University of Central Arkansas
COMPILED BY CHRIS ZEIGLER
Chapter president: Venusa Phomakay Number of chapter members: 30 Number of ACS student members: 20
Website: www.facebook.com/groups/100476723414743/ Institution description: Large, public, suburban, 4-year
Q: How do you ensure a smooth officer
transition from year to year?
A: After the coming year’s officers are elected,
the old officers meet with the new ones to
discuss what is expected of them. This isn’t
as cut-and-dried as it sounds, though! We
have a themed potluck each year for this
special event. Each officer uses a binder
to keep track of all of the information for
which they are responsible. We pass these
binders on to the next officers in a playfully
ceremonial fashion, thus inaugurating the
Q: In what ways does your chapter
give back to the community?
A: One of our chapter’s biggest goals is to
teach kids about science and spark their
interest in it. We demonstrate chemical
phenomena to children at local elementary
schools and community festivals, where
kids can be seen everywhere! In addition, we
volunteer in ways that focus less on science
and more on just helping people in our
community. For example, we participated in
the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Distribution
Day, in which Christmas gifts are handed
out to families who cannot afford them.
Q: What are some interesting ways your
chapter recruits/retains members?
A: Every year the university hosts a fair,
where clubs on campus recruit members
and encourage student involvement.
We distinguish ourselves from others by
setting up interactive demonstrations that
PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS
To promote interaction between the sciences,
the University of Central Arkansas chapter
plans social events with the physics club.
draw in potential members. Also, after
every meeting we raffle off prizes or host
a demonstration in which members can
participate. One of our favorite demonstrations is blowing up a hydrogen balloon!
Q: What is your most popular or unique
A: Our chapter participates in Science Nights
at local schools, where our members get the
chance to reach out to kids and show them
the wonders of chemistry!
Q: Do you collaborate with other clubs
on campus on activities?
A: We collaborate with the physics club on a
few activities in order to promote interaction among the sciences. We also often
join them for outdoor social events such as
hiking trips and picnics.
Q: What is your most effective
communication tool for
promoting chapter activities?
A: We maintain a regular schedule by meeting
twice a month. At the meetings, we share
information and reminders with our
members about upcoming activities, such
as research seminars, social outings like
bowling or hiking, and service opportunities.
In addition, we have an activities calendar
bulletin board in our chemistry building to
remind students of chapter activities.
Q: What is your most successful
fundraiser to date?
A: We worked with the local Chick-fil-A
manager to host a fundraiser at their
establishment. By producing eye-catching
flyers and having our professors announce
the event in class, we achieved a high
turnout. We received a percentage of
indoor sales from the night, and also had
donation jars that were filled to the brim
by the end of the night.
Q: If your chapter has recently attended
an ACS regional, national, or local
section meeting, how did members
A: Our chapter sent 17 students to the ACS
national meeting in San Diego, CA. Our
members had the opportunity to present
research to fellow scientists from across
the country. Attending the meeting was
an eye-opening experience, because
being surrounded by all of these people
who were passionate about chemistry
helped us view our academic field on a
national level, which is something diffi-
cult for us to imagine at our relatively
Faith Yarberry, 6 years
Karen Steelman, 2 years
Kristin Dooley, 1 year
Q: What challenges have you
faced in your position?
A: Keeping up with chapter activities is
a full-time job, so we share the responsibility and fun! One of us helps with
outreach and demonstration activities,
the second organizes student travel to
national meetings, and the third assists
with on-campus meetings and social
events. When one of us cannot attend
an event or answer student questions,
another of us can fill in. We work as a
team, so that no one individual feels
Q: What has been the most
rewarding aspect of your
service as faculty advisors?
A: Seeing our chapter go from being
completely inactive six years ago to
participating in at least one event every
week — whether it’s a service, research,
or social activity. We all got a little teary-eyed when the students showed a slide
show of our chapter’s members and
activities at the end of the year. What
great experiences they’ve had!
Q: What advice can you offer
those new to the advisor position?
A: Get others in your department to
help you! Teamwork works!
inChemistry • www.acs.org/undergrad