Celebrating ACS Scholars

The American Chemical Society Scholars Program celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2010. The program awards renewable scholarships of up to $5,000 per year to underrepresented minority students who want to enter chemistry or chemical engineering or related fields such as environmental science, toxicology, and chemical technology. As part of the 15th anniversary celebration, C&EN is launching in this issue a series of profiles of current and former ACS Scholars. The profiles will run in the last issue of each month. The first profile is of Steven W. Meier, who is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, an American Indian tribe with its headquarters in Shawnee, Okla. (see page 41). Meier was an ACS Scholar at Rice University. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rice, went on to receive his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, and is now at ExxonMobil R&D in Annandale, N.J. Through the year, C&EN will tell 12 of these inspirational stories. There are many, many more. The ACS Scholars Program, which won the 2001 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring and the 1997 American Society of Association Executives Award of Excellence, has aided more than 1,900 students since its inception. African Americans comprise 55% of the recipient pool, Hispanic/Latino students represent 39%, and Native American students represent 6%. To date, more than 900 students receiving scholarships have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a chemical science, and 48% have entered the chemical science workforce. Thirty-six percent of the students majored in chemistry; 36%, chemical engineering; 13%, biochemistry; and 10%, a chemistry-related discipline. More than 60 ACS Scholars have gone on to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related discipline. Eligibility requirements for ACS Scholars and other information on the program can be found at www.acs.org under "Funding & Awards." Madeleine Jacobs, ACS executive director and chief executive officer, says of the program: “The ACS Scholars Program has had enormous impact in only 15 years in literally changing the face of the chemistry enterprise. Since the program’s inception, $12.2 million in scholarships have been awarded, plus ACS has provided all the administrative support. When I look at the success stories of our hundreds of ACS Scholars and the Ph.D.s the program has produced, I know that this success would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the ACS Board of Directors, which committed significant funding and moral support to launching and sustaining the program, as well as the generous contributions of companies, foundations, ACS members, and other individuals. This is a program of which we can all be very proud.” Mentoring is key to the success of the scholars program. ACS seeks mentors from college and university faculty, industry, members, and volunteers associated with minority advocacy organizations. Also key to the success of the program has been the support it has received from companies and foundations. The program does not have an endowment but rather relies on funding from ACS and contributions to continue its operation. Some of the companies and foundations that have been particularly generous include Founding Partner PPG Industries Foundation, which has contributed more than $1 million; Sustaining Partners Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, and Procter & Gamble, each of which has donated $200,000 or more; and National Partners 3M Foundation, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Bayer, Dow Corning Foundation, DuPont Central Research & Development, Schering-Plough, and Xerox, each of which has contributed $100,000 or more. Individuals and ACS local sections have also contributed time and money to the scholars program. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact Kathy Fleming in the ACS Development Office at (800) 227-5558 ext. 6210 or k_fleming@acs.orgk_fleming@acs.org. Thanks for reading.

Author: Rudy Baum

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1 Comment

  1. So sad we’re still stuck on race. It’s unfortunate we’re still seeing people as they appear on the outside. But IF we must insist on continuing this behavior, let me say something. Some minorities, especially blacks and hispanics, are underrepresented in the chemical sciences. But the reason, I think, is because they tend to live in areas with poor elementary-high school education systems. They just aren’t prepared to go into a field like chemistry in college.

    Does anyone still believe there is discrimination against these groups in college admissions? Then why are we trying to fix the problem here, instead of at the lower levels? In fact, to attempt to “fix” it here is unjust, because it discriminates against whites and asians whose efforts to get to college could have been greater, whose background even more difficult, than those minority students these scholarships target. These students are, in other words, denied money just because of their race – and how does that make you feel?