Student Chapter Members' Exceptional Involvement Yields Extraordinary Results


It is a wonderful honor and my distin­guished privilege to close out my ACS presidency by taking this opportunity to congratulate 284 ACS student chapters for their amazing achievements during the 2015-2016 academic year! I am inspired by the thousands of unique, innovative, and valuable activities that you and your peers across the country organized, build­ing on the 80-year legacy of chemistry undergraduate students who chose the same special path you are now on.

From Honorable Mention to Com­mendable to Outstanding, you all have made important strides in improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry. More than that, you have created a buzz about chemistry, bringing excitement and inspiration to your classmates, young children, and the general public. You are making a serious impact on how people perceive chemistry while educating them on how chemical research affects their everyday lives. You are also building bonds with peers that will last a lifetime. And you are developing exceptional professional skills that will take you far in your future careers.

Those of you who serve as officers or coordinate activities face unique chal­lenges. You set goals and develop strate­gies to achieve them — making your chap­ter’s mission and vision become a reality. You take on the responsibility of organiz­ing the many details that go into putting on special events. While maintaining chapter pride and momentum, you build strong relationships with fellow members, faculty, your institution, and the com­munity. You network, communicate, and navigate challenges and obstacles that can sometimes threaten chapter morale. Your sincere dedication, staunch work ethic, and clear passion for chemistry work together to make possible the numerous successes to which we are thrilled to bear witness.

As you continue to grow as a chapter member and a professional, I encourage you to take advantage of attending an ACS national meeting. It is the perfect place to hone presentation skills, network with other peers and professionals in various areas of chemistry, and take advantage of career services, such as résumé review.

Examining Science in Hollywood

I would like to especially invite you to the upcoming spring national meeting in San Francisco, where I am organizing a sym­posium called “Hollyweird Chemistry.” During three half-day sessions, writers, producers, and others who study film and television will discuss the challenges of portraying science and scientists on the screen and the influence that science has on students and the public. And do we as real-life scientists have any influence over how accurately we are portrayed? Actually, that’s a question we should all be interested in, and there will be time for conversations like this during the panel discussions that follow each session. There will be opportunities for photos and auto­graphs with those behind the science in your favorite TV shows and movies.

Your commitment to your future is already well under way as members of an ACS student chapter. I encourage you to expand the scope of your knowledge by making every effort to experience a tech­nical scientific meeting, and joining the conversation about communicating sci­ence responsibly to the public.

About the Author

Donna J. Nelson
a chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma, is the 2016 president of ACS. She is a fellow of ACS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and a woman of Courage Award from the National Organization of Women.