ties and how to develop an easy
transition for incoming officers.
It was great to get feedback from
fellow student leaders before actu-
ally implementing ideas once we
returned to our chapters. Our dis-
cussions really put things into per-
spective for each of us and helped us
realize that there is a lot to be proud
of when we look back at what our
chapters have accomplished over the
years. It was also comforting to know
we were not the only student leaders
who were having difficulty collaborat-
ing with their local sections or moti-
vating volunteers. We all go through
the same issues… and the best way to
get through them is to share ideas.
made plans for our respective chapters to
meet and participate in Green Chemistry
activities at the 243rd ACS National Meeting
in San Diego in March 2012. Overall, it was a
great experience to meet and garner support from fellow student leaders facing the
same challenges. C
Julia Rutherford was a senior
chemistry and physics major
at Pacific Lutheran University in
Tacoma, WA. She died July 3, 2011
while hiking. A tribute to Julia
appears on page 1.
Shannen Cravens graduated
from the University of San
Diego last spring and was
president of the USD student
chapter. She is now a first-year
graduate student at Johns
Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.
which we defined chapter positions,
planned how to recruit volunteers, and
learned how to ensure rewarding experiences and promote continuing commitment
among volunteers. Student leaders and
other ACS members formed small groups
to problem-solve during the presentation.
Rousing discussions were held on our previous experiences and our reactions to each
stage of this process.
In the process, we gained confidence
that we can balance support for new leaders
with the freedom they need to work as they
choose. We also developed an increased
appreciation for what motivates others to
volunteer. Because of this, we are now able
to reach out to others more effectively. This
was a very enlightening experience.
Student leader pow-wow
After the leadership course, the student
leaders came together to discuss the challenges we all face in trying to sustain functional and highly involved ACS chapters.
We then split up into groups and discussed
various methods of fund-raising, different
outreach events our chapters participate in,
and what strategies we use to retain members. This was perhaps the most beneficial
aspect of the weekend we spent at the
It is incredible how much we learned
from each other. For example, we shared
several ideas about new outreach activi-
The end of a
The closing remarks that ended our weekend were not only motivating and interesting speeches but also a call to action. In
addition to inspiring words from leaders
of ACS, a thought-provoking video clip
on speaking simply about chemistry was
shown. As avid participants in community
outreach and supporters of chemistry
education, this spoke to us deeply. In this
short movie, participants explained their
research— at first, in scientific terms.
Then, after some coaching, they tried
again and explained their work simply,
and more powerfully.
Our hope is that others are as inspired
as we were by this experience. By speaking
simply about our science, we can expand
communication about our research to those
outside of our field. This effective communication can in turn spread knowledge and
understanding of chemistry to others.
By the end of the weekend, we established new goals for our chapter, including
helping younger chapter members rise into
leadership positions, better involving our
members in planning new activities for our
chapters, and increasing interactions
between our chapter and our local section.
We gained insight on the work and necessary delegation that goes into planning successful events and how to better motivate
our chapter volunteers. And finally, we
Apply for a 2012
Are you a leader in your student chapter who is
interested in attending the
2012 Leadership Institute?
Apply today for a 2012 Student
Leadership Award, which will pay
the entire cost for undergraduate
students to attend the 2012
While all ACS student members may
apply for these awards, preference will
be given to sophomores and juniors
who demonstrate strong interest in
ACS student chapter activities and
aspire to become more effective chapter leaders and ACS members.
After the application deadline (
tentatively scheduled for early November
2011), the ACS Society Committee on
Education Task Force on Undergraduate
Programming will review all applications received and make selections.
Award-winning students will be notified by the end of 2011 to allow time to
make travel plans.
Information will be sent to all chapter faculty advisors about the application process.
If you’re interested in applying for a 2012 Student Leadership
Award, please ask your faculty advisor for details, or check the website