Trenton ACS Local Section


The Alembic: April 2016

Posted by Crowe, Matthew on August 8, 2016 at 11:25 AM



Trenton ACS Annual Awards Banquet

Location: Tessara Restaurant, 812 Route 33, Hamilton, NJ 08619

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Time: 6:30 Dinner, 6:00 for Social Gathering

We will be honoring our Chemistry Olympiad winners, scholarship awardees, local section leaders, and out 50/60 year members. Dinner will be $25 per person. Dinner choices will be eggplant parmesan, lasagna, or chicken breast. We will have a children’s selection ($10) for those 12 and under, spaghetti and meatballs or chicken fingers and fries. All sodas and teas are included. Cash bar available and the Local Section will buy your first beer or cocktail, if you partake.

This year, we have an online method to sign up. We have options to pay (cash/check) when you get here at the door or, for a small fee, you can pay online with your credit card. You do not need to sign up for an eventbrite account. No need to print out the “ticket,” we will have the lists and check you in manually at the door. If you are unsure of the new process/website, feel free to send an email to our organizers, Benny Chan ( or Abby O’Connor (, we can add you manually (to pay at door) just like we have always done.

Secure registration and payment site:

Registration ends on May 3, 2016 at Noon.



Upcoming Events for the 2016 Fall ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia, organized by Trenton ACS board members

By Benny Chan, Trenton ACS chair, Councilor


Science Behind Pixar Event, Co-organized by the Younger Chemist Committee, Undergraduate Programming Advisory Board

When: Sunday, August 21, 2016 at 6:00 pm.

Location: Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (parking usually available under the Franklin Institute)

Cost: $19.95/person ($14.95 children 3-11) includes day time admissions to the Franklin Institute (open 9:30 am to 5:00 pm)


Not necessary to register for the national meeting, we have an eventbrite site to purchase admissions (+fees).


LGBTQ Safe Zone Ally Training for STEM professionals

When: Monday afternoon, August 22, 2016

Location: To be determined


Trenton Local Section Members, The College of New Jersey Alumni, Rider University Alumni, and friends Happy Hour

When: Monday 5-7 pm, August 22, 2016

Location: Field House, first floor by the bar, 1150 Filbert Street


No need to register for the national meeting to attend! Dutch event, cash bar available!


Hidden Gems in Philly: Family and student friendly park gathering

When: Tuesday 10 am-12 pm, August 23, 2016

Location: Franklin Square, Meet near the carousel. 200 6th Street.


No need to register for the national meeting to attend! Dutch event.


Minigolf, Carousel rides available for purchase

Food available for purchase

Free children’s playground



What has the Trenton Section been up to?

By Thom Caggiano, Alternate Councilor


As part of our Community Outreach program on April 21st, the Trenton section of the ACS (TrACS) hosted Margaret Little, Senior Objects Conservator at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. The well attended talk entitled “The Art and Science of Art Conservation: When works of Art begin to deteriorate, How are they repaired?” was cosponsored with the Student Chemists Association and the Art Department of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). The topic drew an audience from several academic disciplines (chemistry, art, art history and archeology) and institutions as well as a number scientifically inclined members of the public. The example Ms Little chose to discuss was the restoration of a Greek pyxis which dates from 750 BCE. She began by giving an overview of the “process” she goes through when planning and executing a conservation project, including a discussion of very real practical concerns (age, fragility, availability of funding and useful technology) as well as concerns for the cultural heritage of the piece. Ms Little took us through the conservation of the pyxis including “before, during and after” photos.

During a lively post lecture period question ranged from the details of the analytical techniques used in conservation to how one becomes an art conservator (education, experience, curricula). At the end of the question and answer period Dylan Nguyen, from the Student Chemists Association of TCNJ, presented Ms Little with a Thank You gift of a beaker coffee mug (which she said she had REALLY wanted to get for herself), TCNJ engraved pen set and SCA magnet.




251st ACS National Meeting Councilor Report

By Matt Crowe, Councilor, and Benny Chan, Councilor and Trenton ACS chair

Councilors Matt Crowe and Benny Chan traveled to San Diego to attend the 2016 Spring National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Both Councilors attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional (District III) Caucus and the Council Meeting. Matt attended committee meetings relevant to his involvement with the Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS). Benny attended committee events relevant to his involvement with the Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA).

At the Mid-Atlantic Regional Caucus, a presentation was given highlighting The Society’s focus on increasing the diversity of backgrounds represented on Committees of The Society. Interestingly, “industrial chemists” were included in the list of under-represented groups. So, why are so few industrial chemists involved in ACS governance? Perhaps a question that is of more interest to the industrial chemists reading this: What are the benefits, to industrial chemists, of being involved in ACS governance? Here are some answers, but please reach out to your Councilors if you think of others:

• Leadership experience

• Visibility in the field of chemistry

• Outreach opportunities

• Networking

• Freedom & opportunity to create events and opportunities for others

• External presentations (practice & visibility)

• Learn about new science

• Interact with scientists from diverse backgrounds, including career paths (academic, industrial,

government, EH&S)

• Sense of accomplishment

• Represent and positively impact select groups of chemists: women chemists (WCC), technicians (CTA),

chemists with disabilities (CWD), chemists from under-represented ethnic and racial groups (CMA),

senior chemists (SCC), international chemists (IAC)

If you are an industrial chemist and you want to get involved in ACS governance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Councilors to find out how.

Benny attended several meetings as a member of the Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA).

CMA has been very active. The ACS Scholars program is running strong and just closed their current round of funding for the fall semester. The ACS Scholars program aims to give funding to underrepresented minority students who wish to pursue a degree in chemistry. In addition, CMA is working to recognize local sections and professionals who have had a major impact on diversity issues for chemists. They choose ChemLuminary and Stanley Israel awards every year.

Information about the ACS Scholars program can be found at:

Information on the Stanley Israel Award can be found at:

A variety of diversity and inclusion programming will be occurring at the Philadelphia and San Francisco meetings. Check out the program for the specific programming topics.

Benny is working actively on the Membership Engagement and Professional Development subcommittee. The purpose of the committee is much clearer now that ACS is beginning to develop diversity training for our volunteers. We will actively engage the Society to give input on the training program Benny’s expertise in the social science of diversity will be critically important to the design and implementation of the modules.

Matt attended several meetings as an associate member of the Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS).

At the Solutions subcommittee meeting, several new efforts were presented by subcommittee chair Harry Elston. First, the subcommittee will review the existing CCS safety documents and decide: 1) if they should be kept or discarded, 2) if kept, if they need revision, and 3) if they need revision, what is the priority? Second, the committee will take, evaluate, and provide feedback on a Pilot Safety Data Usability Survey. Once finalized, this survey will be used to determine advantages and disadvantages of various methods of storing, accessing, and maintaining chemical safety data sheets (SDSs).

At the CCS Executive meeting, speakers from the ACS Planning Committee, the Chemical Safety Board, and the Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) presented, and each subcommittee shared an update.

Barbara Sawrey from the ACS Planning Committee led a discussion about the Environmental Scan (EScan) that the Society is undertaking. The EScan is an effort to address major Economic/Social/Technology/Political external influences on the ACS and its members, to help the society to respond constructively.

Representatives of the Chemical Safety Board led a discussion with the CCS about what each group could do to assist the other in achieving their goals. The main discussion points were: 1) that the ACS could help broaden the reach of the CSB and provide additional expertise in chemical safety, 2) that the CSB could help publicize chemical safety findings of the ACS more broadly using news media. Kristen Kulinowski spoke about her experience with the Board and how her career led up to and prepared her for serving on the CSB. She and Mary Beth Mulcahy spoke about the role of the CSB, benefits and challenges, and described the CSB’s general approach to incident root cause evaluation. Two high profile incidents that the CSB has investigated in recent years were Deepwater Horizon and the West Fertilizer plant explosion. The CSB is a non-regulatory organization that performs root cause investigations and makes recommendations. The benefits of this approach are realized when what is learned from one incident is used to prevent future incidents.

Representatives from the Division of Chemical Health & Safety (CHAS) spoke to the CCS about its current effort to have safety included as a core value of the ACS. At the Fall National Meeting of the ACS in Philadelphia, there will be a Town Hall meeting about Safety, Ethics, and Diversity. All ACS members are encouraged to attend this Town Hall meeting, planned for Thursday morning in Philadelphia, and to voice their opinions about whether safety should be included as a core value of the ACS.

Benny and Matt both attend the Council Meeting, held Wednesday morning from 8 am to noon. Follow the link to access Councilor talking points:




Updates from the Student Affiliates


The College of New Jersey’s Student Chemists Association (SCA)

by Katie Fomchenko, SCA President


With the end of the semester drawing near, the SCA has participated in many events over the past few months and still has a few events left on our schedule. SCA is still holding biweekly meetings in order to inform our members of upcoming events, as well as contribute to their professional development by hosting short presentations on various sub-disciplines of chemistry and research opportunities in the Chemistry Department. In March, a few SCA members participated in Yardley Elementary School's science fair, where they judged student's projects and encouraged their interest in science, as well as presenting 2 demos: one involved cleaning old pennies with vinegar to visually illustrate acid chemistry, and the second involved placing vinegar and baking soda into an Erlenmeyer flask with a balloon over the top of it to illustrate the properties of a gas-producing reaction. Also in March, SCA participated in the NJ State Police Museum and Learning Center trip and enjoyed the museum. A new Inter-Chapter relations event is being planned between TCNJ and Rider students to be in April at TCNJ, where attendees will be able to network with students from Rider's ACS student chapter as well as enjoy an archived ACS Webinar and pizza. This past month, SCA members attended the Chemical Heritage Foundation's First Friday event "Scholarfest," where fellows of the museum gave presentations on their research into chemical and art history and engaged the audience with an interactive version of the game "two truths and a lie" with facts regarding their research. After this event, attendees enjoyed the social event of going out to dinner in Philly, with SCA paying for appetizers to catalyze the fun. Upcoming SCA events include an Earth Day lecture from TCNJ's own Dr. Aucott on renewable energy titled "Climate Change and Renewable Energy - More Must be Done, and Soon" discussing how chemistry can be used to make energy greener. SCA is hosting a green chemistry demo in conjunction with the TCNJ Environmental Club's Earth Day Celebration, where students will be able to enjoy a demonstration about green chemistry in action through biodegradable packing peanuts, relating the fun of watching them melt into nothing when placed in water to important concepts in chemistry such as the structure of sugars and polymer chemistry, as the peanuts are made out of starch. SCA will be holding its annual Chemistry Semi-Formal, “Chemiformal,” which will be a fun, relaxing night featuring a DJ and catering from Mama Flora's; a nice break from all the studying we usually do on Fridays! We also had our elections for our new Executive board and I will be returning as president next year.


Rider University’s Student Affiliate of the American Chemical Society (SAACS)

by Anthony Borkowski, SAACS President

Since our last update, the Rider Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society have been busy preparing for our end of the semester events. Our most important event, the 2016 Chemistry Olympiad, will be taking place at Rider University in April. This year SAACS will welcome 21 high schools students to our campus and then test their metal with a laboratory experiment. SAACS executive members Elizabeth Urban, Grace Ogungbile, and Anthony Borkowski will be taking the responsibility for setting up the experiments and organizing breakfast and lunch for the students.

Also in April, SAACS will also be hosting its annual Spring BBQ, which will once again feature the culinary skills of Dr William Fobare as he masterfully prepares pulled pork, hot dogs, and hamburgers for our guests. As a sign of tolerance towards our vegetable loving students, SAACS will proudly serve vegan-friendly foods for the first time in the history of our BBQ. Anthony Borkowski (SAACS President) will put his own culinary skills to the test by preparing a tofu-chili and organizing a fruit platter for our animal-concerned students and faculty. When reached for comment, Anthony assured us that “this is not a plan to round up all the vegans and be rid of them”. In addition to the tofu-chili, Anthony will also be preparing a meat-creation in the shape of a 5-coordinate metal complex.

During the end of the 2016 Spring semester, the Rider Student Affiliates of the ACS welcomed John Patrick Gulliver (Freshmen) to our executive board for the 2016-2017 school year. After a strong performance in both semesters of General Chemistry, and high recommendations by Dr David Laviska, he was quickly welcomed into the position of Vice President.



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