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.

2023 Recipients

Dr. Evonne Baldauff

2023 ACS Global Outreach Volunteer of the Year

Evonne Baldauff, Pittsburgh Local Section

Evonne Baldauff has been a champion for Outreach in the Pittsburgh Local Section for 15 years.  Evonne has continued to find creative solutions with successful and innovative events and programs to celebrate National Chemistry Week.  Evonne has coordinated the efforts of our volunteers and ACS student chapters in the region to carry out hands-on activities, as well as to design, construct, and distribute outreach kits to teachers in regional schools. The Pittsburgh local section is grateful for all of Evonne’s dedicated service to chemistry outreach in the community.  

Binghamton Local Section

Victoria Kompanijec 

Victoria is a highly active volunteer that is involved with almost every outreach event we do as a local section, from leading/hosting activities, to helping train others in preparation for the events. Her support as a local section Graduate Member was vital in helping gather the volunteer support necessary for our events to be successful.

Victoria Kompanijec

Brazosport Local Section

Daniel Abebe

Daniel has been a strong and responsible leader and a key contributor with both immediate- and long-term impacts on the Local Section. Daniel has led many successful drives for the local community through STEM outreach and advocacy for local chemists of all backgrounds. He was instrumental in establishing the first ACS Local Student Chapter at the Brazosport Community College, and also led professional development programs, such as career readiness and networking events for the prospective industry personnel. Overall, Daniel has been a strong advocate for ACS's mission and we are fortunate to have this out-of-the-box thinking individual on our local team!

Daniel Ghirmay Abebe

California Local Section

Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee has demonstrated a tremendous drive to spread the word and impact of chemistry within our local section as well as in collaboration with the neighboring Silicon Valley section. His commitment to reaching the public where they are - with technology to meet the challenges of the new hybrid world - is exemplary. His service to organizing the Bay Area Chemistry Symposium, as well as his time in the Public Relationship and Communication Committee have greatly impacted the surrounding community.

Patrick Lee

Central Massachusetts Local Section

Karen Kowlzan 

Karen has been a constant support for the various outreach events that our section has organized for CCEW and NCW. She has been very helpful in preparing for the practical examination section of the Chemistry Olympiad. She has also lent her support in activities that our volunteers have offered as part of the Chemistry ambassadors program, sponsored by ACS for three years.

Karen Kowlzan

Chicago Local Section

Fran Kravitz 

Since 2004, Fran Kravitz has organized the Chicago Section's participation in the Illinois State Fair Science Tent in Springfield, IL, a popular annual science outreach event. In collaboration with other Illinois local sections, hands-on activities and demonstrations were offered to about 6,000 children, parents, and teachers. Fran recruited volunteers from the Chicago Section for the Science Tent, including students from local colleges. As a leader of this annual event, Fran also selected the activities, acquired supplies and equipment, transported them to Springfield, and coordinated volunteer schedules and training.

Fran Karen Kravitz

Detroit Local Section

Carmen Folk 

Carmen Folk has been instrumental in the Detroit Section's outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has taken on hosting duties for our long running science cafe program “Brewing Chemistry” as it transitioned to a largely virtual format, but she has also helped spearhead our "meet the board" ice cream social this summer, planning a Port Huron museum field trip this fall, and initiating the startup of a Science Book Club, set to launch early 2023. In short, she's helped implement several new program ideas to involve our membership and deserves recognition for her creative and enthusiastic volunteer work.

Georgia Local Section

Cheryl Trusty

Cheryl Trusty's impact has been pervasive and lasting in our section: from being responsible for the development of syncing a calendar/document system for our EXCOM, to developing a standing rules document, to lobbying for and getting approval for the first ever Strategic Planning Session of our Local Section Executive Committee; which culminated in winning 6 ChemLuminaries for work accomplished by her team during her tenure as chair. Cheryl was inspired to create the Backpacks4Barbara Program, a project to honor one of our long-time members and public-school teachers. This program provides school supplies to underserved and underrepresented middle school students in the local community.

Greater Houston Local Section

Safia Mohamed

Safia has made quite the impact in her role as YCC Chair with her creative and enthusiastic approach and collaborative mindset. As a younger chemist herself, she is extremely passionate about advocating for younger chemists, particularly their professional development and creating networking opportunities. She is a force of nature when it comes to organizing events, hosting six successful events over the past two years, both in-person and virtual, and collaborating with various ACS and local organizations. These events have connected chemists across the US and created a wonderful community for younger chemists with growing supporters, members, and volunteers.

Sofia Mohamed

Illinois-Iowa Local Section

Andy Axup 

Andy Axup planned and presented 8 demos at the “Chemistry for Kids” program at the Putnam Museum. One demo, “Finding Pirate Pete’s Treasure,” highlights his creativity with themes. He always wears his signature tie-dye lab coat to build excitement! His enthusiasm for chemistry is contagious. Participants described him as fabulous and engaging, “The science guy was great! I was intrigued the whole time.” His participation in this program was in addition to numerous other events where he presents. Dr. Axup is always the first to volunteer and approaches outreach with palpable excitement.

Andy Axup

Indiana Local Section

Erin Dotlich

Erin is a key member of local section Strategic Planning & has successfully received a grant to fund leadership training to enhance the community connection of the Local Section. Erin secured a National Chemical Landmark for Insulin commercialization site and is the leader for the associated symposium at the 2023 Spring meeting. Erin’s accomplishments include being a member since 2001, section leader since 2009, serving as secretary, Chair, alternate councilor, councilor and performed a fundamental role in multiple outreach activities (NCW, SEED, WCC, YCC) including committee leads. Additional service includes successfully nominating numerous Fellows, serving as Chair of National CTA., serving on the 2013 National Meeting planning committee and 2011 CERM committee.

Erin Dotlich

Joliet Local Section

Thomas Rickhoff 

Thomas has been an indispensable part of ACS Joliet's community outreach initiatives for several years, first as a student, and now as an ACS officer. He has helped with the planning and execution of numerous Chemistry demonstration shows for children, Chemistry Olympiad competitions, Programs-in-a-box, Chemists Celebrate Earth Week events, and National Chemistry Week programs. His efforts have brought chemistry to a wide variety of audiences including children, high school students, college students, and scout groups. Thomas's recent efforts have been geared towards improving lab-based chemistry education for undergraduates, using social media as a means to communicate science, and mentor students.

North Jersey Local Section

Sandra Keyser 

Sandra Keyser has been a long-standing NJ ACS Local Section volunteer with extraordinary dedication. Sandra chaired the NJ ACS ChemExpo where 1,500 visitors engaged in learning the chemistry of fabrics through demonstrations by local students and volunteers. Sandra served the advisor and NJ ACS liaison for Fair for Emerging Researchers (FER) and made the mentorship program more robust with an outreach impact expanding from NJ to the broader northeast region. Sandra coordinated CCEW virtual events and promoted awareness about creating a sustainable planet. With her tireless efforts and outstanding leadership, Sandra influenced our local outreach activities and made a lasting and meaningful contribution to our local community.

Sandra Keyser

Northeast Tennessee Local Section

Soma Mukherjee 

The Tennessee-Virginia Highlands Section (TVHS) is proud to share the outstanding work of Soma. First starting with National Chemistry Week, Soma has been a key player in support of over 1,400 4th graders each year sharing the importance of Chemistry and STEM education. Soma was very active with the TVHS Olympiad program to help recognize outstanding high school students in our area. Her great insights and creativity are a huge value to TVHS in reaching out to members and students. TVHS is proud of Soma. She makes things fun and exciting for our members and students.

Soma Mukherjee

Northeastern Ohio Local Section

Erin Avram 

Erin Avram's volunteer work includes being Secretary for 3 years, during which time she's delivered monthly Zoom meetings, taken copious notes, and provided important information with the Local Section leaders. She has additionally stored materials and provided them appropriately, to allow leaders to evaluate essential work, via our shared server.  She has compiled data and helped select winners for the YSAs and communicated with students, parents, and teachers to encourage increased participation.  Additionally, she has organized CCEW events for students, members, and guests. These events would not have happened without her efforts! She is AMAZING!

Erin Avram

Northern Oklahoma Local Section

Keith Lawson 

Keith is a very passionate outreach volunteer of the NOK local section. For the last 12 years, he has solely organized events to encourage Bartlesville area students to participate in the USNCO. He educates and trains them for at least 4 months of the year to prepare them to be successful in USNCO. Because of his tireless efforts and dedication, the awareness about the program has increased tremendously and is reflected in the increased participation of the students. He has impacted more than 200 students in the past 12 years. This year the NOK local section recognized his outstanding contributions.

Keith Henry Lawson

Orange County Local Section

Erin Joy Esposo Araneta 

Erin often single-handedly organized a wide variety of Outreach events and led different groups of volunteers to carry them out. They were sometimes outside the usual purview of the standard programs sponsored by National ACS and even our Local Section. Examples of her contributions include: Chemistry demonstration at an orphanage in the Philippines (ChemLuminary Award winner), Chemistry at the Orange County Farmers' Market (Chem-Luminary Award winner) and Chemistry Magic Night - an online event at the height of the pandemic.

Philadelphia Local Section

Candice Pelligra 

Candice Pelligra used creativity and innovative programming to attract new membership to the Local Section by expanding the reach of the local events. She collaborated with various organizations and the National ACS to make membership easily accessible to young professionals of the Greater Philadelphia Area.

Candice Pelligra

Puerto Rico Local Section

Daisy Morales 

Daisy is a long-standing and highly motivated local volunteer with the capacity and drive to help the Puerto Rico local section and engage in our outreach to formal and informal groups. She consistently works very hard and always makes outstanding contributions to every NCW & CCEW outreach event coordinated by our section. She has coordinated and also participated in virtual educational events, visited classrooms, and worked in community outreach and service projects. With her exemplary volunteer work, Daisy, has earned the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom Daisy has served.

Daisy Morales

Richland Local Section

Shirmir Branch 

Shirmir Branch is a very dedicated ACS volunteer. She is one of the three inaugural leaders of the ACS Richland Local Section’s Women Chemists’ Committee, has served as the Local Section Secretary for many years and is currently the 2023 Chair-Elect. In the past five years, the various activities that she organized and participated in, which include Pottery Night, Wine Social, Chemistry Week and Earth Day events, Hanford Site panel discussion, plant visits, Science Cafes, Program-in-a-Box, and others, have impacted close to one thousand people in total.  She remains a very essential and creative leader of the local section.

Shirmir Branch

San Gorgonio Local Section

Michael Nalbandian

As chair of the San Gorgonio Section's Environmental Improvement Committee, Dr. Michael J. Nalbandian planned the Chemists Celebrate Earth Week community outreach event for the Local Section. Through the efforts of Dr. Nalbandian and that committee, over 190 people enjoyed various bug-themed demos and activities and guided tours of a local botanical garden. In addition to this successful event, Dr. Nalbandian is a consistent outreach volunteer for the section, and he is also a primary contributor to NCW and Olympiad outreach events. He has been a section volunteer since 2019. We appreciate the outreach work he has done for the section over the years!

Michael Nalbandian

South Carolina Local Section

Chuanbing Tang 

Chuanbing Tang has been the director for Project SEED at the University of South Carolina since 2010. Through his efforts over 54 underprivileged high school students have had the experience of performing research in a chemistry laboratory at the University of South Carolina. In addition to his work with Project SEED, Dr. Tang mentors students in the South Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation Program. He has served as a judge at the Discovery Day of the University of South Carolina, the Annual South Carolina Region II Science and Engineering Fair, and the South Carolina Academy of Science Meetings.

Chuanbing Tang

Southern Arizona Local Section

Sharon Gardlund 

Sharon Gardlund is an exemplary volunteer and leader with the Women's Chemistry Group (WCG) in the Southern Arizona ACS chapter. The WCG hosts multiple in-person outreach events every year- events that literally engage and impact over 1,000 people every year!

Sharon Leona Gardlund

South Florida Local Section

Jesse Bernstein 

Jesse has been able to transfer his passion and excitement of Chemistry (and Science in general) to the participants of all the activities he has been involved with over the years.  It is a pleasure to see the smiles on the faces of the young students as they experience science through Jesse’s leadership.

Jesse Bernstein

Southwest Georgia Local Section

Linda de la Garza 

Linda de la Garza devotes her time and effort to sharing her love of Chemistry with K-12 and college students. Seemingly, every month she is organizing visiting speakers, performing Chemistry demonstrations, and setting up hands-on activities for local school children. Each year, she leads outreach activities that engage hundreds of students and families. She always recruits VSU students to assist so they gain experience communicating with the general public about Chemistry. Dr. de la Garza's outreach activities have a significant, positive impact on her students, colleagues, and our community!

Linda de la Garza

Trenton Local Section

Joseph Baker 

Joseph (Joe) Baker was a Vice Chair of Programming for the 2022 ACS MARM and was absolutely critical to the success of the event. Joe was the primary source of communication and support for Division and Session Chairs and guided a very large number of technical contributors through the planning of the first in-person conference of its size. Joe was extremely supportive, flexible, and creative in his engagement with those contributing to programming for the 2022 ACS MARM, and the event could not have been successful without Joe's efforts!

Joseph Baker

Virginia Local Section

Carissa Hunter 

Carissa led the planning and execution of a two-day virtual event in April of 2022 titled "Virginia American Chemical Society Younger Chemists Committee/Northeastern National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers Diversity and Inclusion/ Professional Development Workshop". This event featured keynote speakers and panel sessions aimed at providing awareness and open dialogue about diversity and inclusivity in school and the workplace, especially in the field of STEM. The 65 participants, who represented various minority groups (Black, LatinX, South Asian, Women), networked and engaged in pointed discussions during breakout sessions. The Local Section could not have organized this awesome event if it were not for Carissa's leadership and dedication.

Carissa Hunter

Contact icon

Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach