Trenton ACS Local Section


The Alembic: September 2015

Posted on October 12, 2015 at 4:55 PM




Call For Service!

Seeking Nominations for the Trenton Section ACS Board of Directors

Next month, the Trenton Local Section will hold officer elections. Check out next month’s Alembic for nominations and voting information. Online ballots will be available, and members are encouraged to vote online. The following positions are up for election. Please nominate yourself or another section member and participate in the governance of your local section. The Trenton ACS is especially excited to solicit new members to serve as director on the executive board!

Chairperson Elect – With the board, helps to acquire speakers for general meetings, helps run meetings, participates in decision making and planning, after one year becomes Chairperson. (Chairperson –Directs board meetings, introduces speakers at general meetings, with the help of the board plans section activities.)

Directors – Participate in decision making and planning, help to find speakers, help to operate section activities.

Treasurer – A Director who is also responsible for recording and reporting section finances.

Secretary – A Director who is also responsible for keeping minutes of Trenton Section board meetings.

Contact Section Chair Abby O’Connor ( or Section Secretary Allen Pulchalski ( with nominations for any position on the board by Friday October 9, 2015.


Next month, the Trenton Local Section will hold officer elections. Check out next month’s Alembic for nominations and voting information. Please nominate yourself or another section member and participate in the governance of your local section.


The Trenton Section ACS is involved in many activities. Events such as National Chemistry Week and the Chemistry Olympiad require the help of many volunteers. The local section runs only by the efforts of volunteers who sit on and chair the Local Section Board. At every meeting we talk, laugh, and facilitate the goals of the section. The Board has a few positions that need to be filled, if you are interested, (or know someone who is interested) please let us know.


Upcoming Event!

Volunteers needed for National Chemistry Week 2015 Color Activities Night

Where & When: Frick Chemistry Laboratory on Friday, October 23, 6:30-9:30 pm.

Supervised hands-on activities will be provided in Taylor Commons and the General Chemistry labs and a program of demonstrations will be repeated 4-5 times in Taylor Auditorium.

Volunteers supervise activities and present demonstrations in the auditorium shows. Volunteers are also needed for set-up, clean-up, registration, and crowd control, and for event preparation. See details below. If you would like to help, or if you have program suggestions, email Dr. Kathryn Wagner ( as soon as possible for more information.

Note for those who plan to attend: Advanced online registration is required. We are limiting this year's guest list to 750 and giving guests a choice of two start times, 6:30 or 7:30. To be admitted guests must present a copy of their email confirmation with their start time and the number of guests in their party.

Avoid disappointment by registering early at


Volunteer needs (Times periods indicate when coverage is needed. Schedules will be worked out based on the availability of individual volunteers):

On Friday, October 23:

• Help with set-up (between 3:30 and 6:15 pm) and clean-up (9:30-10:30 pm).

• Supervise and facilitate hands-on activities. (6:00-9:30pm) May require training. Since a large number of guests are expected and the time has been extended to 3 hours, we need multiple volunteers for each activity. We would like to provide every guest the opportunity to do every major activity. For one 15-minute activity we need continuous coverage of 10-12 stations, enough for 60+ guests. For a 10-minute activity we need to cover 7-8 stations for 40+ guests. For a 5-minute activity we need to cover 4 stations for 20+ guests. Ideally we'll have more volunteers than stations for each activity to give more personal attention to guests, to wrangle materials efficiently, and (very important) to allow breaks for volunteers.

• Present demonstrations in the auditorium show. (6:00-9:30pm) Requires training and rehearsal.

• Act as gatekeepers. (6:00-8:30pm) Collect confirmation tickets, make sure the number of people in the party matches the number on the confirmation, and keep others from entering.

• Distribute and collect goggles and other protective gear (6:30-9:30pm). Clean goggles (9:30-10pm).

• Distribute programs and materials (6:30-8:30pm)

• Direct traffic flow. (6:30-9:30pm) We will start incoming guests at different stations throughout the atrium, gen chem labs and auditorium and encourage them to move from activity to activity in ways that make best use of their time. We will also need people to make sure that guests find the auditorium, restrooms, and water refill station and that guests do not enter research or administrative areas of the building.

• Record the event. (6:30-9:30pm) Take pictures of those who have given prior written permission (i.e.-are not wearing "no photos" stickers) and who are wearing safety glasses and other appropriate safety gear for possible publication, with attribution, online or in magazines.

Before the event:

• Make signs and/or informational posters for the activities

• Make additional informational posters about the chemistry of color and color-related chemistry

• Organize materials for the event


This year's theme is "Chemistry Colors Our World." Community members are invited to use chemistry to dye cloth, marble paper, change colors, separate colors, and more. They can also see some fireworks colors and learn about how we see colors. A flyer is attached. Feel free to circulate it. The event is free and open to the public. Recommended for ages 5 and up. (Under 13 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.)




Councilor’s Report from the Fall 2015 National ACS Meeting

By Benny Chan and Matt Crowe


Councilor’s short report; full report can be found on our website.


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



What has the Trenton Section been up to?

1. Philadelphia Inorganic Colloquium

By Abby O’Connor


The Trenton ACS helped sponsor and coordinate the second Philadelphia Inorganic Colloquium (PIC) which was held on Saturday September 12, 2015 at The College of New Jersey. Over 80 people were registered to attend the daylong colloquium, which consisted of lectures and a poster session. Professor Brad Carrow, Princeton University, Annalese Maddox, Gelest, Dr. Anders Laursen, Rutgers, and Professor Kate Plass, Franklin and Marshall gave keynote lectures. The colloquium was organized by Professors Graham Dobereiner and Abby O’Connor (chair Trenton ACS). The next PIC will be at the University of Delaware in January or February. Members of the area local section, along with students, faculty and postdocs from the area were in attendance. This was a very successful event that the Trenton section will continue to help sponsor.


Active discussion during poster session.



2. Project SEED

By Danielle Jacobs


This summer marked another successful summer of ACS Project SEED at Rider University. The Project SEED program at Rider, coordinated by Dr. Danielle Jacobs since 2009, provides a $2,500 fellowship to 3-4 economically disadvantaged high school students to participate in seven weeks of summer research in one of their faculty's academic laboratories. The 2015 Project SEED fellows were:

Mideum (Abraham) Park, a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, who worked with Dr. Jacobs on the development of an efficient and robust protocol for the microwave-promoted acidic dehydration of phenylethanol and other alcohols.

Haniyyah Sardar, a freshman at New York University (formerly of Council Rock High School), who worked with Dr. Jamie Ludwig to design new biocatalytic strategies, as well as to develop new labs for Dr. Ludwig's upcoming Biochemistry I Lab at Rider.

Khari Butler-Samuels, a senior at Foundation Collegiate Academy in Trenton, who worked with Dr. John Bochanski on the development of new, reliable computational tools to distinguish distant M Giants in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.


Another important feature of the Project SEED program is its emphasis on career development and its motivation of students to pursue higher education in the natural sciences. To that end, Project SEED fellows and their faculty mentors visited various chemical and chemistry-related industries, including Church & Dwight (Princeton), Pflaumer Brothers (Ewing), Agilent Technologies (Wilmington, DE), Ocean County Forensics Lab (Toms River), ChemGlass (Vineland), and Wheaton Arts (Millville). Every Thursday, the SEED fellows, undergraduate lab peers, and faculty mentors collaborated over a "working lunch" together, wherein each student researcher would present their research, receive feedback and suggestions, and overall hone their skills in scientific literacy and oral communication. Project SEED fellows also received counseling on applying to and paying for college.

At the end of the summer, the three Project SEED fellows joined Dr. Jacobs at the 250th National ACS Conference in Boston, MA to present their research at the Sci-Mix poster session.

Rider’s involvement in Project SEED was initiated in 1976 by Dr. Bill McCarroll and Dr. John Sheats, Professors Emeritus. They realized that the community encompassing Rider demonstrates a necessity for the ACS program. Lack of monetary and educational resources within many areas of Mercer and Bucks county impede exposure of under-serviced high school students to science as a profession. Rider’s SEED program addresses this gap, with opportunities for mentorship within the department and local industry. Over the past 40 years, the national Project SEED program has grown to become one of the most significant educational programs nationwide. Most of Project SEED’s 8,000+ alumni have attended college, and often graduate or professional school, to pursue the sciences. No matter what path they later travel, all SEED participants are armed with the confidence and drive to pursue their desired career.

Rider University's Project SEED program would not be possible without the generous funding of the National ACS, the Trenton Section of the American Chemical Society, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporation.


3. Annual Awards Dinner

By Abby O’Connor


The Trenton ACS held the annual awards dinner and banquet on May 13, 2015, at Tessara restaurant in Hamilton, NJ. About 50 people were in attendance at the dinner, in which the local section gave out a number of awards. Fifty-year members of the ACS were recognized with awards. We thanks Carlo Alfare, Larry Davis, Joesph Dziedzic, Michael Falkiewicz, Waldemar Palaitis, Robert Robertson, Richard Saferstein, and Donald Schulz for years of service to ACS. In addition, local section high school student Nisita Dutta, from Hightstown High School, was awarded a scholarship and Arvinth Sethuraman, from West Windsor-Plainsboro North, was awarded the Roeser Scholarship. Sebastian Cwalina was recognized as a second year scholar. Susan Knox, from TCNJ, Andrew Jemas, from Rider, Michael Vetick from Mercer County, Alyssa Rina, from Raritan Valley, and Cesar Clarke, from Raritan Valley, were recognized as outstanding area college students and received monetary awards. The Olympiad finalists were also recognized by Danielle Jacobs, who coordinated the competition for the Princeton and Trenton Sections. Abraham Park was chosen as a finalist to attend the UNSCO study camp. Each year the Trenton and Princeton Section recognize outstanding area high school teachers. Awards were given to Jane Spencer who teaches at Princeton Day School, and to Raman Nadadhur, who teaches at Trenton Central. The final award recognized an outstanding outreach volunteer. Benny Chan, local section councilor and member of the committee of minority affairs, received this award.

High school student award scholarship recipients.

Fifty-year ACS members.




Goals for the Upcoming Year from the Student Affiliates


TCNJ’s Student Chemists Association (SCA) by Katherine Fomchenko


This year, the SCA has numerous events planned. Our organization participates in many service events throughout the year, such as performing informative chemistry demonstrations, as well as participating in local science fairs such as the Lawrence Science and Engineering Fair and the Timberlane Middle School Science Fair. In addition to this, we will continue participating in the Connect Program, which promotes interest in the sciences at the high school level. TCNJ chemistry students present their research at local high schools to show the students what pursuing a college career in science entails. We also plan to explore additional service opportunities, such as volunteering at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and partnering with TCNJ’s Environmental Club to raise awareness about green chemistry during Earth Week. In order to prepare students at TCNJ for careers outside of college, our chapter will also participate in many career development events. We will to continue to host ACS webinars and colloquium speakers at TCNJ, as well as sending representatives to the 251st ACS National Conference in 2016 to present a poster on our chapter activities and increase awareness of TCNJ in the national chemistry community. This year, we have also partnered with TCNJ’s chapter of the Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society to have short presentations on various sub-disciplines of chemistry and research opportunities in the Chemistry Department at the beginning of SCA's biweekly meetings. Other events that SCA plans to participate in this year are the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s First Friday event in Philadelphia and the Chemistry Department’s Thanksgiving Potluck, as well as holding chapter development events such as rock climbing, laser tag, and our chemistry semi-formal. We will also be participating in the Chemistry Department’s “Happy Hours” for freshmen chemistry majors, where freshmen can get to know each other and upperclassmen in the department as well as participate in chemistry-themed social events, such as our liquid nitrogen ice cream social and green chemistry scavenger hunt. In the past, we have had inter-chapter relations at the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s First Friday event, and we would like to reach out to other chapters to participate in other events with us.


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


Rider University SAACS will be focusing on three major events this fall semester. We will be performing demonstrations and making rainbow slime with PVA powder for National Chemistry week in October. We will be explaining the chemistry of color in a way everyone can understand. For our next project, in order to build a stronger sense of community between our faculty and students, we will be hosting a peanut butter and jelly mixer for all who are interested. This mixer will include peanut butter, jelly and some entertaining team building exercises as students and faculty just relax and get to know each other. Last but not least, we are planning a professional networking event for professionals and students. This will include a question and answer section for professionals, followed by a networking mingle session.




Trenton Section

American Chemical Society

PO Box 55633

Trenton, NJ 08638


Serving Central NJ for over 50 Years



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