2019 ACS-CES Award Recipients

Ms. R. Leigh Foy 

York Suburban High School 

Dr. Gregory P Foy 

Physical Sciences Department, York College of Pennsylvania

Climate Literacy Academy: Educational tools to fight for the planet

Climate change has been cited by many scientists as the biggest challenge to humankind. The goal of this initiative is to provide tools for educators and the public. Our Climate Literacy Academy currently houses three projects that we have been developing over the last decade. The first is eCLEAR, (educating toward Climate Literacy through literature Evaluation, data Analysis, and Reporting), a collection of educational tools for those interested in climate literacy. We also link to the CEI COP student ambassador program “Students on Climate Change” and York Suburban students engage through the live video conferences from each of the COP’s, asking questions of the ambassadors as well as posting questions and comments on the blog site. We also propose development of teacher workshops to increase teacher knowledge of climate science. The overarching goal of the Climate Literacy Academy is to elevate climate literacy and thus effect change.


Dr. Mark Benvenuto

University of Detroit Mercy, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Innovative approaches to educate students environmental remediation strategies

The presentation will focus on innovative strategies to educate students about environmental remediation strategies. Examples will include methods to produce long chain ligands – not polymers, but hydrocarbon-based chains – which are discrete molecules that have the ability to attach to metal ions in aqueous solutions. The production of these molecules is straightforward, and has been the focus of a joint high school – undergraduate college student project in the recent past. While it is not difficult to produce metal-ligand complexes from these ligands; the chemistry used to teach students about fundamental concepts that connect these syntheses procedures with practical problems for the cleaning of polluted water are significant in the incorporation of sustainability into the chemistry curriculum.


Dr. Sarah C. Larsen

University of Houston

Embedding Sustainable Nanotechnology into Chemistry Education and Outreach

The principles of sustainable nanotechnology have been embedded into chemistry education and outreach activities designed for students at all levels. The hands-on activities were centered around nanomaterials exhibiting magnetic properties, variable surface properties (hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity), responsiveness to changes in the environment and optical properties that vary with size. Tailoring the properties of nanomaterials through chemical modifications was demonstrated using hydrophobic sand, ferrofluid samples, alginate spheres, and memory metal (nitinol). Activities were developed around each of these nanomaterials to illustrate how the properties can be tuned to optimize sustainability and potential biomedical or environmental applications. The outreach venues consisted of career education events, informal education and community events, and were cultivated through strategic partnerships with local educational organizations, science museums and volunteer organizations. The sustainable nanotechnology content was also included in the introductory college chemistry curriculum and in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program focused on nanoscience and nanotechnology.


Dr. Elizabeth S. Roberts-Kirchhoff

University of Detroit Mercy, College of Engineering & Science

Incorporation of environmental chemistry and sustainability into the graduate and undergraduate curriculum

Over the past five years, I have worked with collaborators to organize three symposia at National American Chemical Society (ACS) Meetings to share best practices in engaging students in the topics of environmental chemistry and sustainability. We have further disseminated the pedagogy to others through the publication of three ACS Symposium series books based on the symposia. In these, we have sought to highlight the intersection of sustainability and environmental chemistry with the engagement of students in high-impact practices known to benefit all students including historically underserved students. Through oral presentations, poster presentations, and peer-reviewed book chapters we have highlighted the efforts of faculty and other educators who incorporate sustainability and environmental chemistry through service learning, community engagement, course-based undergraduate research experiences, undergraduate research, and other pedagogies.


Dr. Jingsong Zhang

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Riverside 

Teaching environmental sustainability using real-world problems in project-oriented chemistry laboratories

Incorporating real-world problems of social importance such as environmental sustainability into science curriculum closely engages the undergraduate students. This can be effectively carried out using investigative, project-oriented laboratory experiences. Dr. Zhang’s efforts in connecting environmental sustainability to chemistry education have focused on incorporating real-world, project-oriented environmental chemistry problems into undergraduate chemistry laboratory courses at both the freshman and the upper division levels. Dr. Zhang has incorporated for 17 years exploratory projects in Environmental Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM140), an upper division laboratory course for chemistry juniors and seniors. Dr. Zhang has also introduced investigative labs into Exploration in Chemistry (CHEM095), a freshman laboratory course. The effectiveness of the active teaching is reflected in successful learning outcomes of the classes, developments of the students' creative scientific thinking and problem-solving abilities, and their better appreciation of the connection of chemistry to environmental sustainability.