Outreach Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients
Read about the accomplishments of Outreach Volunteers of the Year below. Awardees' individual profiles are alphabetized by local section/international chapter.
2022 ACS Global Outreach Volunteer of the Year
Dr. Kim Morehouse, Chemical Society of Washington
Dr. Kim Morehouse has been the driving force behind the Chemical Society of Washington's annual Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) and National Chemistry Week (NCW) activities for the past 16 and 18 years, respectively. His efforts have impacted at least 3000 people in the past 5 years. He also ran the biannual illustrated poem contests (for K-12 students) for CCEW and NCW, actively recruited volunteers for the outreach activities, planned and prepared materials for demos and take-home bags, and partnered with other organizations for a broader participation. Kim has been instrumental in the success of these annual outreach events.
Akron Local Section
Dr. Carol Kercher
Carol Kercher is an associate professor of chemistry at Hiram College and member of the Akron Section. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for outreach have had an impact across Northeastern Ohio. Carol has served the ACS Akron Section in a number of volunteer capacities: coordinating the local Project SEED program, organizing the Chemistry Olympiad program, managing the website and social media for the local section, hosting local section programs, judging area science fairs, advising the ACS Student Affiliate Section at Hiram College, organizing and conducting National Chemistry Week programs, Kids & Chemistry programs, and the CCEW Poetry Contest.
Binghamton Local Section
Mr. Ezer Castillo, a consistent and highly motivated volunteer, helps with preparation and hosting nearly every Local Section Event. His welcoming smile encourages participation from attendees. His work with Binghamton University GOGreen Institute, a STEAM summer camp, was very important to its success. This past year he helped maintain connection to the community with a ChemLuminary winning CCEW Event for K–12 students. He supports events for undergraduates, demonstrated by his work with students to design and present posters at a Poster Session this fall. His support as LS Graduate Member and Graduate Chemistry Club President was imperative in recruiting volunteers for events.
Brazosport Local Section
Dr. Yifan Dong
The Brazosport ACS Local Section is proud to nominate Dr. Yifan Dong for the outreach volunteer of the year award. Yifan spearheaded screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “Picture A Scientist” and organized a panel discussion during the IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast, highlighting ACS’s DEIR goals. Yifan also had significant outreach engagement with K-12 students and teachers in the local community. She organized and led the USNCO program for Brazoria County and was integral part of other events focused on elementary and middle school students. Yifan’s many outreach engagements for the past year were recognized with 5 ChemLuminary nominations.
California Local Section
With the focus on equitable access to the sciences in 2020, Alex Bruefach initiated a mentoring program for underserved and underprivileged high school students. Alex has led three semester-long sessions since its commencement and has won an IPG award. The program is impactful by helping students learn skills (resume writing, elevator pitch, etc.). The program also helps students with college applications. The one-on-one mentorship portion of the program provides students with a mentor that reviews application essays. Alex is a co-chair in YCC and has planned multiple high-turnout networking events for college students with local chemical industry professionals.
Central Massachusetts Local Section
Dr. Mathangi Krishnamurthy
Professor Mathangi Krishnamurthy is committed to mentoring the future generation of scientists in the Central Massachusetts region. She serves in multiple roles that include coordinator for Chemistry Olympiad, National Chemistry week, Chemists Celebrate earth day/week and organizing poetry contests and outreach events at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA. In addition, she serves as a Judge of students’ research projects for the Massachusetts State Middle School Science Fair. Under her leadership, two students from the Central Massachusetts region were awarded Highest Honor and Honors for their participation in the 2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad competition.
Central Utah Local Section
Dr. Roger Harrison
Dr. Harrison has organized an annual high school awards ceremony, banquet and lab tours for all the high schools in our service area for over twenty years. This event impacts over a hundred students, their families and teachers each year. He has been instrumental in recognizing the achievements of high school students and encouraging these students to pursue Chemistry. He has also established a High School Teacher of the Year award for our section, and runs the nomination process to highlight chemistry teaching excellence. Dr. Harrison has made a profound impact on our section with his support of young chemists.
Central Wisconsin Local Section
Dr. Robin Tanke
Robin Tanke has served our section for many years in different roles and this year her efforts in outreach were exemplary. Robin planned an exciting National Chemistry Week community outreach event consisting of hands-on activities and demonstrations that was well attended this year. She organized the event and led the training of volunteers. Robin also organized the illustrated poem contests for Chemists Celebrate Earth Week and National Chemistry week. Robin's service to our section and community are greatly appreciated!
Chicago Local Section
During the Covid pandemic, Jana was able to pivot and arrange several virtual networking events as well as events to help our young members with tools for their careers. This pivoting during the pandemic allowed the group to continue to provide information to our membership.
Connecticut Valley Local Section
Chemistry Olympiad stimulates interests in young adults. It is an important activity takes place within each local section of ACS. We are fortunate to have Ed who has been managing this event for many years. He is meticulous and thorough in his work and execute Olympiads in two different locations in CT and MA. About four hundred students per year participates in National Olympiad every year. CVS ACS would like to recognize Ed's outstanding service to our section and ACS.
Dallas-Fort Worth Local Section
Dr. Kayla Green
As the National Chemistry Week Coordinator for the Dallas-Fort Worth Section of the ACS, she organized ten years of Chemistry Connections in collaboration with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. In this role, she hosted over 20,000 visitors to the museum during these events, which included countless local elementary and home school groups. During these activities, an average of 8-10 high school and college teams participated to provide almost 200 volunteers on a yearly basis. At this point, she has volunteers from college groups that visited the event during their elementary years and became interested in science.
Detroit Local Section
Dr. Amy Hamlin
Over the last several years, Amy Hamlin has been an invaluable member of the Detroit Local Section. She has served as Chair and other executive positions. She is an unfailing, encouraging voice for the Section, especially throughout the initial pandemic shutdown. She remains committed to the Detroit Section and the promotion of the chemical enterprises. Amy tirelessly serves as a chemistry ambassador to make the local section and community a better place through the power of chemistry.
Greater Houston Local Section
Cotton Starr has been editing the Greater Houston Section e-newsletter since 2018 and is instrumental in communicating information on upcoming outreach activities and other section events to over 2000 recipients monthly, including promoting volunteer recruitment drives for outreach events. In 2021, Cotton expanded her Guess the Molecule feature and created a “Guess the Molecule Challenge” for the monthly newsletter to promote reader engagement. Readers submit their answers to a monthly trivia question for a chance to win a chemistry-themed prize pack at the end of the year.
Huron Valley Local Section
Paul Dobrowolski has been vital to the Huron Valley Section Outreach programs by his involvement in Chemistry Week and Earth Week events that involve demonstrations for local area students at the Ypsilanti Public Library. He also has served as a coach in the ACS Science Coaches program which aids teachers in the area. His 30+ years of experience in doing demonstrations for kids in many different settings and his participation in spreading his knowledge and excitement for chemistry has been valuable to our section.
Indiana Local Section
Dr. Jade Bing
In her first year on the E-Board, Jade made a tremendous impact on educational outreach in Greater Indianapolis. As Chair of the Minority Affairs and DEIR Committees, she effectively coordinated four outreach events that furnished college prep kids 500+ under-represented minority high school students to encourage them to pursue chemistry degrees. She also co-chaired the Promoting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in ChemisTry (PREDICT) Symposium, a well-attended, highly didactic professional development Symposium that featured world-class experts on important topics. Local teachers, community leaders, and their talented students are grateful for Jade’s outstanding contributions in shaping a new generation of diverse scientists.
Kalamazoo Local Section
Dr. Blakely Tresca
Blake has championed the K College chemistry club and motivating them to be active in ACS. He presented demo’s at museum day and provided some chemicals needed for other Chemistry Day demos, Blakely coorganized a virtual speed networking event and he trying to get the industrial Panel going. Blakely also participated in KACS virtual strategic planning weekend.
Malaysia International Chapter
Dr. Yen San (Stephanie) Chan
Dr. Chan has been a keen supporter of the Malaysia Chapter's outreach programs for many years now, particularly in the state of Sarawak on the eastern side of Malaysia. She has organized many outreach events, especially under the Chemistry Festivals umbrella, to school students, the disadvantaged community, and the public in general. Her dedication ensured that the Chapter has a strong and growing presence in Sarawak, and all over Malaysia too.
Nebraska Local Section
Stephany Ramos de Dios
Stephany Ramos has stepped up and represented the Nebraska ACS section in several outreach programs. She is always willing to lend a hand. Stephany is finishing her PhD in the Dave Berkowitz group at UNL.
New York Local Section
Dr. Justyna Widera-Kalinowska
Justyna Widera-Kalinowska has been an invaluable member of the NY ACS. She was Chair in 2019, and more recently received a Local Section Innovative Project Grant (IPG). As a result, she has developed a Digital Science Library with virtual laboratory YouTube videos that are linked to the NY ACS webpage, for high school teachers, student-teachers and college/university professors.
North Jersey Local Section
Dr. Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert truly demonstrates the spirit of volunteerism. She chaired the newly formed Communications Committee for our local section and using her skills in programming and electronic media she partnered with another local section and developed a new web-based newsletter that has been easier to share and communicate with our broader local ACS members. Kathleen also co-chaired the 2nd virtual NJ Chemistry Olympics and was a judge at the NCW event where more than 1,000 local students participated at these outreach events. Kathleen tirelessly gives her time and contribution and has positively influenced and impacted our local outreach activities.
Northeast Tennessee Local Section
Dr. Dane Scott
Over the past three years, Dane Scott has served as the Awards Chair for the Local Section and as Chair succession during the great pandemic of 2020. Dane demonstrated the leadership, adaptability and insights necessary to develop online events and programming. His impact is highlighted by the successful submission of the 2020 Local Innovative Project Grant with the support of the National Chemistry Week Chair, Shawn Dougherty. Efforts to increase student involvement in local section events through the area's undergraduate chapters are ongoing.
Omaha Local Section
Dr. Joel Destino
Joel Destino is an energetic and creative member of our Section's leadership team. He was instrumental in re-engaging members in the Section's activities, and helped organizing almost every event during the past year. His ideas are always aimed to ensure success of our events, and his outreach experience helps him connect with any kind of audience.
Orlando Local Section
Dr. Titel Jurca
Titel Jurca is a go-to volunteer of the Orlando Local Section. At the beginning of 2021, while most of us hesitated to organize in-person events due to the pandemic, Titel spearheaded the half-day in-person Chemists Celebrate Earth Week event in downtown Orlando. It reached nearly 500 community members (diverse demographic and age groups) to survey, demonstrate, and educate about plastic recycling. He plans to continue this event for many years to come. He volunteers as Program Chair of SERMACS/SWRMACS 2025, hosted by the Orlando Local Section. He has also served on the section’s award committee since 2018.
Pakistan International Chapter
Maira Naz is a commendable volunteer of the American Chemical Society of Pakistan chapter. As a volunteer she organized outreach volunteer award ceremony and hosted National chemistry week programs in 2021. She also actively participated this year in world science day as a member of the organizing committee. She is very firmed towards her objectives and always play an important role in various scientific events. She has been noticed for her very hectic endeavors to help the organizers of many wonderful scientific events this year.
Philadelphia Local Section
Dr. Isabella Goodenough
Isabella Goodenough has a passion for helping others. During the pandemic, Isabella formed the Easter US Partnership for the YCC. By leveraging the values and benefits of the American Chemical Society, the partnership has offered a series of professional development, self-care, and networking workshops, which has reached participants all across the U.S. and internationally--including many students trying to decide if they should pursue a career in chemistry. While not the traditional demos, Isabella's outreach has had a significant impact on the perception of a career in chemistry and the support the chemical community can give prospective majors.
Puerto Rico Local Section
Sara Delgado Riviera
Sara Delgado Riviera is an active and inspirational member of the Puerto Rico Local Section. She has been a coordinator of the USNCO in Puerto Rico; she is a member and coordinator of the local Science Cafes. And moreover, she is a key element in several community outreach activities such as the Festival de Quimica, that we celebrate during National Chemistry Week and during Chemist Celebrate Earth Week. She is an active member in the YCC and Women Chemistry Committee where she is a leader that inspires younger chemists to become active members.
Puget Sound Local Section
Dr. A.M. Ranjika (Dharshi) Bopegedera
Dr. Dharshi Bopegedera is a leader at the local, regional, and national level. She is a tireless volunteer and advocate of equity and inclusion in undergraduate education, who has impacted the lives of countless students and members in our local section. Dharshi has been making significant contributions to the section’s success consistently for over 25 years. She has held a number of leadership positions and organizes and / or participates in multiple events annually. She fosters connections with the chemistry educators in our state recruiting new executive committee members. Her signature event is the Career Day.
Red River Valley Local Section
Dr. Graeme Wyllie
Dr. Wyllie heads up Concordia Science Academy. The science outreach organization that involves students and faculty from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Prior to the pandemic, Concordia Science Academy would interact with thousands of kids per year at a wide range of community events as well as organizing dedicated science events with Dr Wyllie working hard at all of them in his unique tie-dye lab coat. While initially Science Academy was curtailed by the pandemic, since May, Dr Wyllie focused on getting back out there and doing safe hands-on science activities easily seeing over a thousand kids this past year.
Richland Local Section
Cristina Padilla Cintron
Cristina Padilla Cintron exemplified outstanding enthusiasm for chemistry education and outreach to local section members and the broader community reaching 400+ participants this year. Cristina planned the virtual Family Game Night exploring chemistry fun; Covid-19 studies in a bilingual outreach that included 374 7th grade students at Isaac Stevens Middle School; organized The Science of Performance Management workshop led by Joe Estey; and co-organized a virtual beer tasting seminar. Cristina’s strong enthusiasm for chemistry and her outreach to the LS and the community are inspiring to the ACS membership and breeds enthusiasm and participation.
San Gorgonio Local Section
Dr. Ana Bahamonde
Ana Bahamonde joined the San Gorgonio Section this year and has been active in helping to plan and execute many of the section activities since she joined. She helped organize and identify volunteers for the demonstration tables at the NCW event, which had over 100 volunteers and was attended by over 250 K-8 grade students, parents and teachers. She also prepared the Spanish language announcement flyers for the NCW event. She also identified the Keynote Speaker for the Section's Annual meeting. The presentation was excellent and well-received.
Silicon Valley Local Section
Dr. Eefei Chen
When Eefei Chen is not immersed in measuring microviscosity in myoglobin with time-resolved linear dichroism spectroscopy, Eefei is improving the aesthetics of science by creating eye-catching illustrations that effectively communicate science with scientists, students, teachers and the public in our community.
Virginia Local Section
Ashley has been serving as chair of both the event planning and branding & promotion subcommittees of the Virginia YCC and chair of the branding & promotion subcommittee of the Eastern US YCC Partnership. Ashley has been instrumental in enhancing the promotion of our events as well as the branding of the Virginia YCC and the Eastern US YCC Partnership by creating social media accounts such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She helped to organize various programs such as the ‘a day in the life’ of a chemist series, professional development workshops, self-care Saturdays/Sundays, and more.
Virginia Blue Ridge Local Section
Dr. Maggie Bump
Maggie Bump has impacted thousands of community members through her outreach efforts including demonstration shows, poem contests, and summer camps. During the pandemic Maggie took the time from her canceled camp to develop chemistry kits containing the complete materials for ten experiments. These were distributed to hundreds of children as summer activities. Harnessing the enthusiasm of students in her ACSSA Chemistry Club at Virginia Tech, Maggie is able to share chemistry with the region. Undergraduate students perform demonstration shows for the community twice a year, take demos into classrooms, science fairs, and museums, and help package chemistry kits.