Report from the September-November 2011 Regional Meetings

Michael McGinnis [mbmcginnis@northgoergia.edu] and Frank Creegan [fcreegan2@washcoll.edu],

The Division of Chemical Education (CHED) was represented at the five fall ACS regional meetings in September - November 2011 by members of the Regional Meetings Committee (RMC). CHED provided $500 to each of the regions in support of their chemical education programming. In addition, RMC continues to administer the CHED Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching, which consists of $1,000 from CHED and a plaque from ACS.

CHED Region Awards for Excellence in High School Teaching: RMC continues to administer the CHED Awards. In 2011, seven awards ($1,000 from CHED; plaque from ACS) were presented at the six (including one joint) regional meetings. The awardees for the fall regional meetings were:

The 46th Midwest/39th Great Lakes Joint Regional Meeting, St Louis, MO, October 19–22, 2011.

Greg CooperThe winner of the 2011 Award for Excellence in High School Teaching (Midwest), in honor of John E Bauman, r., is Greg Cooper from Lincoln Southwest High School, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Greg earned his BS in Education from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. His first teaching position was in Columbus, NE, where he taught eighth-grade science. Greg moved back to Lincoln and took a position teaching Chemistry at Lincoln Southeast High School. While working at Southeast, Greg started working on his Master's degree and received his Master's in Education from UNL. Now at Lincoln Southwest High School, Greg teaches Honors Chem, Honors Chem II, and Forensic Science, and is assistant coach for the Science Olympiad team. He is in his sixteenth year as an educator.

Jeff Christopherson

The winner of the 2011 Award for Excellence in High School Teaching (Great Lakes) is Jeff Christopherson from Normal Community High School, Normal, Illinois.

Jeff holds a BS (with honors) and MS degree in Chemistry from Illinois State University. He has worked as a research chemist for The Upjohn Company, but found he enjoyed interacting with students and teaching more than real work. Since 1990, he has taught chemistry and honors chemistry at Normal Community High School in Normal, Illinois, as well as Biology, Earth Science, and Physical Science. For several years now, his summers have been spent teaching 100 level chemistry classes at Illinois State University.
Jeff has developed a web-based curriculum to enhance the students' classroom experience. He has also developed an Instructional Support CD containing thousands of pages of highly animated PowerPoints and hundreds of worksheets with keys (showing problems worked out in equation editor). The CD is available at no charge through his website. His website has enabled him to share and interact with teachers around the world, and he enjoys mentoring new chemistry teachers.

Jeff tries to bring a professional attitude to his students about the dangers of chemicals and how to handle them safely. His teaching style is a volatile mix of high enthusiasm, dry humor, and storytelling to explain chemical concepts. Students will rarely say "I'm bored" in his classroom. They work hard, but they have fun doing it.

The 63rd Southeast Regional Meeting, Richmond, VA, October 25-28, 2011.

Susan Smith Susan Smith is a Texas native who received her ACS certified B.S. in Chemistry, at Southern Methodist University, where she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and as the Outstanding Science Major. She received her M.S. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Southern Methodist University, supported by the National Science Foundation and a Welsh Foundation Fellowship. Susan started her chemistry career as a bench chemist in the Biochemistry Department of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Dallas, working on the synthesis of various biochemically interesting organic compounds, including an original synthesis of a spin label compound.

While her husband's service in the U.S. Navy took them to northwest Australia, Susan worked as the Public Relations Officer for U.S. Naval Communication Station, Harold E. Holt where her duties included giving technical tours of the facility and interacting with the many tourists who visited the station. Upon returning to Dallas, she began her teaching career in the General Chemistry Laboratory at Richland Community College.

Susan has started her 24th year at the Westminster Schools of Augusta, where she teaches College Preparatory Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and Advanced Placement Chemistry, She is the chair of the Science Department, the head coach of the Science Olympiad Team, and serves on the Academic and National Honor Society Committees.

Susan has been the recipient of the Denise Creech Award for Outstanding Chemistry Teacher (2010), awarded by the CSRA Section of the American Chemical Society, the Green-Orr Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007), the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics (AFCEA), Augusta/Fort Gordon Chapter Teaching Tools Award (1999), the Augusta WJBF TV Golden Apple Award (1995) and was selected as Star Teacher in 1996 and 2009. More significantly, her former students are successful engineers, material scientists, physicians, medical students, dental students, and nursing students, and credit their Chemistry courses at Westminster as a factor in their successes.

Susan is married to Stanley Thomas Smith, Jr., M.D., and has three adult children, the oldest of whom graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the U.S. Naval Academy. Her present community involvement includes First Presbyterian Church, the Augusta Symphony Guild, and All Seasons Garden Club.

The 67th Southwest Regional Meeting, Austin, TX, November 9-12, 2011.

Michael Trulson, Ph.D.The winner of the 2011 Award for Excellence in High School Teaching in the Southwest Region is Michael Trulson, Ph.D., from the Highlands School
Dallas-Fort Worth Local Section.

Michael earned his BA in General Science, and both MA and PhD in Biopsychology from the University of Iowa. He then joined the Neuroscience Program for post-doctoral training at Princeton University, where he was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. After serving as Director of the Neurochemistry Laboratory at Princeton, Dr. Trulson taught at a variety of colleges and universities for several more years before being persuaded by a Jesuit Priest, the late Fr. Jack Deeves, to take a one-year sabbatical from college to teach science at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, a college prep school for girls. Dr. Trulson ended up staying at Ursuline for 9 years, during which he earned Teacher of the Year and Work of Heart Awards. He is currently Science Department Chair at The Highlands School, a college prep school offering single gender education to both boys and girls, in Irving, TX. Dr. Trulson has a vision of combining his extensive knowledge of neuroscience and 35 years of teaching experience to evolve a new paradigm for science education.

The 43rd Western Regional Meeting, Pasadena, CA, November 10-12, 2011.

Brent ShentonThe winner of the 2011 Award for Excellence in High School Teaching in the Western Region is Brent Shenton from Valencia High School, Placentia, California.

Brent received his California Teaching Credentials allowing him to teach in all fields of science in 1983. He first taught Life and Physical Science courses at Marina High School from 1983-1984 and then moved to Valencia High School in Placentia in 1984 where he first taught chemistry and remains there to this day. Brent oversaw the growth and development of the chemistry program which grew from three sections of college preparatory chemistry to six sections of college preparatory chemistry, three sections of honors chemistry, one section of AP Chemistry and one section of International Baccalaureate Higher Level Chemistry last year. Three other teachers taught chemistry courses at the school last year. All three were former students in his classes. He coached the school's Science Olympiad Team from 1996 to 2001. In the last two of those years his team finished in third place at the state tournament. He is currently coordinator for the Orange County Chemistry Olympiad and has served in that capacity for the last 14 years.

2012 Regional Meetings

In 2012, there will be eight regional meetings with CHED representatives present as facilitators of the chemical education effort. If anyone is interested in serving as a CHED representative at a regional meeting, please contact Mike McGinnis <mbmcginnis@northgeorgia.edu> or Frank Creegan <fcreegan2@washcoll.edu>. For updated information about the meetings, go to the regional meetings link on the ACS website.

  • Mid-Atlantic (43rd MARM), May 31- June 2 Baltimore, MD
  • Central (43rd CERM), June 5-9 Dearborn, MI
  • Northwest (67th NORM), June 24-27 Boise, ID
  • Northeast (38th NERM), September 30- October 3 Rochester, NY
  • Rocky Mountain (23rd RMRM), October 17-20 Westin Westminster, CO
  • Midwest (47th MWRM), October 24-27 Omaha, NE
  • Southeast (64th SERMACS), November 14-17 Raleigh, NC
  • Southwest (68th SWRM), November 4-7 Baton Rouge, LA

The Great Lakes and Western regional meetings will not be held in 2012.

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