Here's the latest...
The year 2020 was an exceptional one for so many reasons. Planning and running events to offer members some sense of continuity in local section activities was a challenge to say the least. The ACS ChemLuminary Awards Committee has recognized our section as finalists for two events which ‘bridged the COVID-19 gap’ in bringing chemistry content to members and the community during pandemic. See the Summer 2021 edition of the Octagon Newsletter for more details. The date and format of the ChemLuminary Awards Ceremony has not yet been set but be sure to root for us to win ChemLuminary Au once again this year!
Lehigh Valley Section is incredibly pleased to be able to congratulate Dr. Marsha Baar of Muhlenberg College as the 2021 E. Emmet Reid Small College Teaching Award winner for the Mid-Atlantic Region! Already honored with this year's LVACS Small College teaching award, this regional ACS award places Marsha in the company of an elite group of undergraduate educators. The award was presented at the virtual #MARM2021 on Thursday evening, June 10th.
Our May 18th Section Meeting took a virtual approach to our traditional May Social with a fun and informative look at the Chemistry of Cheese and cheesemaking provided expertly by Jeanne Berk of Cedar Crest College. As we separately nibbled on a selection of cheeses (and accompaniments in some cases!), Jeanne explained how those products are made from milk (cow, sheep, goat, whatever...) and why they have the unique combination of textures and flavors which they do. The video recording may be found on our YouTube channel. Also, don't miss the May 2021 edition of the Octagon Newsletter! Stay tuned for announcements of future events as we finally put COVID-19 behind us!
On Monday, May 3rd we were informed that our pilot virtual SEED Project has been approved by ACS! Congratulations to mentor Lorena Tribe, PSU/Berks for an awesome proposal and to Jeremy Heyman, LVACS SEED Coordinator, for guiding the application. The program will support two SEED students over this coming summer. Other students have applied for the virtual camp program: more to come. See our Diversity page for more on Project SEED.
In this second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, LVACS presented a CCEW virtual panel discussion on Tuesday, April 20th focusing on how our members are “reducing their footprint through chemistry” by making individual choices that contribute to a more sustainable world. We heard stories about building your own EV, creating a sustainable college campus, encouraging recycling at home/work and being wise about food choices, among other things. See the video recording.
Our April 15th Section Meeting featured 10 Virtual Undergraduate Research Presentations by students from across the Lehigh Valley area. Take a look at their topics in the Abstract Book and catch up on the details of the talks on the LVACS YouTube Channel recording. We also congratulated top graduating seniors, many of whom are continuing their chemistry careers in graduate schools. Many thanks to the students, their advisors and our Chair-elect, Lindsey Welch of Cedar Crest College, for making this happen in another pandemic year! Also, don't miss the April 2021 edition of the Octagon Newsletter.
The LVACS After School Chemistry Partnership Program continues to bring chemistry demonstrations and career insights each Wednesday from 4-5 pm to middle and high school students throughout the area via Zoom. Visit the Diversity and ASCPP News pages to find out more about this ACS-sponsored program and how to register your students!
On March 25th, ACS Webinars presented “The Resilience of Women in Chemistry,” a panel discussion moderated by our LVACS Treasurer, Lorena Tribe of PSU/Berks.The pandemic affected professional lives in many ways and forced us to confront challenges and modify ouractivities. As the effects of the pandemic abate, we are beginning to realize that understanding resilience is at the heart of moving forward. Patricia Silveyra of Indiana University Bloomington, Sara Mason of University of Iowa, and Allison Aldridge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reflected on lessons learned and the paths to success during difficult times.
On March 18th, Cedar Crest College’s CCC Signs ASL Club joined us for our March Webinar and Virtual Section Meeting and gave us an overview of American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet, numbers and general words related to STEM. "Signing for STEM" was a great "eye/hand opener" and LVACS thanks CCC Signs members Leannan Feldman, Julie, Asher Atwood, Kayla Whitehead and Danielle Finocchiaro and event host Jeanne Berk for enhancing our diverse abilities! Enjoy reading our March 2021 Octagon!
On International Women’s Day, March 8th, LVACS' Greglynn Gibbs joined a panel of dynamic chemists presenting their stories – past, present, and future. With a special focus on students in grades 4 – 8, they explored what sparked their interest in chemistry, their education and career journeys, and the work they do today. See the video.
Greglynn Gibbs, 2021 LVACS Outreach Volunteer Of The Year
Greglynn successfully hosted and facilitated online and outdoor (socially distanced) outreach events celebrating National Chemistry Week, including Undergraduate Resume Workshops and community-wide Halloween Chemistry and Online Slime workshops through partnerships with the Penn State Alumni Association, Spring Township Parks and Recreation, and the Reading Science Center. In addition to her service as Membership Chair of the Lehigh Valley Local Section, she serves as Student Chapter Advisor at Penn State Berks, an ACS Career Consultant, a member of the Reading Science Center Programming Committee, and is on the Committee on Community Activities. Congratulations, Greglynn, on a terrific year!
Our very own Berks Chemical Society (otherwise known as the PSU/Berks Student Chapter) has piloted a new program on Berks Community Television (BCTV). It's called "Chemistry Fun" and the pilot featured different ways, and different things to use, to make a home made battery with special guest, battery expert Robert Coller from Enersys, Reading, PA. https://youtu.be/CiChpnzWsZY. Watch for future episodes on BCTV and join the fun! See our Community Outreach page.
The February Virtual Section Meeting and Webinar brought out 31 participants to listen to Dave Lewis of UW/Eau Claire tell us about "A hatred that still haunts undergraduate organic chemistry 150 years later." - the Markovnikov-Zaitsev feud (no, not Hatfields and McCoys; more like Boris Badenov and Rocket J Squirrel!). Missed it? Watch it on our LVACS YouTube channel. Also, the February 2021 Octagon Newsletter has been posted on this site.
The LVACS After School Chemistry Partnership Program launched February 3rd and continues each Wednesday from 4-5 pm. Visit the Diversity page to find out more about this ACS-sponsored program and how to register!
Our January Virtual Section Meeting and Webinar featured a 'scintillating' review of Radiochemistry history, terminology and applications provided by ACS Emeritus Member Robert Artz. If you missed it, watch it on our LVACS YouTube channel. Also, the January 2021 Octagon Newsletter is out.
LVACS announces our newly-elected 2021 Officers and Councilors: Chair-Elect, Lindsey Welch; Secretary, Nigel Sanders; Treasurer, Lorena Tribe; Councilor, Kelley Caflin; Alternate Councilor, Mike Bertucci. They will join Chair, Roger Egolf; Past Chair, George Ruger, Councilor, Jeanne Berk and Alternate Councilor, Celia Williams to form the 2021 Executive Committee of the section.
The November 2020 issue of the Octagon Newsletter is now available! Read about this fall's section activities including NCW events, our special LVACS Colleges and Universities video presentation, ChemLuminary Award, annual officer/councilor elections, plans for a virtual Spring 2021 and, not least, take a second ride on our LVACS WAYBAC machine (highlighting another prominent chemist in LVACS history and penned by our 2021 Chair, Dr. Roger Egolf of PSU/LV).
The November 2020 virtual section meeting was our first foray into the world of Facebook Live! 31 attendees listened to a premier performance of our brand new section history video: "Our Pioneers in Chemistry Teaching: How College Chemistry Education Came to the LVACS" with contributions from nine of our local colleges and universities, coordinated and introduced by Prof. (emeritus) Ned Heindel of Lehigh University. Members had the opportunity to win a special prize for satisfying their curiosity about the formative exploits of our chemical forbears. The first place submission won an authentic 1876-1976 ACS Centennial plate courtesy of Dr. Heindel.
NEWSFLASH! LVACS has won another ACS ChemLuminary Award! These annual awards recognize special achievements by the local sections, divisions, international chapters and regional meetings. Once again, Lehigh Valley Section has received such an honor with ACS recognizing us for “Most Creative & Innovative Use of the CCEW Theme” in its 22nd Awards Event December 9th 2020. As you may recall, 2019 Chemists Celebrate Earth Week had the theme: ‘Take Note: The Chemistry of Paper’ which LVACS interpreted for the local community via a multi-media event at Da Vinci Science Center, co-sponsored by Minerals Technologies Inc., a worldwide supplier to the paper manufacturing industry. The Octagon reported on the event in its January 2020 issue (www.lvacs.org/Octagon-Newsletters). We illustrated the chemistry of paper through hands-on papermaking, exhibits of the wide variety of paper grades and testing equipment used to qualify them, video feeds of the papermaking process and presentations on the history of paper - a material that has changed human communication over two thousand years! Thanks to Sherman Cox of Minerals Technologies Inc., Lindsey Welch, our CCEW Coordinator and Nigel Sanders for running this award-winning event!
It was a beautiful, if chilly, day outside of Da Vinci Science Center on Saturday, October 17th as we kicked off National Chemistry Week 2020 with a few sticky reminders about the chemistry of adhesion! Jeanne Berk and Nigel Sanders demonstrated tack and adhesive strength of several common types of tape while a somewhat familiar punny bovine advocated "Use Mor Casein" (for glue) instead of synthetic variants. Berks Chapter sponsored a resume workshop, Halloween Chemistry for kids and Slime Time Online [in cooperation with the Reading Science Center, the Cape Cod Science Cafe and STEM Journey] ...so what did U do for NCW this year? Let us know!
25 members tuned in for our Thursday, October 15th meeting with speaker Lorena Tribe of Penn State/Berks, providing some answers to: “Where will all of the CO2 go?”. Employing computer modeling techniques, Lorena discussed simulations of the thermodynamic of interactions between CO2 and the clay minerals kaolinite and montmorillonite. So where did the CO2 prefer to go? Read all about it in the upcoming November issue of the Octagon Newsletter.
It's Fall already, the leaves are turning and LVACS has just issued a newsy October edition of the Octagon including upcoming section events, plans for celebrating NCW and our newest feature which highlights prominent chemists in LVACS history, penned by Dr. Roger Egolf of PSU/LV.
Our first meeting of the 2020-2021 year at the Da Vinci Science Center September 17th was a socially-distanced success! 35 members gathered for a tour of the BRICKLive-Ocean outdoor exhibit, brief talks by Da Vinci staff about our community outreach partnership, presentation to LVACS of Da Vinci's Grand Maestro Award and future expansion plans for the Center, followed by our LVACS awards presentation, delayed from the spring. Congratulations once again to our awardees for HS Teacher-of-the-year, Corinne Long; Foundations in Chemistry Scholar Abigail Stocker and our Chemagination winners from Muhlenberg HS with their teacher/coach Audrey Smeltzer Schwab !! A full report on the event will be published in the October Octagon Newsletter in a couple of weeks so be looking out for that. Thanks to Lin Erickson, Judy Belaires and Tyler Groft of Da Vinci for hosting us and to John Freeman for organizing the awards ceremony!
We launched our first email campaign with MailChimp on September 2nd and with it the September 2020 issue of the Octagon Newsletter.
On August 12th LVACS was awarded full funding of $1400 for its proposal "High Quality Presentations for Lehigh Valley Members" submitted to the ACS Members Engaging Through Technology (METT) grant program in June. Thanks to George Ruger (Section chair), Greglynn Gibbs (Membership chair) and Caroline Multari (Safety chair) for putting together the winning proposal!
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had a chilling effect on our normal in-person activity style but we are continuing to plan a 2020-2021 schedule of events, whether in-person or virtual (see the Meetings and Events page). We hope this new website and regular MailChimp emails will help increase member awareness as we flex to accommodate the restrictions which SARS-CoV-2 has thrown at us.
The Lehigh Valley ACS Section launched this website, https://www.lvacs.org, hosted by MailChimp, on August 1, 2020. The site, replacing one hosted by ACS.org and discontinued in May of 2019, will be used to further inform members of the section's activities and invite the local community to find out more about chemistry and how it impacts their daily lives.
Beginning in August, 2020, the Lehigh Valley Section will begin using MailChimp as its email campaign provider. Mailings to members will include monthly posts about the latest issue of The Octagon Newsletter, the section's journal of record, and more frequent e-newsletters and alerts about upcoming events and social media posts of interest.