Trenton ACS Local Section


See News & Events Page. 


Fall 2016 National ACS Meeting Events

Science Behind Pixar EventCo-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)


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


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.  


Trenton ACS Networking/Social Event

When: April 9th, 2 pm - 4 pm

Where: Vault Brewing Company

            10 S Main Street

            Yardley, PA 19067

The Trenton local section of the ACS hosted a networking/social event at Vault Brewing Company in Yardley. This was a great opportunity to relax and mingle with colleagues in the Trenton area. Appetizers were provided by TrACS, and a great time was had by all!  


Art Conservation at the Barnes Foundation

When Thursday, April 21, 6-8 pm

Where:  To be determined

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. -By Thom Caggiano, Alternate Councilor


Trenton ACS Annual Awards Dinner

When:  Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Time to be determined

Where:  Tessara Restaurant Bar and Banquets, 812 Route 33 Hamilton, NJ 08619

We celebrated our Award winning Students, Teachers, and 50/60 year members! 


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.


National Chemistry Week, which occurs annually the fourth week of October, was another greatly successful event sponsored by the Trenton section of the American Chemical Society.  The theme, “Chemistry Colors Our World,” focused on the chemistry of food colors and fireworks, rainbows, natural dyes and pigments.  Approximately 700 students from 39 different schools from Fort Dix, Roosevelt, Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, Lawrence, East Windsor, West Windsor, Bordentown, Allentown, Cranbury, Princeton, Lambertville and Trenton were amused and inspired by about 30 volunteers from the Trenton section, including faculty and students from Mercer County Community College (MCCC), Rider University, TCNJ, Princeton as well as collaborators from the local ACS section.  Students participated in interactive chemistry demonstration including the crowd favorite – making slime!  A special thanks to Helen Tanzini from MCCC for planning and preparing for the event, designing the experiments, and organizing the volunteers.


Super Science Saturday (SSS) at the N.J. State MuseumThis event featured chemistry demonstrations sponsored by the local Trenton section of the ACS.  More than 30 MCCC faculty, staff and students worked long hours beside Rider University students, Trenton section volunteers and the Doyle group from Princeton University to make this event a success!  Led by Helen Tanzini from MCCC, SSS provided an educational experience to over 4000 event visitors and has boasted over 40,000 visitors to this educational experience for over the 16 years of her leadership.   This year, participants received hands-on experience with slime-making, polyacrylate polymerization, melting blocks, chromatography, magic sands, “bubble fantasia,” dry ice, extraction, “glo germ,” liquid nitrogen, gigantic spheres, nitinol wire, energy sticks, and thermal squares.  Each experience drew a huge crowd and the successful event was both enlightening and fun! 


Trenton ACS Councilors Travel to Fall 2015 National Meeting 

250th ACS National Meeting Councilor Report

Benny Chan & Matt Crowe

Trenton Local Section of the American Chemical Society

The 250th meeting of the American Chemical Society took place in Boston, MA from August 16 to the 20th.  Both our Councilors are members of governance committees, Committee on Chemical Safety and Committee on Minority Affairs.  Both attended the Mid Atlantic Councilors Caucus meeting to be briefed about the upcoming council meeting.


Matt Crowe attended the Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS) executive committee meeting and CCS Solutions subcommittee meetings. At the CCS executive committee meeting, summaries were given by the Education, Solutions, and Communications subcommittees. The Education subcommittee informed the CCS that the Division of Chemical Education (CHED) has been given approval to for a safety subcommittee. The Solutions subcommittee discussed its activities since the Spring National ACS Meeting, as well as next actions (see below for more details). The Communications subcommittee led a discussion around how hazards are rarely communicated in peer-reviewed articles, and asked for recommendation on how to change publication policies in order to get safety and hazard information included more regularly in journal articles. There has been increasing concern in recent years over chemical safety in research laboratories, and including safety & hazard information in journal articles could significantly improve safe practices of scientists attempting to recreate or improve upon published procedures. The CCS held a lengthy discussion around how to influence academic researchers to be more proactive about safety. Questions were raised like, “How do we empower students to speak up about safety concerns without fear of repercussions?”, and “How do you achieve a culture of safety, not just a culture of compliance?” Potential solutions involving clear communication of safety expectations at various levels of education, including safety requirements in job advertisements, and making a safety program a requirement for tenure and promotion were discussed by the committee. In the spring of 2015, The CCS completed a report on Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories, which received very positive reviews from the Chemical Safety Board (CSB). Lastly, the CCS plans to introduce a Chemluminary award in the near future recognizing ACS-sponsored events and initiatives that highlight chemical safety.


The Solutions subcommittee discussed its activities since the Spring National ACS Meeting, which included writing a communication to secondary school educators about how to safely perform chemistry demonstrations involving flammable liquids, and reviewing content for National Chemistry Week & Chemistry Club. The subcommittee discussed several initiatives intended to provide ACS members with authoritative safety information. First, the subcommittee will put together a list of frequently asked questions regarding chemical safety. The goal is to post these FAQs, along with answers, on the ACS website so that ACS members can quickly access answers to their most frequently asked chemical safety questions. The subcommittee will also review a reproductive health document (jointly with the WCC). The Solutions subcommittee was presented with information about the online Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS) resource in PubChem. This project is intended to collate GHS information for chemicals, along with information sources, to facilitate gathering safety information for safe chemical handling and new product development. This web resource is free and available to all, accessible simply by google searching “LCSS Pubchem”. Members of the LCSS design team asked if the CCS could review and/or provide criteria to review the information provided.


Benny Chan spent Sunday working with the Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA).  This year was the 20th anniversary of the ACS Scholars program that has provided more than $17 million in scholarship assistance for minority students.  Over 2,500 students have pursued received the scholarship.   The Chair, Madeleine Jacobs, has led an endowment fund raising for over $2 million dollars in the last year.  If local section members know of a deserving undergraduate, they should contact for additional information.  The application process is found by searching ACS Scholars on the website.


In addition to the ACS Scholars program, Dr. Chan is currently involved in broadening participation symposium being scheduled for the Spring Meeting in San Diego.  The goal of the symposium is to bring experts to share best practices on how to best increase diversity and inclusion principles for all members of the ACS.  Dr. Chan has also volunteered to help drive a key guiding principle of the ACS mission by promoting diversity:  Dr. Chan will be assisting CMA to develop programming and training on diversity and inclusion topics, some of which may include live webinars, web videos, and modules for the Leadership Development System.


CMA also encourages members to submit nominations for the Stanley C Israel award:  The award highlights institutions or individuals who have advanced diversity in the chemical sciences and promote inclusiveness in the region.


The Council meeting was conducted.  Council elections were conducted for the Committee on Committees, Council Policy Committee, and Committee on Nominations and Elections. 

·         On the recommendation of the Committee on Nominations and Elections, the Council VOTED to approve the Balloting and Preferential Voting Procedures for Elections of President-Elect, District Directors, and Directors-at-Large, contingent upon approval of the Petition on Preferential Voting.

·         This voting preference allows members to rank their choices (if more than two) for these positions, if the voter’s first choice does not have the highest number of votes, your second choice will get your vote and continue down your choices.  This process guarantees your votes to count towards a competitive applicant.

  • On the recommendation of the Committee on Membership Affairs, the Council VOTED to approve the Procedure for Expulsion of a Member, contingent upon approval of the Petition on Member Expulsion.
    • The expulsion of a member was a long and arduous process.  The procedure allows a more streamlined process and refers directly to the Ethical and Professional Guidelines.


The Nominations and Elections Committee presented the slate for the fall elections.  The two candidates for President-Elect, G. Bryan Balazs and Allison A. Campbell were presented.  Drs. Crowe and Chan have both met both candidates and both have strong backgrounds and potential.  We encourage our members to read through their platforms to make informed voting decisions.   Members will receive information to opt-in to online voting.  If you want to vote from your desk, please watch for this mail.


Reports were given by standing committees.  The following may be of interest to local section members. 


Economics and Professional Affairs have shown Domestic Unemployment for chemists is currently at 3.1%, which is much lower than the national average.  For the first time since 2004, data shows salaries have increased slightly for all chemists.


Meetings and Exposition reported that 13,888 people registered for the meeting to present 9,271 papers for the Boston meeting.  The Boston ACS App was a huge success with over 5500 downloads.  The ACS will be transitioning to an electronic meeting program to save on costs.  Several concerns were made about the Boston site which required long travel times from the hotel to the convention center.


Reports were given by other committees that might be interesting for local section.


The Community Activities chair announced the nation-wide Illustrated Poem Contest was the most popular event.  In the spirit of the IPC, the chair gave the report in poetic verse from haiku, to limerick, to ode, to beatnik, to free verse.  The report was the most amusing of the bunch.   The Trenton section may begin our own Illustrated Poem Contest.


Ethics is developing online video modules for instructors to use for ethics training.  We encourage our local section instructors and manager to be on the lookout for these videos.


Project SEED has a program with participation of 411 high school students in over 100 laboratories, including our own Rider University.  Dr. Crowe and Dr. Chan recommend that we nominate the Rider program for a Chemluminary Award to recognize Dr. Jacobs’ efforts.  Although not specifically mentioned at this meeting, her work on the Chemistry Olympiad should be recognized too!


We look forward to representing the Local Section in the upcoming 251st Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, California from March 13 to 17, 2016.


Best Regards,

Benny Chan & Matt Crowe

Councilors of the Trenton Local Section of the American Chemical Society



Councilor’s Report from the Fall 2015 National ACS Meeting

By Benny Chan and Matt Crowe

Councilors' short report

The 250th meeting of the American Chemical Society commenced during the meeting from August 16 to the 20th. 

Dr. Crowe is an Associate Member of the Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS) chaired by Betty Ann Towson. Highlights of the meeting were thought-provoking discussions around how to get safety & hazard information included in peer-reviewed publications, and how to improve safety culture in academic research institutions. The CCS completed a report on Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories, which received very positive reviews from the Chemical Safety Board (CSB). Lastly, the CCS plans to introduce a Chemluminary award in the near future recognizing ACS-sponsored events and initiatives that highlight chemical safety.

Dr. Chan is an Associate Member of the Committee on Minority Affairs chaired by Madelaine Jacobs.  The highlight of the meeting was the successful 20th anniversary of the ACS Scholars Program.  If local section members know of a chemistry/chemical engineering major that would qualify (an African American, Hispanic, or Native American student) we encourage them to apply on the ACS website through the ACS Scholars.  Dr. Chan will also be active in the development of programming to enhance diversity and inclusion to achieve the ACS strategic plan to increase diversity in the chemical society.

The council meeting was conducted and the councilors voted to approve the Petition on Preferential Voting and the Procedure for the Expulsion of a Member.

The Nominations and Elections Committee presented the two candidates for the 2016 ACS President-elect, G. Bryan Balaz and Allison A. Campbell.  Both candidates are strong and we encourage our local section members to participate in the voting process.  Electronic voting options should be received by members shortly.

Reports were given by standing and other committees that may be of interest by local section members.

CEPA:  Unemployment for chemists is currently at 3.1%, lower than the national average

CME:  The Boston Meeting drew 13,888 registered attendees to present 9,271 papers.

CCA:  The Illustrated Poem Contest was a huge success.  The Trenton Section is considering launching a local version.

Ethics:  Video modules are being developed to help chemists identify ethical issues.

Project SEED:  Participation is at 411 high school students, including many at Rider University.  Dr. Jacob’s work on Project SEED (see below) and the Chemistry Olympiad should be nominated for awards.

The 251st Meeting of the ACS will be in San Diego, California from March 13 to 17, 2016.

Respectfully Submitted,

Benny Chan

Matt Crowe 


Trenton ACS Hosts Annual Awards Banquet

Our Chemistry Olympiad finalists, TrACS High School Scholarship Winners, 50-year members, Outstanding High School Chemistry Teachers, and Top Undergraduates at our local area colleges and universities got together on May 13th at Tessara Restaurant to celebrate their achievements!



Trenton ACS volunteers at Dutch Neck Elementary School


The Trenton ACS volunteered at the Dutch Neck Elementary School Science Day on Friday April 17th, 2015. The section demonstrated the principles of acids and bases, polymers, and carbon dioxide. We performed a number of demos for each of the first grade classes and students even got to make slime! The program was very interactive and really showed how fun, and hands-on, chemistry can be! All of the volunteers had a great time and the kids had a blast! Future chemists? Only time will tell…



Trenton ACS and TCNJ Student Affiliates Take on the Riverhorse Brewery Tour


On Sunday April 19th, 2015, members of the Trenton ACS local section and ACS student affiliates from TCNJ went on a tour of the Riverhorse Brewery. The tour included 4 beer samples and an informative talk about how beer is brewed. The students and local section members had a great time! We look forward to hosting this event again in the future.



12 Local Students Win Chance to Qualify for 2015 International Chemistry Olympiad; 1 Advances to Next Round

By Danielle L. Jacobs (USNCO Coordinator, Trenton & Princeton ACS)


The Trenton and Princeton sections of the American Chemical Society held their annual US National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) competition between January and April.


Throughout the month of March, 250 students across 12 local high schools participated in the preliminary round of the competition, an exam consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions spanning challenging concepts in physical, inorganic, and organic chemistry. The qualifying top scorers from each high school were then invited to participate in the second round at Rider University on Sunday, April 19, 2015. This full-day exam consisted of three parts: (a) 60 multiple-choice questions (b) 8 critical thinking questions; and (c) a lab practical portion requiring students to first compose, and then execute, safe and efficient procedures for solving laboratory problems in both chromatography and titration.


The Trenton & Princeton sections are proud of our 12 local nominees, who were among approximately 1,000 nationwide who participated in the full-day exam, and represent the top 5% of the over 10,000 high school students who competed in the preliminary round across the United States. Furthermore, we are ecstatic to have just learned that Abraham Park, a junior from West Windsor Plainsboro High School South, has been chosen as one of only 20 finalists nationwideto proceed to the USNCO Study Camp, which will be held at US Air Force Academy in Colorado from June 2-17. The top four students from the two-week intensive training camp will have the honor of representing the United States in the 47th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) held in Baku, Azerbaijan, July 20-29, 2015. The US has participated in the IChO since 1984. In 2014, the US team won one gold and three silver medals, competing against a total of 291 students from 77 countries around the globe. Last year, Andrew Chen of West Windsor Plainsboro High School South represented the United States at the IChO, and we wish Abraham the best of luck as he competes for a coveted slot on this year’s team.


All 12 finalists will be recognized at the Trenton Section Awards Banquet to be held on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at Tessara Restaurant in Hamilton, NJ:



Trenton Section:

Dennis Duan and David Xin (The Lawrenceville School) sponsored by Mary Calvert and David Laws Nick Pittman (North Hunterdon High School) sponsored by Carolyn Wilhelm

Robert Frascella and Timothy Low-Beer (Notre Dame High School) sponsored by Robert Carroll

Princeton Section:

Stephanie RenLeon Wu, and Harvey Liu (Princeton High School) sponsored by Robert Corell

Viswajit Kandula and Shannon McNaul (Hillsborough High School) sponsored by Carmel Meyer Kevin Li and Abraham Park (West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South) sponsored byCindy Jaworsky


All of the students seemed to enjoy and value their experience participating in the National USNCO competition. We look forward to having our best high school chemistry students continue to represent our sections in the USNCO for many years to come.


Thank you to all of the high school teachers who continue to be committed to teaching chemistry in engaging and inspiring ways, while recognizing and cultivating the scientific aptitude and aspirations of their students. We thus wish to recognize the schools and teachers who participated in the 2015 USNCO local competition who were not listed above:


Dan Allen                                      Hunterdon Central Regional High School

Madeline Cozine                         The Peddie School

Brian Cullen                                 Steinert High School

Matthew Davis                            Lawrence High School

Karolina Fraczkowska               The Hun School

Tom Horsley                                The Pennington School

Roxanne Spencer                        PRISMS of Princeton

Jason Sullivan                              Montgomery High School

The 2016 US National Chemistry Olympiad preparations will begin in January 2016. I will again serve as the Olympiad Coordinator for both the Trenton and Princeton Sections. The program announcement letter will be sent out to local high school chemistry teachers in early January. If you have a child in high school who is interested in taking the exam, but are unsure if your school participates, please contact me, or your child’s chemistry teacher, to ensure he or she does not get left out of next year’s competition! 



 Updates from the Student Affiliates

by Taylor Maney, TCNJ Student Chemists Association President

The TCNJ Student Chemists Association (SCA) had a very busy semester. Students were actively involved in the community - volunteering at Antheil Elementary Hands on Science Night, Timberlane Middle School Science Fair, and Lawrence Science Fair. “Spectroscopes and Cupcakes” and “Biodegradable Packing Peanut” demonstrations were conducted on campus for Week of Science and Earth Day, respectively. A variety of different speakers were hosted throughout the semester, along with the “Chemistry on the Silver Screen” ACS Webinar. Students attended the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s “First Friday: The Alchemist’s Cookbook” event in Philadelphia and joined Trenton local section members in touring the River Horse Brewery in a trip graciously funded by Trenton ACS. Finally, club members enjoyed a variety of different “stressbuster” activities including rock climbing, a video game night cohosted by TCNJ’s Chemistry Honor Society Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chapter, and the second annual Chemistry Semiformal, which was catered by Momma Floras. Club President Taylor Maney accepted “Outstanding Student Chapter” and “Green Chemistry” Awards on behalf of SCA at the 249th ACS National Meeting& Exposition in Denver.



Spring 2015 National Meeting Councilors' Report

249th Spring ACS National Meeting Councilor Report

Benny Chan & Matt Crowe

Trenton Local Section of the American Chemical Society

                 Trenton ACS (TrACS) Councilors Benny Chan and Matt Crowe attended the 249th American Chemical Society National meeting in Denver, Colorado from March 21st to March 25th, 2015, along with 13,937 other attendees. The Councilors attended the National ACS Council meeting, Committee meetings, and technical symposia.

                Matt Crowe and Alternate Councilor Abby O'Connor attended new councilor orientation at which they learned about the responsibilities and opportunities of ACS Councilors. A collection of more experienced Councilors, including Benny Chan, provided guidance and advice on topics including getting involved in National ACS committees.

                Matt was recently appointed as Associate Member of the Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS). On Saturday evening, Matt attended a new member meet and greet held by the CCS. At this meeting, he became acquainted with members of this committee, the mission and vision of the committee and subcommittees, and other new members. A CCS dinner followed the meet and greet, which afforded opportunities to meet other CCS committee members and liaisons from other committees. Breakout meetings followed dinner, at which CCS was divided into subcommittees dedicated to Chemical Safety Education, Communication, and Solutions. Matt participated in the Solutions subcommittee meeting, which has the Mission statement, "The CCS Solutions subcommittee is dedicated to providing practical recommendations to remedy chemical safety concerns." On Monday morning, Matt attended the CCS Executive Meeting. Various topics were discussed, including committee budget, reports on the Education, Solutions, and Communication subcommittees, the Safety Advisory Panel, safety education guidelines, and hazard assessment. Reports were given by CCS liaisons which illuminated the important links between the CCS and other society entities including SOCED (the Committee on Education), Chemists with Disabilities, CHAS (Division of Chemical Health and Safety), and the Committee on International Activities. CCS recently participated in a strategic planning retreat, emerging with the Vision, "A culture that results in all chemical practitioners working safely," and Mission, “To promote and advance positive safety cultures by providing authoritative resources." Committee goals, formulated at the strategic planning, were also discussed, along with old business and new business. Finally, it was decided to pursue the creation of a new Chemluminary award focused on chemical safety. Matt and five other members of the CCS formed a subcommittee and met over lunch to drive this initiative forward.

                Benny was reappointed as an Associate Member of the Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA).  The meeting was held on Sunday and chaired by former ACS CEO Madeleine Jacobs, who provided a very strong leader that completely understands the inside workings of ACS.  He worked on the Membership Engagement Subcommittee and has been appointed to a taskforce to examine how we can poll our membership better to obtain more detailed data on gender, race, and other identities.  The Membership Engagement Subcommittee will be examining their charge and will work more with the Communication Subcommittee on how to communicate with the membership better.   The Programming Subcommittee will be doing more symposia at the National and Regional meetings including rising minority stars.  The Awards Subcommittee has been working on the many local section and divisional awards.  A special award, the ACS Scholars program, has reached its 20th year anniversary and boast a very strong success rate of helping minority students finish their college degrees and also many became PhD chemists.  We strongly encourage minority students in their undergraduate careers to apply to the ACS Scholars Program:

                Matt chaired, along with symposium co-chair Jani Ingram (Professor, Northern Arizona University), a symposium entitled, "Environmental Analytical Chemistry: A Tool for Introducing Research." The theme of this symposium was using the tangible, real world impact of environmentally focused research as a "hook" to get students excited about research and into a research environment for the first time. Eight invited speakers presented at the session, including two undergraduates and six professors. The maximum attendance of the symposium was ~30 audience members, and the audience and speakers interacted well with one another, enjoyed the presentations, and made professional connections that will hopefully enrich student research experiences in years to come.

                Benny chaired a symposium for Undergraduate Programs Office. He began with a 20 minute talk titled “Networking 101:  An Introvert’s Guide to Networking.”  Then he moderated a panel discussion with four other chemists on their networking experiences.  We had about 80 people attend the symposium with a lively discussion that ranged from a blind student’s approach to networking, to our worst networking experience, to the best places at the National Meeting to network. 

                On Wednesday, March 25th, Matt Crowe, Benny Chan, and Abby O'Connor attended the ACS Council Meeting. The council meeting began with a resolution honoring recently deceased councilors and a respectful moment of silence. For the business of Nominations and Elections, four nominees for President-Elect were voted upon. Allison A. Campbell and G. Bryan Balazs were chosen by the council as the two candidates for President-Elect to be voted upon by the members of the ACS. Voting on the above candidates was followed by reports from ACS President Diane Grob Schmidt, President-Elect Donna J. Nelson, Immediate Past President Tom Barton, and Executive Director Thomas N. Connelly, Jr. Donna Nelson discussed responses she received to multiple surveys polling members about areas of concern, the most prominent of which was the current mismatch between number of jobs and number of job seekers (I.e., more job seekers than jobs).

                Next, reports were given by the Elected Committees of the Council. CPC (Council Policy Committee) Vice Chair Alan Ehrlich announced bylaw revisions in the areas covering member expulsion and councilor reimbursement. Councilor reimbursement from local sections to councilors will now be up to $1750 per conference, and reimbursement from the National ACS to local sections will be 80% of that provided from local section to councilor, or up to $1400. Wayne Jones, of the Committee on Committees (ConC), discussed new Committee Chair and new Councilor training opportunities available in 2015 as well as the expectations for associate committee members. Councilors were advised to fill out the online committee preference form by June 5th, 2015 ( The Council voted to continue the Committees on Ethics and Science.

                Reports were then given by the Society Committees and the Committee on Science. The Committee on Budget and Finance discussed an increase of membership dues for full, non-student members from $158 to $162. This increase matches the increase in Consumer Price Index from 2013 to 2014. This dues increase was voted on and passed by the council, though not unanimously.

                Next, reports were given by the Council Standing Committees. Will E. Lynch, Chair of the Committee on Meetings and Expositions announced that National ACS meetings have been losing money in recent years, and that meeting registration costs will be increased to reach a break-even point. He also announced that paper copies of the meeting program will no longer be free, but sold for $10 (preregistration) or $20 (at the meeting), as an additional measure to break even financially at national meetings. These two announcements resulted in a number of comments regarding the cost of technical programming versus exposition, the possible negative impact of increasing registration costs on conference attendance, the usefulness of the mobile app versus paper programs, and other approaches to increasing conference revenue in lieu of raising registration fees. The council motioned for the board to consider presenting cost analysis of national meetings with technical and exposition components coupled and decoupled prior to deciding on increasing registration costs. The motion was voted on and passed. The Committee on Membership Affairs reported that there has been a net decrease in membership in the last year. Possible reasons for this were discussed, as well as strategies to gain new membership and retain the members we already have. The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) reported improved unemployment rates when all ACS members were considered, as well as recently graduated undergraduates. However, the latter unemployment rate was 12.9%, which is still much higher than we want for our members. Career fair numbers were shown, and the number of open positions (85) was almost an order of magnitude lower than the number of candidates on site (715).

                Next, reports of Other Committees were presented. H. N. Cheng, Chair of the Committee on International Activities (IAC), moved to create new international chapters of the ACS in India and Taiwan. Both motions are voted on and passed unanimously. A member of council asked if, in light of recent political changes, the ACS should consider the establishment of an international chapter in Cuba. This idea was received favorably, though no action was taken at the time.

                The Council meeting concluded with Todd Pagano, Associate Professor of Chemistry at RIT and Director of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Laboratory Science Technology Program, communicating his appreciation and thanks the hosts of the conference in spoken English as well as in American Sign Language (ASL).

Best Regards,

Benny Chan & Matt Crowe

Councilors of the Trenton Local Section of the American Chemical Society



Chemistry of the Silver Screen

The Trenton Section hosted its first local section event of the year on February 24. We hosted the ACS program “Chemistry of the Silver Screen” sponsored by Procter and Gamble. The event was held on The College of New Jersey campus in the Science Complex Chemistry Building in Room C-121 and included a free pizza dinner at 6:30 pm; the webinar began at 7:00pm. We learned how chemists and chemistry have influenced movies and TV shows like Breaking Bad, Gravity, Battlestar Galactica and Eureka. Learn more at


2014 Annual Report 

By Matt Crowe, 2014 Chair

The Trenton local section accomplished a great deal in 2014, despite the passing of one of its most productive and loved members, Councilor and Rider Professor Bruce Burnham. We held 13 events, engaging chemists and non-chemists of diverse backgrounds. We celebrated excellence in our section at our annual awards banquet. Andrew Chen qualified and represented the US in the International Chemistry Olympiad, winning a silver medal! We created a great new event, “Craft Distilling: The Art and Science”, which included a lecture and tasting, and was very much enjoyed by all. We collaborated with our local ACS student affiliates (TCNJ SCA and Rider University’s SAACS) to host "The Chemistry of Scent and Fragrance" webinar and hold an inter-chapter event, "Art in Chemistry", at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum. Benny Chan and the TCNJ SCA held an overbooked “Kitchen Chemistry” event at the Scotch Plains Library, where they performed demonstrations with caramelized bananas, powdered Nutella, and liquid nitrogen ice cream! Our section had a great presence in the community for National Chemistry Week (NCW). We partnered with Ewing Township, The College of New Jersey, and the TCNJ SCA at Ewing Community Fest, where we shared information about the chemistry of candy, had posters of different sweeteners, and did demonstrations of Dragon’s Breath popcorn and the chemistry of Pop Rocks. Also during NCW, we coordinated classroom chemistry demonstrations at local elementary schools, teaching students about thin layer chromatography, titrations, and the chemistry behind artificial snow, slime, and magic sand.

In summary, the Trenton local section of the ACS had a very strong year. We taught the section and local community about chemistry and careers in chemistry in fun, informative ways. In addition, we made a conscious effort to develop new events and engage segments of our community that we have not successfully engaged in the past. Our section continues to combine new ideas and enthusiasm of our newer members with the wisdom of our more experienced members, and it will be exciting to see what the future brings!