Congratulations to the Greater Houston Section Award winners for 2020, and thank you for your hard work and continuing service to the ACS and our local chemistry community!
L to R: Sunny Tang, Mamie W. Moy Service Award; Roxie Allen, Joe W. Hightower Award; Laimutis Bytautas, Two Year College Award; Adrian Villalta-Cerdas, Younger Chemist Award; and Jennifer Notz, Excellence in High School Teaching Award
Our virtual networking event on Sept 16th was a great success with a mix of new and familiar faces, and we had an informative discussion about career and professional development opportunities available online through ACS and other organizations. Thanks to everyone for contributing to the discussion and we look forward to seeing you again soon!
Bonus Archive Content:
ACS members have access to personal career consulting services, including general career advice, resume reviews, and mock interviews, as well as weekly online office hours on Thursdays from 11 am – 12 pm CT (register at the link above).
The ACS Leadership Development System has several free e-learning courses focusing on core leadership skills, with additional instructor facilitated courses to help build leadership competencies.
LinkedIn Learning was discussed as a training resource for those who have access, especially for business leadership and introductory programming and data science courses. ACS members should have received an email with an offer for free LinkedIn Learning access until the end of 2020 as a member benefit. The sign-up deadline is the end of September, so act soon if you want to take advantage of this offer.
Cheeky Scientist also offers training and focused resource groups for scientists with advanced degrees looking to grow their career. The advice from one of our participants was to follow their Facebook page to see what they offer before diving in.
Catherine Faler: Chemist and (Mask) Model
What happens when you mix a socially isolated chemist/seamstress, a public health emergency, and an impressive fabric stash? ACS-GHS member Catherine Faler reacted by spending her non-lab time sewing fabric face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To promote public safety and encourage proper PPE use in the chemistry community, Catherine offered a series of chemistry-themed face masks that were sold through the ACS-GHS with the proceeds going towards future ACS-GHS chemistry activities and outreach programs. Between May and August 2020, 95 masks were sold and sent out to safety-minded purchasers in Houston and around the US! The ACS-GHS thanks Catherine for her commitment to safety and continued contributions to the Greater Houston local section.
Some of the chemistry is a bit dodgy, but who will be close enough to read it?
Variations on an elemental theme
The fluffiest mask model!
I first fought malaria; now I help lupus patients. What compound am I?
Answer: It's hydroxychloroquine!
Due to COVID-19, many universities and research facilities were forced to close during mid-Spring semester and throughout the summer. Out of a pool of 667 student applications that were submitted, 300 high school students were selected to participate in the first Project Seed Virtual Summer Camp. 55% of the Project Seed interns will graduate in 2021. All the students have plans to pursue a college education. 199 Females, 90 males and one non-binary individual were selected for the 4-week summer Project Seed program. 20.32% of the interns were Hispanic; 16.20% were Black or African American; and 15.24% were White. With 25 interns, Texas ranked fourth while New Jersey was in first place with 48 Project Seed interns. 132 Leadership applications were submitted with 62 extraordinary Leaders being accepted. 23% of the Leaders selected were Project Seed Alums; 13% Project Seed Mentors and 35% were ACS scholars.
Each camp managed the activities for 9 -12 Project Seed high school students from July 6th through July 31st. Camp Nu was managed by Greater Houston Local Section’s Carolyn Burnley, 2019 E. Anne Nalley Regional Award for Volunteer Service and Dr. Javoris Hollingsworth, 2019 Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences. Camp Nu included two cabins: Cabin Cobalt and Iron which was directed by two leaders. The Cabin Cobalt Leaders were Corrine Cassel, Chemical Engineering Senior at University of Texas at Austin and Zainab Abolade Lawson, a freshmen biochemistry Texas A&M student and former Project Seed student and current Project Seed Scholar. The Cabin Iron Leaders were Cameron Goff, a second year medical student at the Baylor College of Medicine and a University of Texas at Austin Biochemistry graduate and Gerardo Carreon, a Texas A&M University Chemical Engineering senior student. The Project SEED Virtual Summer Camp was an overwhelmingly successful project which included four-weeks of intense programming that sought to strengthen students professionally while preparing them for in-person 2021 research as part of Project SEED or other research opportunities. Students attended webinars to assist them with their college and career decisions. They even participated in a virtual lab safety course and participated in a virtual conference.
During the month of July, 584 meetings were held, 666,700 minutes were captured within Zoom with 229 GB of recorded sessions. Nine different countries were represented within the programs. This time was spent attending webinars, virtual panels, online discussions, completing independent assignments, and networking with fellow campers/interns. Some of the most popular sessions were, Metacognition: The Key to Acing Chemistry & Everything Else - Sandra Mc Guire; Vibranium, Black Panther and the Periodic Table by Sabrina Collins ; Third Culture Chemist by Andres Martinez; Demystifying Financial Aid by Iona Nee and Lisa Perry; Time Management Skills and Key to Finding Competitive Advantage – Michael Ellison.
The following goals of the Project SEED Virtual Summer Camp were met:
Prepare students with basic lab safety skills
Expose students to sub-disciplines of chemistry, chemistry careers, and interesting chemistry research
Develop students professionally by improving professional etiquette and writing abilities
Introduce the students to importance of ethics
Develop professional communication techniques and improve personal statements and resume writing abilities
Examine career paths using career panels and ACS Career Resources
The 2020 Project Seed Virtual Camp students are:
We also wish to extend appreciation for all of the continued support from Local Mentors and their participation in the 2020 Project Seed program.
The Greater Houston Section was proud to host an ACS Career Workshop on Saturday, August 29th, Skydiving Into Retirement: Enjoy the Ride and Land Softly, for those contemplating retirement or newly retired (± 2 years).
The virtual workshop was led by Bill Carroll and we had 7 attendees. The course was extremely popular with both Houston and Brazosport local section members and resulted in a waitlist almost double the size of the course capacity! We could not accommodate everyone in the originally scheduled class so the facilitator has graciously agreed to run another workshop session in late September.
An Agile and Iterative Approach to R&D with Brian “Ponch” Rivera
On August 13, the ACS-GHS hosted Brian “Ponch” Rivera from Hyperdrive for a Virtual Tech Talk focused on agile iterative approaches to R&D. Brian is an author, TEDx speaker, organizational performance coach, and co-creator of The Flow System. In this talk, Brian highlights the importance of team work in driving successful projects, and how critical clear communication is to make sure every member of your team is working towards the same goal.
The Flow Guide
I have an earthy odor, can attract mosquitoes, and beet peels are rich in me. What compound am I?
Answer: It's geosmin!
Congratulations to Greater Houston Section members Carolyn Burnley and Kerry Spilker for being named 2020 ACS Fellows for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and the Society!
Carolyn McDonald Burnley (Shell Oil, Retired)
Carolyn led a distinguished career in the surfactant industry, and demonstrated a longstanding commitment to mentoring chemical technicians and future chemists, especially women and individuals from underrepresented populations. In addition to significant service to the ACS Greater Houston Section, she is also recognized for her outstanding service to Project SEED as a committee member and, notably, an influential coordinator for the Greater Houston Project SEED site.
Kerry K. Spilker (Chevron Energy Technology Company)
Kerry has served in R&D management and technical positions, and is being recognized for innovative contributions to energy conversion technologies resulting in inventions and the development of biofuels, distributed hydrogen and chemical enhanced oil recovery. She has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the ACS, leading the GHS as Chair, Councilor, Treasurer, and Community Affairs Chair excelling at communications, fiscal responsibility and outreach through chemistry demonstrations and student mentoring
Thanks to everyone who came out to our first virtual trivia night hosted via Zoom. Our Quizmaster for the evening was Dr. Aaron Sanders who treated us to a Flying Saucer Pub-style trivia night with themed question rounds and escalating difficulty. The final question involved matching 10 Chemistry Nobel Prize winners with the years of their awards, and stumped most of the participants…but at least the names were familiar. More to brush up on for next time!
The question that stumped us all...
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