Lisa Houston has been an active ACS volunteer for more than 25 years at all levels, including local section, technical division, regional meetings, and ACS national governance, and was recently elected to the ACS Board of Directors as District IV Director. With the Greater Houston Section, she has continued to focus on expanding our outreach and education efforts through the introduction of new activities such as our senior chemist outreach program. She has also been instrumental in recruiting a significant number of new volunteers to the local section board, and her organization skills are often called on when planning section events.
In 2019, Lisa took on the role of GHS Awards Committee Chair and built a small team to solicit nominations for local and regional awards as well as plan the annual Awards Banquet. All of this has been accomplished while advancing her professional career to her current position as Business Segment leader for two portfolios at Petroleum Analyzer Company (PAC). We congratulate Lisa on her election to the ACS Board of Directors and thank her for her continued contributions to the Greater Houston section!
This Halloween instead of passing out candy to my co-workers, I passed out hands-on chemistry kits for the parents to do at home. I wanted to raise STEM awareness in the community with hopes those participating will develop a passion for chemistry and other sciences. I selected the experiments from the ACS website. ACS has a great website with Classroom Science Activities for teachers, but you knew that, right? They also have an excellent webpage to help teachers and parents facilitate hands-on experiments for kids to explain complex chemistry.
Pictured: Wei Wang, Do Hoon Kim, Sujeewa Palayangoda, Hyuntae Yang, Gayani Pinnawala
The kits contained food dye, cotton swabs, plastic pipettes and instructions to demonstrate interfacial tension.
For more information to delight and amaze your friends and family, visit: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/adventures-in-chemistry/experiments/colors-move.html
ACS-GHS Community Affairs Committee Chair
Report from Kids & Chemistry organizer Bob Botto:
We had a wonderful time with the kids at the Children's Museum of Houston on Saturday, October 26th. Volunteers from University of Houston, Texas Southern University and Rice University arrived at 9 am to help me set up. I counted at least 25 so when it was time to welcome the kids at 10 am we were ready! Catherine Faler brought a small banner and a quilt. We had 5 tables set up: Color Changes with Juices, Radish Writing, Candy Experiments, Play Doh (because kids!) and a Theme table for Marvelous Metals. Each table was staffed with at least 4 volunteers. Extra volunteers who came to our event were used by the Children's Museum to staff the Slime Stations. Emily MacWilliams was my contact and facilitated everything.
The Theme table featured the properties of metals which make up 80 percent of the Periodic Table. Properties such as thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, ferromagnetism, malleability and ductility were featured with objects the kids and parents could touch and feel.
The hands on experiments were as fun as ever and we added candy experiments this year. At noon we fed all the volunteers pizza and drinks. We had 58 volunteers signed up and they were distributed between morning and afternoon shifts.
At 11 am Houston City Councilwoman Karla Cisneros came by to present a proclamation from the Mayor's office declaring National Chemistry Week in Houston. The proclamation was read by Karla Cisneros and received by me and Crystal Young, ACS-GHS Chair-Elect.
Visitors continued to come and enjoy the exhibits until 3 pm when we shut it down. I would estimate in the range of 300-400 kids and adults visited the displays.
Our October seminar speaker was Sebastian Frommhold, a Forensic Analyst with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Mr. Frommhold spoke on the challenges of forensic drug analysis in a rapidly changing chemical and regulatory field, and the importance of understanding the advantages and limitations of your available analytical techniques.
This seminar was educational and entertaining but if you missed it, don't despair - the recording is available now on our YouTube channel!
Dr. Javoris Hollingsworth, Chair of the GHS Minority Affairs Committee, shared this update on a new MAC program:
Today (October 23rd) I really enjoyed speaking to the students at North Houston Early College High School as part of our Chemistry Career Roadshow, which is sponsored by the ACS-GHS Minority Affairs Committee. Through this event, talented students from under-served groups in STEM received the opportunity to learn about various careers they could pursue in chemistry and related fields.
Special thanks to Usha Devathosh, Ed.D. and school administrators for allowing me and our amazing team of professionals to visit and share career insight. Also, thanks to the ACS Senior Chemists Committee for providing us a grant to support this great cause.
We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Greater Houston Local Section Awards:
Joe W. Hightower Award – Kenton Whitmire, Rice University
Two Year College Award – Christopher Wild, San Jacinto College
Younger Chemist Award – Crystal Young, University of St. Thomas
Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching – Jamie Flint, Spring Woods High School
The awards were presented at our Awards Banquet on Saturday, October 19th where we also honored the 2019 High School Scholarship Award winners and their teachers; our 50- and 60-year members; our National and Regional Award winners as well as our volunteers.
The 2019 ACS-GHS Awards Banquet was held at St. John's School on Saturday, October 19th. Approximately 85 people attended the event, which is held annually to celebrate Greater Houston Local Section Award winners, national and regional award winners, the 2019 High School Scholarship Award winners and their teachers, our 50- and 60-year members, and our volunteers. Attendees were greeted by a display of periodic table quilts celebrating the International Year of the Periodic Table with dinner served in the Chao Assembly Hall. Awards presentations followed the dinner and guests were treated to a keynote presentation by Joe W. Hightower Award winner, Kenton Whitmire from Rice University. Congratulations to all the award winners on their achievements and thanks to all in attendance for sharing this special evening!
The Awards Committee is grateful for sponsorships from PAC LP, DCG Partnership, Shell, and Educational Innovations Inc.
The ACS ChemClub is a high school chemistry club that provides students with a unique opportunity to experience chemistry beyond the classroom. Students participate in after-school activities, get involved in community building, learn about chemistry careers, enjoy social events, and better understand how chemistry plays a role in our everyday lives.
The O’Connell College Preparatory School Chemistry Club, with Advisor Nina Corley, has created a ReCycling Program within the school and goes into the community to share the science behind recycling. As part of their science outreach, the O'Connell College students conducted public demonstrations at Galveston’s Own Farmer’s Market (pictured). We're thrilled to have such dedicated and enthusiastic chemistry ambassadors in our area!
A small group of GHS members participated in the 2019 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in support of breast cancer research on Saturday, October 5th. Under GHS Past Chair and team captain Catherine Faler, the team faced a warm autumn morning for the run and raised almost $200 for breast cancer research.
The ACS-GHS Fall Career Fair was held at the University of St. Thomas on the morning of October 5th. We kicked off the morning with a keynote talk by Paige Morse from Aspen Technologies, followed by a panel discussion on Women in Industry with panelists Lisa Houston (PAC LP), Valerie Lafitte (Schlumberger), and Shreya Shah (Syzygy Plasmonics). A second panel on Professional Development featured panelists Martin Van Sickels and Larry Kremer (Global Energy Mentors), J.C. Kuo (Chevron, retired), and Patricia McHenry (Covestro). Panel moderators Nikki Nguyen and Alison Tran kept the audience engaged and asked insightful questions of our panelists, and student attendees were encouraged to network with other participants, panelists, and our participating employers (Syzygy Plasmonics, Covestro, and PAC LP) about career paths and opportunities after the formal program.
Some words of wisdom from our Professional Development panelists:
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