Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Fellow ACS Member -

Thank you for taking time to participate in the ACS election process. I ask for your vote for ACS President 2011 (The International Year of Chemistry).

As your president, I will represent you with high energy, dedication and be the 21st century leader our organization needs to reach its potential and fulfill your ambitions. I am committed to:

- champion education initiatives at all levels

- be a tireless advocate for funding of both fundamental chemistry programs as well as applied initiatives, and ACS leadership in providing technical expertise, education and advice to government officials on key scientific initiatives.

- celebrate 2011, the global celebration of chemistry! This year will be our moment to highlight past achievements in chemistry, to raise awareness of the central role chemistry plays in society, to enhance the image of chemistry around the world, and also to use this excitement to build a new era of long-lasting global partnerships and programs.

During my campaign, I have been focusing on Education, Innovation, Partnership and Leadership: taken together these areas facilitate the creation of positions and ensure our members (and future members) are prepared for those roles! I am very excited about creating a sustainable future with chemistry!

Thank you for your vote! Cheryl
(you can reach me via email:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I have enjoyed hearing from our ACS members based outside the US with some questions / thoughts that I thought I could share with all our members:

a) how many non-US members are there? there are ~20,000 members listed in over 75 countries outside the US (there are ~155,000 members in total)

b) much participation of members outside the US is via the web, what else can we do to be more involved? Well, I'm sure there are a ton of ways that various of our committee/divisions could suggest, but a few suggestions to get going:
1-the meeting presentations from ACS National meetings are starting to be available opon-line to members (150 in DC and many more planned for San Fran): "Free Access to 150 Presentations from the ACS D.C. National Meeting Featuring PowerPoint Synched with Audio ACS is making available for viewing – at no charge to you - 150 of the top oral presentations delivered at the recently-concluded ACS Washington D.C. national meeting. These high-quality presentations feature PowerPoint slides synched with audio. They also permit you to identify, and jump directly to, a particular slide in a presentation. We hope you enjoy this new feature from ACS. We encourage you to complete our One Minute Survey on the site hosting the content. Your feedback will help us refine the content we offer you following future ACS national meetings. To access these presentations, please click here: "
-2-the ACS Network can be a tremendous tool to join networks that exist and become more engaged or even form your own network within your country/subregion and engage fellow members. You can join the network and start to 'play' with it by going to:
-3-the International Year of Chemistry celebration in 2011 provides so many ways for you to participate in (and organize) activities that are going on globally or in your own country. Plans are still forming, so I'd recommend keeping an eye on the following sites: global IYC site: as well as the ACS site: also see if your country's chemical /science societies have their own site with linkages. Over time I think all the sites will be readily linked so you can see activities easily!!
-4- if there is a specific committee / division that you are interested in, I'd suggest contacting the chair of that group and ask them directly how you could be involved - ACS is a big organization and there are lots of things that can be worked on across time zones!! Also, there is an Office of International Activities and an International Activities Committee (Dr Peter Dorhout, chair) who have lots going on (you can find them on and your interests in mind!

c) if I become ACS president, would I continue the practice of using Facebook/LinkedIn connections to members? Yes, absolutely....and I'd continue to use blog format to also reach out and listen. However, I'd look to all of our members to advice me on other ways to listen better and be more connected to what you need!!

d) how long was I based outside of the US? Where do you live now? I was based in Switzerland with responsibility for Rohm and Haas' Coatings Business for Western and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa for 2 1/2 years! I really loved my time working in this role with an amazing team and great customers! I currently live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Feel free to share your thoughts/ideas/questions via email or postings to this blog! I look forward to continuing the dialogue! Cheryl

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2011 - The Int'l Year of Chemistry - thinking really big!

One obvious area for partnership is the 2011 celebration of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC). Activities are already being drafted by many organizations with the opening event planned at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in January 2011 ( A major focus of the year is increasing public awareness and understanding of chemistry’s role in solving world problems, as well as creating enthusiasm about chemistry among young people. 2011 is also the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize and the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies. As ACS president I would passionately support a leading role for the ACS in these events, leveraging our successes with National Chemistry Week and Earth Day engagement by our local sections and divisions – learning from and teaching others!

The ideal outcome of the IYC celebrations, in my view, goes far beyond increased public awareness, enthusiasm about the field of chemistry and pride among current chemists, but extends to a commitment from people in these organizations to undertake ambitious work to really change our world. I would strongly support evaluation of where the ACS could work with other scientific societies, companies, NGO’s and non-profits to develop new programs and even new business models to spread the benefits of scientific innovation. Could we help deliver something remarkably beneficial such as an answer to the potable water problem facing much of the world or help fill gaps in how low cost medicines might be supplied to needy communities? I think we need to be outrageous in our thinking of where we might be able to take some of our partnerships – if not now, when?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What do you need?

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to have speak with many fellow ACS members. Despite the starting topic (research funding, education, sustainability, sports etc) we always end up taking about jobs - what companies / university are hiring, what type and level of skills are in demand, is the job situation the same or different outside the US, how to put together a resume and on and on. Not at all surprising given the economic climate. These conversations have really shaped how my campaign has come together and why I am talking about Education, Innovation, Partnership and Leadership: taken together, these areas distill down to the creation of positions/jobs and ensuring our members (and future members) are prepared for those roles!

Whether we are undertaking fundamental studies, pursing applications development or teaching in a classroom, ultimately we are all working to create opportunities! As a professional membership society, the ACS works to provide its members with the tools they need (from forums for info sharing to career services to funding and policy advocacy etc) to succeed! Let's keep talking about what you need from the ACS to help ensure your future success!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Do you believe?

While walking around the ACS meeting I have had a number of conversations with members about "sustainability". One frequent question is "Do you really believe in sustainability/will it amount to anything?" The answer for me is an absolute 'yes' as I truly believe that embracing sustainability will drive us to completely new, exciting places--challenging us to ask tough questions and reframe significant problems which, in turn, will result in novel solutions!

Why? Well, I like to think about where we are with sustainability today in relation to where we were in 1961 when President Kennedy said "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth." There were a lot of doubters: the task seemed impossible, the money needing to be spent was huge and many asked 'what would it really give us?'. Sound familiar? But we did attain the goal---and more importantly, we went beyond! The inventions that were spawned in so many areas of science and engineering were then leveraged, not just to the moon, but to new products for our families and generated whole new businesses! The investment of the money and the commitment and passion to solve the myriad problems generated in this quest paid off in ways no one envisioned at that time.

We can look at sustainability as shooting for the stars! Sustainability is an umbrella concept covering so many things that it can be hard to get your arms around it. However, we can use sustainability as a way of driving our thinking about specific problems to frame the new questions and the challenges they present. Then we will see the passion of our scientists racing to find answers to these challenges and ultimately generate solutions that spawn new companies, new jobs! See you in the future!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Awesome Day 1: Outreach Event!!!

Today's outreach event was situated at the Boys and Girls Club in the southeast area of DC. As usual, the event was very well organized with wonderful volunteer turnout---Stacy and the entire team did a tremendous job and should feel really proud of the event!!

The kids (and their parents) were enthralled by a variety of age appropriate experiments ranging from the old standby of 'flubber' to 'new sense about cents' to 'density batons' to 'the nose knows' and so many others! The volunteers also had fun seeing (and trying) the new experiments being presented and sharing ideas on how to improvise variations of each one (you can never stop chemists from experimenting)!!

I had some great conversations with the kids....from one young man of about 10 years old who told me he liked science 'better than video games' to a young woman who said 'I really like science and math as you can use what you learn to solve problems"! I truly don't know who gets more out of all of this....the volunteers or the students! I also had the chance to meet lots of great members today....from long time DC area volunteers, Ann and Francis Leslie (Ann was also a councilor for 20 years) the students from Ball State who drove here in the university-donated E85 van (and had to locate the only E85 station in West Virginia) all of the volunteers from the Puerto Rico section...Ruth Woodall and team....and so many others!!

I included a few photos of the day to help capture some of the energy and fun we had working with these future scientists!!! Here's to everyone there today 'paying it forward' in our communities! You are all awesome! Thank You!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Sustainability of Innovation is a goal for many - scientists, capitalists and politicians alike - as it is the fuel that drives the engine of progress, providing improvements in people’s lives and creating jobs. It is certainly something that is in high demand and not easy to do well! If we look at successful innovation as the combination of inventions and needs, then there are three major ingredients necessary for innovation to occur: great ideas/inventions, knowledgeable people to evaluate and build on the ideas, and funding to do the work to deliver them! As ACS president I would actively support a role for the ACS in all three of these areas:

Idea generation: the ACS, as the largest scientific society in the world, must continue to provide forums to bring together people with a broad range of fields and backgrounds to discuss and debate inventions and needs - especially in ‘green spaces’ where market demands such as potable water and energy continue to cry out for solutions! As ACS president, I would strongly support diverse forums for discussion and collaboration – via formal conferences and meetings, as well as more informal round-table discussions, in person and on-line.

Education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is absolutely critical, as everyone from our scientists to those in commercial/government roles and the general public need to have appropriate backgrounds to understand the various interfaces of inventions. My further thoughts on education are under the Education tab of this blog (J. Chem. Ed. article).

The best ideas in the world will go nowhere without funding. As ACS president I would advocate for continued work with legislators, providing position papers and experts to ensure funding is focused and supported. I strongly believe a balance of fundamental as well as applied chemistry/science research is essential – the inventions of tomorrow need basic understanding today!

Partnerships will play a huge role in moving innovation forward – both from an idea generation as well as funding viewpoint - more on that in the Partnership tab / tags of this blog.