Crossing the Road: Risk and Opportunity – CMA Luncheon @ ACSDenver

The American Chemical Society Committee on Minority Affairs is glad to present Dr. Dorothy Phillips, an ACS Board Member, as the CMA Luncheon Speaker at the 249th ACS National Meeting in Denver, CO.

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Dr. Dorothy Phillips will speak about the roads she crossed on her professional and personal journey, always moving forward although not always sure of the outcome. She will talk about the courage that came from her parents, role models, and mentors. Her early education during the 1950s and 60s was in the segregated school system in Nashville, TN. In the 1960s, she crossed a road to help integrate a university. Dr. Phillips will tell her story of being the first African-American woman to achieve an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. Her journey was filled with several unexpected achievements that she will highlight. As a child, she played the game of digging to China; later as an adult she flew to China to do business and give lectures. She will close with an encouraging message for ACS Scholars and other young chemists.

Please join us at the Centennial E Room of the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center on Monday, March 23rd from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased when registering for the meeting. It is event SE07. If you are not registering for the meeting but would like to attend the luncheon, leave us a comment and we will get back to you!

CMA Symposium at the ACS national meeting: Uniting through our Differences for a Brighter Scientific Future

This symposium will demonstrate how faculty, postdocs, and graduate students are working together to promote inclusivity and diversity in the chemical sciences across the United States. The speakers will adress how they are actively increasing the participation of historically underrepresented students in their own laboratories and/or departments. New organizations such as oSTEM and ADSE will be showcased to demonstrate their early successes. An interactive Q & A panel will follow the presentations to facilitate discussion between the audience and speakers based on the topics presented during the symposium. It will take place in Mineral Hall F at the Hyatt Regency Denver convention center on Monday March 23, 2015 8:00am–11:45am.

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Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering: A graduate-student centered approach to diversify STEM Charles Frazier, University of California,Santa Barbara

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The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program: Adapting the Meyerhoff Model to UNC-Chapel Hill Joseph L. Templeton, . UNC Chapel Hill

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The Future Faculty Workshop Timothy M. Swager, MIT

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Peer-Led Activities in STEM based on Values Affirmation Luis M. Campos, Columbia University

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I STEM Posse: Recruiting and Retaining Underrepresented Students in the STEM Disciplines Irving R. Epstein, Brandeis Univ

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Building a STEM community for the next generation Eric Patridge

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The NSF AGEP California Alliance: A Community of Practice to Increase Diversity in the Physical Sciences and Engineering
Robin L. Garrell, University of California, Los Angeles

Recommended Practices from a Former Department Chairman by J.V. Ortiz

At a large, state university, all members of the faculty have opportunities to increase the diversity of the community of scholarship in their departments. Opportunities for department chairmen are especially ample. On the basis of eight years’ experience as chairman of my department at Auburn University, I encourage my colleagues to consider the following measures.

1. Found professional organizations for minority and female students and scientists, e.g. a local chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). Provide publicity and support for initial social events.

2. Form alliances with professional organizations (e.g. NOBCChE) that provide connections and recruiting information. Contacts of this kind procure an advantage in recruiting students, staff and faculty.

3. Sponsor regional meetings and recruiting symposia that facilitate contacts with prospective graduate and undergraduate students.

4. With a view toward dual-career accommodations, become familiar with unmet needs for technical expertise in your department and in other academic units.

5. Encourage collaboration with faculty and students at minority-serving institutions by providing access to specialized instrumentation and other technical resources.

6. Support and modernize degree programs (e.g. Laboratory Technology, Medical Technology) that historically have produced large numbers of female graduates.

7. Give careful consideration to job candidates whose gender or background are unprecedented in a given position. Such individuals often have qualifications that complement current personnel in highly innovative ways.

8. Procure funding for students and staff to attend meetings of professional organizations that focus on minority or female scientists and students. Mentoring relationships and reinforcing contacts with peers that result from attendance increase productivity and enhance your institution’s reputation.

9. Participate in review or advisory panels at minority-serving institutions.

10. Offer to give guest lectures or short courses at minority-serving institutions.

11. Provide periodic, professional advice to minority and female students and colleagues at all career stages. Untenured faculty, postdoctoral fellows and young collaborators are especially appreciative of such counsel.

12. Nominate minority and female colleagues for awards, fellowships, travel support and other distinctions which will increase their professional visibility.

13. Distribute accounts, orally or in writing, of your professional activities, especially research and teaching, that are intended for a general audience or for students in secondary or primary school. The goals and practices of scientists are often poorly understood by the general public, especially the young. Personal bridges from the scientific community to the most impressionable members of society can have lasting effects.

14. Encourage colleagues and students who speak languages other than English to participate in recruiting activities that reach previously untapped pools of talent.

These measures, when practiced by chairmen and other senior members of the faculty, provide an example of openness and initiative that can influence younger colleagues, stimulate social interactions and generally improve the climate of scholarship in your department. Diversity and excellence thereby become mutually reinforcing goals that fulfill the historic missions of large, state universities.
photo JV Ortiz
JV Ortiz
Ruth W. Molette Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Auburn University

2015 IUPAC Young Observers Program, Applications now being accepted!

The United States National Committee for IUPAC is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2015 IUPAC Young Observers Program. Take advantage of this great opportunity!


U.S. National Committee’s Young Observer Program
48th IUPAC General Assembly and 45th IUPAC Congress
Busan, South Korea
August 6-14, 2015

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), a worldwide leader in advancing the chemical sciences, is holding its 48th General Assembly (August 6-13, 2015) and its 45th Congress (August 9-14, 2015) in Busan, South Korea.

The U.S. National Committee for IUPAC is seeking outstanding U.S. scientists and engineers under the age of 45, with interests and expertise related to the working groups of IUPAC, to travel as Young Observers to South Korea. The USNC/IUPAC will provide travel fellowships of $2500 to successful candidates.

This Young Observer Program provides an excellent opportunity to become involved in the work of IUPAC, develop an international network of scientists and engineers, and represent your U.S. colleagues in the chemical sciences.

Successful candidates must:
Be a U.S. scientist or engineer under the age of 45, be active in chemical or chemical engineering research in academia, government, or industry. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder).
Have a specific interest in one or more of the business meetings and technical sessions that will be held in Korea.
Have a strong interest in collaborative work with scientists in laboratories outside of the United States.
Have an interest in continuing activities through the IUPAC organization.
Career scientist applicants should ideally have, but are not required to have, five years of independent research/work experience after the completion of their educational experience. In exceptional cases applications from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers will be considered.
Former YOs may apply for a maximum second YO experience. They must demonstrate how they have remained involved with IUPAC since their first experience.
2015 Young Observer Program Application Deadline is February 23, 2015.
For more information about the program and to apply, visit Questions about the program can be directed to BISO at

ACS Scholars Program: Impacting and Improving Minority Students’ Lives for 20 Years

“A Scholarship for African American, Hispanic, and American Indian Students in the Chemical Sciences”

The ACS Scholars Program, an American Chemical Society award renewable scholarship to underrepresented minority students in the fields of chemistry, was established in 1994. This program aims to help build awareness of the value and rewards associated with careers in chemistry and assist students in acquiring skills and credentials needed for success.

To date more than 2500 (57% female) students have been awarded a scholarship through the ACS Scholars Program. Fifty-one percentage were African American, 43% were Hispanics, and 6% were American Indian. Although the majority of students major in general chemistry, other majors such as environmental or natural sciences, materials science, chemical technology (2-year program) among others are considered. One of the key findings of the ACS Scholars follow-up survey is that the 42% of the students who received a scholarship have entered to an advanced degree, including doctorate degrees such as MD/Ph.Ds. In addition, thirty-four percentage of the ACS Scholarship recipients have entered the chemical workplace.

Without a doubt, the ACS Scholars Program is an outstanding program and YOU have to be part of it. It does not only provide designated amount of money to students, but it helps scholarship winners to achieve success through a mentorship program. Awardees are also encourage to participate in undergraduate research and internships.

If you are a high school senior or college student, click here to find out more information about the application process. The application cycle is now open; it begins each year on November 1st. The deadline to receive applications and supporting documents is March 1st, 2015.

If you believe in this amazing program and would like to support it, please click here for more details.

In addition, the ACS Committee on Minority Affairs will be working jointly to the ACS Scholars Program Committee to recognize the achievements of the students who have received a scholarship during the 250th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Boston, MA (Fall 2015). Stay tuned!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the ACS Scholars Program staff:

Phone: (202) 872- 6250
Toll Free: (800) 227- 5558 ext 6250

OCDC symposium at the SACNAS conference- Prof. Hilary Coller abstract

NADPH is a critical metabolite for biosynthesis and antioxidant defense that can be generated through multiple pathways. We discovered that, surprisingly, quiescent fibroblasts activate the NADPH-producing enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), despite their reduced need for nucleotides generated from the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway. The NADPH produced in the quiescent fibroblasts is associated with higher activity of glutathione reductase and higher ratios of reduced to oxidized glutathione. The NRF2 transcription factor transcriptionally regulates G6PD and isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH). Inhibition of G6PD or NRF2 results in oxidative stress and apoptosis selectively in quiescent fibroblasts. Applying in situ metabolic activity assays, we found the nondividing, differentiated cells of the hair follicle have high potential for G6PD activity, while the quiescent hair follicle bulge cells have high IDH activity potential. Surprisingly, the proliferative cells within the hair follicle exhibited little potential for either G6PD or IDH. Induction of squamous cell carcinoma resulted in increased potential for both G6PD and IDH activity in the stem cells, their proliferating progeny and surrounding fibroblasts. Our findings demonstrate that different NADPH production pathways are activated in different cellular contexts and raise the possibility that inhibition of such pathways could prevent or reverse tumorigenesis.

OCDC symposium at the SACNAS conference- Prof. Read de Alaniz abstract

The discovery and development of novel transformations for the synthesis of molecular building blocks is a major focus of my research group. Our studies seek to accelerate drug discovery and material synthesis by developing practical and efficient methods, while incorporating renewable resources and environmentally benign protocols. We have also recently become involved in the design and synthesis of a novel photochromic material that enable the use of visible light to control the properties of micelles, polymer surfaces and small organic molecules. A main object of this research is in the areas of drug delivery and using visible light to control catalytic transformations.

OCDC symposium at the SACNAS conference- Prof. Sarpong Abstract

Richmond Sarpong was born in Ghana, West Africa in 1974. He received his B.A. degree from Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) in 1995. During that time he carried out research with Professor Rebecca Hoye. He conducted his Ph.D. research with Professor Martin F. Semmelhack at Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey, USA) and completed his degree in 2000. After three and a half years as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Brian Stoltz at Caltech (Pasadena, California, USA) he began his independent career at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 where he is currently a Full Professor. His current research interests include the development of new strategies for the synthesis of complex natural products.

Professor Isiah M. Warner of the Louisiana State University, recipient of the 2013 ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award

Professor Isiah M. Warner of the Louisiana State University (right) receiving the Dr. Kofi Lomotey Trailblazer Award. In 2013 Prof. Warner was honored with the ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award. Photo from the official webpage of the Louisiana State University.

Professor Isiah Warner of the Louisiana State University is a distinguished scholar recognized for research in the field of analytical chemistry and for his leadership in creating mentoring programs that promote inclusiveness in science and engineering. For his mentoring efforts, Dr. Warner was recognized with the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award, Southwest region, in 2013.

Dr. Warner discussed his “hierarchical mentoring” model  at the San Francisco ACS National Meeting (2014). This mentoring model fuses research, education, and mentoring to give undergraduate students an opportunity for advancement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. This model has transformed the Louisiana State University Chemistry Department. Before its implementation, the LSU chemistry department produced few African-American chemists, and an even smaller number of these students pursued a Ph.D. degree. Today, after implantation of the mentoring program, LSU is now ranked first in the nation in the production of African-American PhDs in chemistry. At any given year more than 30 underrepresented minority students are enrolled in the LSU Chemistry Graduate Program.

The impacts of Dr. Warner’s mentoring efforts go beyond statistics; many of his past students praise his guidance. Dr. Chanel Fortier described Dr. Warner as a mentor and a role model during her undergraduate years at LSU. Dr. Fortier described her mentor as “one of the great impacts of my life still today in terms of my career choice and pursuit of excellence in chemistry.” She believes that Dr. Warner “has touched the lives of many chemists in the past and present regarding recruitment, retention, and graduation of a diverse set of students”, and counts herself as one of the lucky ones to be guided by his mentoring. Dr. Marsha Cole, a recent graduate of the LSU Ph.D program, described Dr. Warner as a “shepherd of scientists”, guiding graduate students like herself into rewarding careers in chemistry. Dr. Krystal Fontenot described Dr. Warner as a global mentoring figure at LSU who “expected the most and the best” from all students, not just the ones in his research group. Dr. Fontenot described the LSU environment as one that encouraged personal and professional growth -very nurturing- thanks in great part to Dr. Warner’s mentoring initiatives.

His success as a mentor has been widely recognized with a number of awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; the AAAS Lifetime Mentor Award; and the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.

Dr. Warner is highlighted in the fifth episode Spellbound titled “A Born Chemist: Isiah Warner, Ph.D.” Spellbound is a video series produced for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.

As part of this series of blog posts the Committee on Minority Affairs will highlight past Stanley C. Israel award recipients. For a full list of past awardees and more information on the award visit the Stanley C. Israel Award page.

SACNAS conference diversity in chemistry symposium

Symposium at the SACNAS conference
One highlight of the SACNAS conference held recently in downtown Los Angeles was the symposium titled: Diversity in Chemistry: Uniting our Differences for a Brighter Scientific Future. The symposium was hosted and co-sponsored by The Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science (OCDS) and the Center for C-H Functionalization (CCHF) in an effort to provide the best aspects of the SACNAS conference to the community without the registration cost.
The SACNAS national conference is an annual event dedicated to engaging students pursuing education and careers in the STEM fields. There are outstanding networking opportunities with world-class scientists and numerous lectures to attend on cutting-edge research. However, the registration costs can be prohibitive for many students to attend, which is where OCDS saw their opportunity to provide a similar event to those unable to attend or afford SACNAS.
The symposium featured three outstanding chemists from top universities: Professor Richmond Sarpong from UC Berkeley, Professor Javier Read de Alaniz of UC Santa Barbara, and Professor Hilary Coller from UCLA. Each distinguished professor described their research projects and their scientific interests, but it did not stop there. Each professor shared stories of personal setbacks and delved into the human aspect of what it is like to assist in building their students’ own chemistry careers. This unique opportunity to mingle with renowned professors in an intimate setting is the embodiment of the SACNAS conference.
We had an outstanding attendance, with 75 students whom signed-in and more afterwards, despite our timing on a Friday evening.
Thanks to substantial donations from CCHF and the Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC), the symposium was provided free of charge to the community. LATTC generously provided the auditorium, refreshments, and free advertising to their students and faculty. CCHF provided financial support as well as organization sources to host the event.
I am grateful to all that continue to support OCDS and the Committee for Minority Affairs (CMA) in our common mission to diversify STEM. A special thanks to Dr. Monya Ruffin, the Director of Diversity, Education, and Outreach at CCHF. She has been extremely supportive throughout the planning of this event. The overwhelmingly positive response to our symposium sets the groundwork for this to be a permanent event, taking place off-site but during SACNAS or ACS conferences. Widely accessible events like this will hopefully inspire more community members to pursue a career in STEM.