Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences

The ACS Committee on Minority Affairs is proud to sponsor the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award. The award recognizes individuals and/or institutions that have advanced diversity in the chemical sciences and significantly stimulated or fostered activities that promote inclusiveness within the region. 

The award is named for Stan Israel, who championed diversity within the chemical community.  Among his diversity work, Stan served as chair of the Taskforce on Minorities in Academia.  He served in many other leadership roles within the ACS, particularly in service to the Division of Polymer Chemistry where he served as Chair, Counselor, Program Chair and Treasurer.  Stan was elected to the ACS Board of Directors, where he served as chair of several additional committees, including Grants & Awards and the Taskforce on Continuing Chemical Education.

 The ACS information page notes that “award nominees may come from academia, industry, government, or independent entities, and may also be organizations, including ACS Local Sections and Divisions. The nominee must have created and fostered ongoing programs or activities that result in increased numbers of persons from diverse and underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, or women who participate in the chemical enterprise.  The award consists of a medal and a $1,000 grant to support and further the activities for which the award was made. The award also will include funding to cover the recipient’s travel expenses to the ACS regional meeting at which the award will be presented.”

 Additional information about Stan Israel and the award

Award information, including links to online nomination: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/funding-and-awards/awards/other/diversity/stan-israel-award.html

Memoriam: http://www.polyacs.org/162.html

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Mentoring: Definition and Benefits

Have you regretted any decisions you’ve made before? Have you learned about new opportunities that would have helped you a lot during your years in high school, college or grad school? Or simply, you do not know much about developing your potential in your new job? You might need a good mentor!

Mentoring is a tool to support and encourage people to manage their own learning. It is an effective way of helping people to progress in their careers. It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) working together, sharing similar experiences. It is a supportive relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

Fortunately, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has a lot of resources that will help you to find a good mentor. For example, if you are a high school student thinking about studying chemistry, but don’t know where to start, click here to learn more about the resources ACS has for you. On the other hand, if you are a college student getting involved with one of the ACS Student Chapters, attending National Meetings, or getting an Internship, ACS will help you to find a good mentor.

Being a mentee has many benefits. These include but are not limited to:

  • Learn from the mentor’s expertise
  • Receive critical feedback in key areas, such as communications, interpersonal relationships, technical abilities, and leadership skills
  • Learn specific skills and knowledge that are relevant to personal goals
  • Gain knowledge about the organization’s culture and unspoken rules that can be critical for success; and as a result, adapt more quickly to the organization’s culture
  • Have a friendly ear with which to share frustrations, as well as successes.

Mentoring could be a great tool to support people from underrepresented backgrounds. Are you mentoring someone? Do you have a mentor?

For more details about finding a mentor, please click here!

mentorship

Inspirational quote from a community college student

After a successful community college outreach day with Los Angeles Mission College on March 22nd, we were overwhelmed with positive and inspirational feedback. Below is a direct quote from one of the students at the event:

“The trip to UCLA inspired me to continue pursuing my ambition for higher education. I used to be worried about whether I was able to make it to a four year university because of insecurities of whether I was good enough. I’m going to admit that I had a fear that being Hispanic would make it difficult for me, and I feared I would not be treated equally because of it. During the trip, I saw that there was a lot of diversity, and it rid me of that fear. It made me feel like I could be there too, if I really tried. It gave me hope. I saw people of different ethnicities treating each other with respect and listening to one another.”

Los Angeles Mission College at UCLA

-OCDC executive board

A walk in their shoes: UCLA OCDC brings community college students to campus for outreach

As a casual observer in the back of the room, you spot a full audience mimicking the arm motions of a chimpanzee. What a bizarre sight, right? Sights such as these are common during the Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry (OCDC) community college outreach days. This particular audience was listening to a research talk given by a UCLA undergraduate student conducting research on spinal cord injury and therapy. What makes this student even more impressive is the fact that he was a community college student and transferred to UCLA just two years before. Stories such as these continue to inspire OCDC to host these quarterly outreach days.

Previously a community college student, a UCLA undergraduate talks about his research on spinal cord injury and therapy during the OCDC community college outreach day

The OCDC community college outreach day starts with loading a bus full of students from a local community college and transporting them to the UCLA campus. Upon their arrival, the students are immersed in a community of support from the undergraduate and graduate students. The day begins with guest speakers from the Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP), who give an interactive and informative presentation on the transfer process. Following CCCP, two UCLA undergraduates present their current research, such as the one mentioned above. These presentations not only give the students a taste of research but also introduce them to the funding opportunities available at UCLA for undergraduate research. We then host a lunch and subsequent Q&A panel where everyone gets a chance to socialize and ask questions, such as: what is it like to be a graduate student? How do you support yourself through so much school? Bringing the program to closure, we conduct laboratory tours of the chemistry & biochemistry research facilities, even sneaking in a fun demo or two during the tour.

This 2014 school year has been unprecedentedly successful for OCDC. We have hosted three community colleges: College of the Canyons (COC), Pasadena City College (PCC) and Los Angeles Mission College. What sets our program apart form the others is, following these outreach days, we encourage and support the community college students to give back to their communities. Currently we are developing demos that the community college students can perform at their local elementary schools, giving them the training and opportunity needed to take leadership in their own communities and continue to “pay it forward” with their own outreach.

UCLA community college outreach day with students from College of the Canyons, CCCP, SACNAS and OCDC

 

Q&A panel with UCLA undergraduate and graduate students

 

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Laboratory tours of the chemistry facilities at UCLA

Stay updated with OCDC on our new websitefacebook page and twitter!  We’d like to give a huge thank you to SACNAS, CCCP and OCDC for volunteers and P &G and GSA for funding!

Cheers!

OCDC executive board

OCDC Mission Statement:

The Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry (OCDC) is a group of graduate students with a vision and passion to lead and promote diversity in the sciences. Our purpose is to provide an all-inclusive community of highly educated individuals to advance through the pipeline to influential positions in industry and academia in the sciences while simultaneously mentoring the younger generation of underrepresented minorities. Through our partnership with Procter & Gamble, OCDC provides invaluable networking opportunities through our student-organized diversity seminars. We continue to build scale within our UCLA chapter by implementing innovative and sustainable outreach programs spanning k-12 to graduate level education while maintaining excellence in our research careers.