View from the Program Chair, Irv Levy, Spring 2016

This February in Boston has had its share of odd weather as temperatures seesaw between record lows and record highs. Each time, like now, that it becomes strangely warm it comes as a full body reminder that we’ll be gathering together in lovely San Diego very soon for the 251st ACS national meeting. The number of papers and concurrent sessions in San Diego is off the charts compared to recent meetings – there is plenty to whet the appetite for any chemical educator.

Our meeting will be held in the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. While we prefer a spot in the convention center itself, this outstanding hotel is on the perimeter of the convention center property and promises us a mere nine-minute walk to the convention center.

Your meeting co-chairs, Iona Black and Denyce Wicht, have been working since last summer to assemble all of the details for this meeting. Veteran programmer Sally Mitchell worked with recent Conant Award recipient Jenelle Ball to prepare our High School program. I hope that you’ll be able to join us in San Diego and, please, take the time to personally thank Iona, Denyce, Sally, and Jenelle for their work on your behalf.

There are a number of people behind the scenes who provide direct and indirect support for our programming at a national meeting. Many thanks to the ACS staff who are the ones who help us bring it all together. Special thanks are due to our ACS staff who assist us with the MAPS system, especially Robin Green. Appreciative words also are due to our meeting planners, Beverly Johnson and Vernar Beatty, and the Undergraduate Programs Office staff, led by Nicole DiFabio and ably staffed by folks like Jessica Roberts. If you are an undergraduate or the advisor of a presenting undergraduate, then you were very well served by the many hours Jessica Roberts put into this program. As always Heather Johnson attends to a host of details that make the job of organizing a meeting so much more convenient. Many thanks are due to all the folks in the Division and ACS who work with our committee to produce a quality meeting.

Very exciting news from the Program Committee to share – the Program Chair elect position has been filled by our friend Tyson Miller. After the fall 2016 meeting in Philadelphia, my twelfth consecutive meeting as Program Chair, it will be time for me to step down from the position. We had several members step forward to volunteer their service as our next Program Chair. Those folks each brought a lot of experience and great qualities that would serve the division well. For that reason it was a genuinely difficult decision to decide which way to go.  After a lot of discussion the Division Chair succession selected Tyson as our next Program Chair.

Tyson is Associate Professor of Chemistry at Heritage University in Toppenish, WA. He is a long time member of the division who has been involved in lots of ways. He has served as an ACS Councilor (Connecticut Valley Section), as a host for the Chemistry Olympiad, and an ACS Student Chapter advisor, an advisor to a GSSPC group, co-chair for NERM, planning committee for three BCCE's, and has twice served as the National Meeting co-chair (Washington, DC 2009 and Indianapolis 2013).

Tyson is working along with me as Program Chair elect during 2016.  He and I will continue to work cooperatively through the remainder of this year to transition the program chair duties to him. He will be taking the reins completely as Program Chair for the spring 2017 meeting in San Francisco.

As is always the case during a spring meeting, the abstracts are arriving for the fall meeting right now. Your meeting co-chairs, MaryKay Orgill and Patrick Daubenmire would love it if you finish reading this message and go right to to submit an abstract!

The deadline for submission to Philadelphia is March 28.

There are a number of excellent symposia at that meeting. One special event that bears advance announcement is the pan-divisional symposium conceived by Rudy Baum, who is chairing the thematic programming in Philadelphia. Cathy Middlecamp and I have joined Rudy to organize an invited symposium “Chemistry of the People, by the People, and for the People”. We are inviting speakers from each ACS technical division to participate in this event, which will be showcased in DivCHED. We do hope that you’ll make every effort to join us.

While not technically a state-of-the-art session, Rudy’s session reminds me to remind you: We welcome your ideas for future state-of-the-art (SOTA) sessions. What is a SOTA session, you ask? Essentially it is a daylong tutorial on a topic that may be of interest to many among our division. The purpose would be to provide tutorial training for chemical educators to bring back to their lab or classroom. In Boston Amy Cannon organized a SOTA session on Toxicology for Chemists. For those of you who might have an idea for a SOTA symposium for the future, let us know! There’s usually at least a year’s worth of planning that goes into these special sessions and we will help your plans come to fruition.

I always close these notes by reminding you that my goal as the chair of your Program Committee is to make it easy for you to say “Yes, I’ll volunteer” by providing any support you might need. Tyson and I look forward to working with you in the future whether it be as a symposium organizer, a meeting co-chair, or a member of the program committee. We are here to produce national meetings that serve your needs.  Please do let us know what those needs are and do consider what role you might be able to play as a volunteer. Drop me a note ( with your ideas or say hello in San Diego.  


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