Trenton ACS Local Section


The Alembic: February 2016

Posted by Crowe, Matthew on April 3, 2016 at 2:10 PM


February 2016

Election Results


Thank you to all the members who voted in the Trenton ACS Election in the fall of 2015. The results were as follows:


Chair-Elect: Abby O'Connor

Secretary: Danielle Guarracino

Treasurer: Danielle Jacobs

Director-at-Large (2015-2017): Joe Baker, Jaime Ludwig, William McCarroll, Allen Pulchalski



A look back at notable Trenton Section events in 2015


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 Museum. This 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!




Upcoming Events, Opportunities and Scholarship Information


2016 TrACS College Scholarship

The Trenton Local Section of the ACS proudly announces their 2016 Scholarship Competition. We will be offering several scholarships to current high school seniors that will be going to college in an area of chemistry. Applications are due April 4, 2016. Award winners will be honored at our annual dinner in early May. Application information can be found here:


Support for K-12 Teachers

The Trenton Local Section will be sponsoring teachers in our local section to join the newly formed American Association of Chemistry Teachers ( We will offer a 50% supplement to the membership fee ($25 for the $50 membership). Teachers who join in this fashion will also become associate members of the local section. Please contact Benny Chan,, for additional information.

Mentoring Opportunities

We are seeking members who are interested in mentoring local high school students to pursue college degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Through many of our programs at TCNJ and Rider, we have discovered the importance of mentoring, particularly for underrepresented minorities. We are hoping the active mentoring will assist students to enter local and regional science competitions. Students from Rider and TCNJ will assist in the mentoring. We will offer a short training session before the mentoring activities. Interested members should contact Benny Chan,


Alternative Warm weather Activities

The Trenton Local Section has been exploring different ways of interacting with the professionals in the area. We have had successful networking sessions at the wonderful Vault Brewing Company. To create a more inclusive environment, we will be hosting a family friendly picnic at a local park this summer. Look for these activities when the weather gets better.


From the Chemical Heritage Museum: It Pays to Be Tacky: Lessons Learned in Growing a Small Specialty Chemical Company

This month’s Joseph Priestley Society program features a keynote address by David DeVore. Since 2004 DeVore has been an owner and the president of Functional Products Inc.

In his talk DeVore will share his successes and challenges in running a small chemical company over the past 12 years with the hope that others may be emboldened or cautioned in launching their own enterprise. It will be a whirlwind talk, touching on many different aspects of leadership in small-business enterprise, such as how to find companies to acquire, how to finance companies, hiring good people, firing underperformers, setting objectives, competing against multibillion-dollar firms, and selling both to the world’s largest firms and to “two-man shops.” The message is simple: lead technically, kill for customers, and do it every day.

Details: March 10, 2016, 11:30am – 2pm

Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St., Philadelphia PA 19106

Networking & Lunch with talk at 1pm

Please register using this link:



Updates from the Student Affiliates


The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Student Chemists Association (SCA) Fall 2015 Activities

By Katie Fomchenko, SCA President


SCA had a very successful semester. We held biweekly meetings throughout the course of the semester where members were informed of the organization’s upcoming events. Our first meeting pizza party was a resounding success, with over 45 people in attendance. We sustained significant involvement from freshmen chemistry majors over the course of the semester, leading us to add segments of our meetings to inform younger students of career options. At each meeting, a member of TCNJ’s Chemical Honor Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon (GSE) presented about a potential career path that one can pursue with an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Fundraising events for the semester included our annual goggle sale and a TCNJ chemistry apparel sale featuring a design created by one of our members.


SCA participated in many events throughout the course of the semester. On September 12th, members of SCA volunteered to help with the Philadelphia Inorganic Colloquium (PIC), hosted at TCNJ by Dr. Abby O’Connor and Dr. Graham Dobereiner. Volunteers attended the presentations and poster session for this event, which was an excellent opportunity to network and learn about the field of inorganic chemistry. On October 17th, nine members volunteered to participate in Chem Expo, a National Chemistry Week (NCW) event held at Liberty Science Center; members presented a demonstration about spectroscopes and the colors of emission spectra of various light sources. Volunteers had fun presenting the demo, exploring the museum, watching various demonstrations, and meeting members of other ACS affiliated student chapters. Another NCW event that members volunteered to participate in was Princeton University’s Color Activities Night on October 23rd. Members guided children and adult attendees through a marker chromatography experiment and enjoyed networking with chemists and chemistry majors from many organizations and universities. Members attended the Tales of Lab Safety ACS Webinar on October 20th, hosted in the TCNJ Chemistry building, where they learned about the importance of safe lab practices and how to address various safety concerns.


In addition to these events, members participated in a number of chapter development events. Members participated in “stress busters,” such as rock climbing and a night of playing Cards Against Humanity. SCA members also planned and participated in freshmen “Happy Hours,” where freshmen were able to bond with each other and meet upperclassmen. Freshmen also participated in events such as a “meet your general chemistry professor” social, a panel on research in the department from current research students, and discussions on transitions into college life and success in college. On October 23rd, upperclassmen led chemistry major freshmen through SCA’s Green Chemistry Scavenger Hunt for the last Happy Hour of the semester. Some tasks from the scavenger hunt included “Take a picture with your group on the steps of a hall whose name could indicate that that they minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances” (Green Hall) and to create a skit based on one of the principle of green chemistry. A prize of a trip to a local frozen yogurt store was awarded to the winning team. The last major event of the semester was the Chemistry Thanksgiving Departmental Potluck, which was well attended by students and faculty. This was a busy and fun semester for the Student Chemists Association!


Rider University’s Student Affiliate of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) Fall 2015 Activities

By Anthony Borkowski, SAACS President


During the course of the 2015 Fall semester, the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society at Rider University focused primarily on community service and rebuilding our member base after graduation and lack of leadership reduced our numbers. For the benefit of the community, in coordination with the chemistry department at Mercer County Community College, during National Chemistry Week three of our members traveled to two different elementary schools to perform demonstrations and explain the science of colors to children of different grade levels. We were able to make discussions of color changing pH- and temperature-sensitive systems both entertaining and easy to understand for their grade levels while also introducing to them fun and scientifically accurate vocabulary words through fun demonstrations of fake snow.

Rebuilding our member base was accomplished primarily through hosting ACS webinars from the “Program in a Box” series of videos, in addition to their other ongoing series which discuss medicine, pharmacokinetics, and the role chemistry plays ensuring compliance with state and federal laws with respect to the legal marijuana industry. On November 11th we replayed the Chemistry of the Silver Screen webinar from February 2015 to demonstrate how producers and scientists can come together to tell stories that are both entertaining and scientifically more robust than those Sci-Fi films of previous eras of film. On November the 19th, webinars on fragment based drug design and the chemical analysis of marijuana products were shown after a vote on the interests of the students. As many of the students had expressed interest in medical careers, the webinar Fragment Based Drug Design Strategies was shown to give students an idea of the types of research going on, and methods used, to create and test new medications. The video Cannabis Chemistry 201 was selected to demonstrate to students the serious scientific processes that go into designing and testing legal marijuana products for sale in states where recreational consumption has been recently legalized. Altogether, between both events, a total of twenty-six students attended the events.



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