FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 17, 2020

American Chemical Society announces winner of 2020 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2020 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) today announced Lydia E. M. Hines, Ph.D., as the recipient of the 2020 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach. This award is presented annually by the ACS Committee on Public Relations and Communications (CPRC) to an ACS member whose outstanding achievements have improved public recognition and appreciation for the field of chemistry.

“Sharing chemistry, both formally and informally, to audiences from the very young to the young-at-heart has been part of my life for so long that it is both humbling and affirming to be the recipient of this award,” says Hines. “This honor holds special significance for me, as I have had the privilege of collaborating with Helen Free over the years and have long admired her passion for outreach.”

Hines has been an ACS member for over 50 years and recently retired as a chemistry lecturer from Western Michigan University. She is known as the “face of chemistry” in her home of Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she has spent decades engaging the community with science through her many volunteer efforts. In particular, she is the founder and organizer of an annual Chemistry Day event at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, held in conjunction with ACS’ National Chemistry Week. This event draws around 1,000 people each year and features hands-on activities that engage children and adults alike with chemistry. Hines also brings these interactive science experiments to classrooms around her community and has been an active mentor to college chemistry clubs.

Hines earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has held numerous leadership positions within ACS membership over the years, including serving as chair of the Kalamazoo local section and the Great Lakes Region Board, general chair of two regional meetings and an ACS Councilor for 36 years. After over 20 years spent outside the salaried workforce, she returned to the classroom in 2004, first at Kalamazoo Valley Community College then Western Michigan University. She continues to mentor other chemists in their own outreach efforts.

“Dr. Hines truly is a ‘face of chemistry’ in our field and beyond,” says CPRC Chair Amber Charlebois, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at Nazareth College. “Her years of service as an educator and ambassador for science have had a profound impact on the ACS community and her own community, and I offer my sincere congratulations.”

In addition to this latest award, Hines has been honored by the ACS Committee on Community Activities as the 2014 volunteer of the year for her involvement with the Kalamazoo Section. She also received the ACS E. Ann Nalley Great Lakes Region Award for Volunteer Service in 2011.

“Dr. Hines has always displayed a genuine love for chemistry and a desire to share that passion with everyone she meets,” says James J. Kiddle, Ph.D., at Saint Xavier University. “In addition, she is dedicated to less obvious outreach activities, like being a mentor. She is always willing to listen and help guide mentees because she loves interacting with people who are dedicated to the chemistry profession.”

Established in 1995, the Helen M. Free Award is a ChemLuminary Award that recognizes outstanding achievements in public outreach. Free, a former ACS president, initiated many programs and activities designed to improve public awareness of chemistry’s contributions to the quality of daily life.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The Society is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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