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!
Bonus Archive Content:
The question that stumped us all...
We’re still experimenting with online events for our members, and on July 15th we ran a small social networking event via Google Meet. Seven people participated (host not shown), and the conversation ranged from bioluminescent squid, experiences being a volunteer docent at the Museum of Natural Science, and shifting careers from accounting to chemistry, to good online courses for statistics as applied to chemical problems. It was wonderful to meet everyone who participated!
Sound interesting? Keep an eye on our event calendar or subscribe to our e-newsletter to get the scoop on our next virtual networking event.
The squid discussed: Hawaiian Bobtail Squid (and Vibrio fischeri)
The free statistics course discussed: Statistical Thinking for Industrial Problem Solving (SAS/JMP)
I am an ionizing solvent, used as an RNA stabilizer in gel electrophoresis, and in tissue preservation. What compound am I?
Answer: It's formamide!
The ACS Greater Houston local section held our first virtual networking event via Zoom on Wednesday, June 24th and it was a hit! The evening kicked off with introductions and an invitation for everyone to share their favorite element – carbon and oxygen definitely had the most fans in the group. After a few brief remarks from the event host, GHS Past Chair Snigdha Chennamaneni, attendees were split between two breakout rooms to discuss a range of suggested topics including the current pandemic and personal development. It was great to meet and chat with everyone who attended and we’re looking forward to our next virtual meet-up!
Guess the Molecule - May
I am a solvent in beverages, a feedstock for producing other chemicals, and—more recently—as a transportation fuel. What compound am I?
Answer: It's ethanol!
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