From the Immediate Past Chair, MaryKay Orgill, Spring 2018

MaryKay Orgill

Standing with Giants

Sir Isaac Newton is often credited with the following quotation: “If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In many ways, this seems an apt description of the activities and progress of the Division of Chemical Education. Those who have gone before us—our leaders, teachers, and friends—have laid a foundation that we are able to build on year after year. In this way, the Division becomes more professional, more focused, more useful, more compassionate—better—every year. In my past 2+ years as a member of the Chair Succession, I have been able to recognize and appreciate how the efforts of others in the past have established patterns and possibilities from which the Division has benefitted.

I have also noticed, however, that I am not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but that I am standing WITH giants. When I applied for graduate programs in chemical education research, there were only 3 in the country. I felt that the community I was entering was small, and I thought I would have to find my way through my chosen profession on my own. It turns out that I was wrong. Not only was the chemical education community much larger than I originally thought it was, but it has been growing rapidly over the past two decades. Moreover, my interactions with each of the members of the Division, especially over the past few years, have taught me that I am fortunate to be working WITH giants—insightful researchers, gracious colleagues, dedicated workers, and creative teachers—who allow me to learn from them as I continue to grow both professionally and personally.

It has been a privilege to work closely with the members of the Division for the past few years. I appreciate the insights and time you contribute the activities of the Division. I appreciate your examples. I appreciate your willingness to forgive mistakes. I appreciate your optimism and sense of humor. I appreciate the concern you demonstrate for others. Thank you for being the giants that I stand with.

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