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From your section chair - Andrew Draxler

What Should the Monmouth County ACS be for its Members?

The Monmouth County Section of ACS has about 380 members. This is middle sized - considered a "Medium-Small Section" by the 150,000-member National ACS. Geographically, it is sandwiched between the "Large" North Jersey Section with almost 7500 of the 10,000 ACS members in New Jersey, the Ocean County Section with 183 members to the south, and the 800+ strong Princeton and Trenton Sections to the west. Annually, the Monmouth County Section sponsors a variety of activities including two dinner speakers (usually one local and one national known), The Field Lecture, Family Day, mc2=e for high school chemistry teachers, ACS State Capital Day, and programs for students including Chemistry Week demonstrations, Career Day, and The Chemistry Olympiad. But with 375 members, is it to be expected that only 35 to 50 attend an event? (For the moment I exclude the Dinner Meeting last year which sold out at 85: the topic was beer and brewing.) Our percentage attendance is in the range of 11-20% which is, again, firmly in the middle of local section responses. And while it is true that some local sections get 6-10% or even fewer, others exceed 31%. Should our turnout be greater?

Perhaps some of us don't want to think about chemistry after doing so all day. But there's chemistry and then there's chemistry. And chemistry can be fascinating for interested and interesting people as the audience at the lecture on brewing demonstrated. That speaker was excellent -- but I do not believe more so than the woman who spoke on the chemistry of art (how they detect fakes), or the talk on the environmental chemistry of birds (see the last newsletter or the MCS ACS website) to name two recent topics.

Section activities are conceived and run by a relatively small number of members, most of whom serve on the Executive Council. But what of the rest of the members? The organization exists for its section members. The officers and Executive Council work to meet the needs of Monmouth County chemists, but section activities could be enhanced to meet your specific needs if you contribute. I invite you to let the Council know what you think -- about any facet of the Monmouth County Section. For example, The national Local Sections Office encourges surveys to determine member needs and wishes, and some sections conduct them. Indeed, we have done in the past and are considering doing it again. Should we? Are ther other kinds of talks or meetings that should be sponsored? We seek your feedback. You can reach me at Marine Chemistry, NOAA, NMFS Howard Lab., Highlands NJ 07732, 732-872-3054, draxler@exit109.com, or andrew.draxler@noaa.gov. Better yet, I invite you to contribute in person. Executive Council Meetings are where decisions are made. They are (currently) held on the third Wednesday of the month (except December) at 7:30 PM in the Science Conference Room at Brookdale Community College. You are welcome.

 

 

Events

Date 

 Event

 Location

 Contact

March 25, '98 Chemistry Olympiad Brookdale Community College Review
April 30, '98 Career Day Brookdale Community College Shahin Pirzad
732-224-2904
May 16. '98 Family Day Cruise of NY Harbor Pier 1, Atlantic Highlands, NJ Andy Draxler
732-872-3054
June 11, '98 ACS State Capital Day
Details
State Capitol in Trenton, NJ Beth Wise
732-224-2805
Oct 16, '98
7:00 P.M. Dinner
8:00 P.M. Speaker
Dr. Helen Free, Bayer Corp. Past ACS President
"Chemistry -- Contributions to the Quality of Life"
Speaker Background
Maxwell's (Colts Neck Inn)
Hwy 34 and Co. Hwy 537 in Colts Neck 732-462-0383
Edward Zakowski 732-292-2300 x22
November National Chemistry Week [Details to follow] Barbara Buckley
732-528-8837

Last update Dec 11,1998


 

ACS State Government Relations Planning Group by Andy Draxler

On Friday, March 20, representatives from all of New Jersey s local sections met at Union Camp Technology Center in Princeton, NJ for an ACS State Government Relations Planning Group meeting. The agenda was to investigate the possibility of a state-wide coalition of local sections to effect and contribute to public policy in New Jersey. The representatives agreed that ACS should work with the State legislature in those areas of expertise and interest to chemists and chemistry. The New Jersey legislature is currently considering legislation on education funding, K-12 science education, and many environmental issues that effect us.

As a first step toward establishing a state government relations program for New Jersey local sections. A New Jersey State Capitol Day will take place on Thursday, June 11. ACS members from every New Jersey section are invited and encouraged to convene that day at the State Capitol in Trenton to meet with their state legislators. The purpose of these meetings is to establish or reestablish relationships with our own local representatives and introduce the resources and expertise of the New Jersey local sections and members. That expertise might include comment on the quality of K-12 science education, levels of state funding for higher education, restrictions imposed by the Clean Air or Clean Water Acts, or to pose the question "what are hazardous chemicals and in what quantities they are hazardous.

The ability of ACS, its local sections, and members to ensure that state laws and regulations are based on sound science and supportive of chemists and chemistry is central to the need and opportunity of a state-wide government relations program. Our goal is to have at least one member from each district in Monmouth County. Plan to join us in Trenton on Thursday, June 11. For more information or to register for the State Capitol Day, contact Dr. Beth Wise, Government Relations Coordinator, 732-224-2805 or ewise@brookdale.cc.nj.us. There is a $10.00 registration fee to cover the cost of materials.

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Dr. Helen M. Free

When she assumed the presidency of the ACS in 1993, Dr. Free pledged to initiate and support activities that would "improve the public's awareness of chemistry's contribution to the quality of daily life." This pledge grew out of her long-standing commitment to public outreach by chemists and chemical engineers. Dr. Free was instrumental in the founding of the ACS Volunteers in Public Outreach, now a national corps of more than 15,000 scientists-volunteers. She participated in the establishment of "Kids & Chemistry", a program in which scientists do hands-on activities with elementary school children.

As chairman of the National Chemistry Week Task Force (1987-1992), she shepherded ACS' most successful public outreach effort through its formative years. She originated and now heads the movement toward a worldwide "International Chemistry Celebration." Dr. Free has visited more than 102 of ACS' 187 local sections to deliver talks on how crucial it is to communicate science to laymen, and she has personally done more than 75 media interviews on the importance of chemistry to modern society. These contributions are milestones in a fifty-year career as a clinical chemist that is studded with honors & awards for professional excellence and service to her profession.

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Chemistry Olympiad

On March 25th the Section held it's yearly Chemistry Olympiad for high school chemistry students, this time for the third year in a row at Brookdale Community College. The Olympiad consisted of two parts, a written exam followed by a lab component. Students participating in the first of a two-part competition took a ninety-minute exam. The top scorers moved onto a laboratory examination final.

The total number of students in attendance were seventy-four; the total number of high schools represented were fourteen. Dinner, followed by a lecture entitled "The Magical Chemistry Tour" by Victor Brandalese of Monmouth University, were enjoyed by Olympiad coordinators and high school faculty advisors.

The top five scorers, in order of ranking, were: Shangdin Chen from the Ranney High School; Richard Hu followed by Jain Agar, both from Holmdel High School, Stephanie Wang of Middletown South, and Issac Dates from High Tech High School.

Student's results will be forwarded to the National ACS office, and the top two scorers will go to the National competition this summer, and then possibly to the international trials. Dr. Shahin Pirzad, Chemistry Department Chair and Monmouth County ACS Section Immediate Past-Chair, arranged and coordinated the event.

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