this opportunity.”
“Ultimately we have these big questions of the day that depend on science. They are scientific questions that become policy questions. If policy is being set, we’ve got to participate.”
“If we positively affect one kid, and that kid goes on to become a great science fiction writer, or a great scientist, engineer, patent attorney, or medical doctor...that’s what you want.”
"When you’re in grad school, it’s very common to feel tunnel vision... outreach events provide a break from that. The grad students get to re-experience the fun of doing science. It recharges their sense of wonder, excitement, and fun.”
Ann Arbor, Michigan
“I believe that it is important for chemists and scientists to interact with the community so that the public sees science in a more positive light.”
"The best thing is to have the kids meet those in the local industry who have an ongoing program in research and development. The kids will surprise you with questions and interest."
"Students would stay behind after the class because they wanted to talk further about some of the things we did. And then they wanted to come back after school and talk some more."
“There is a benefit to getting kids turned on to learning science by doing flashy demos, but anything you can do to help a teacher with the existing curriculum is like money in the bank. It will pay dividends for a long, long time.”
“This is such a great facility. Every time I walk in the lab I'm just stunned, and I thought a lot of people would feel this same way if they knew about it.”
"We felt it was giving the students an interest in science. At the beginning of each session we’d ask them, ‘What do you want to be?’ and a lot of them would answer, 'fireman, policeman,' and such. But by the time we were finished, you got the feeling they might say ‘scientist.’”
“I am very passionate about this idea of educating scientists in how to talk about their work. It's really all of our jobs to say, ‘What we do is important,’ and to be able to explain why in a way that other people can appreciate.”
“There’s that sense of wonder, that sense of awe, that comes from doing hands-on science. And I very much consider myself to this day to be a hands-on scientist. There’s something fundamentally cool about it, and this is a chance to share that.”
ACS Puget Sound Local Section
"The value of a scientifically literate public cannot be overstated... we need a public that understands science and the scientific process."
Statewide Illinois Local Sections
"...we embrace and share the opportunity of interacting with the public to improve its perception of chemistry and chemists by communicating the value and fun of chemistry with our various tent activities."