Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society

We are a dynamic and visionary organization committed to improving people’s lives in our community through the transforming power of chemistry.  We strive to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren counties.

Message from the KACS Chair

Kalamazoo American Chemical Society Members, I look forward to serving as your chair during 2021. I will work closely with Ben Maxey, Chair-elect, Hershel Jude, Past-chair, Doug Williams, Treasurer, James Redwine, Secretary, Lydia Hine, Councilor, all the chairs of our committees and you the members to make this a scientifically and socially beneficial year.

My goals for our section this year are three: to increase member participation, to continue providing interesting scientific activities for members and our community, and to continue serving as a platform for our chemists to reach out to teachers and students.

I recognize many of the activities during 2020 were postponed or cancelled for our section and in our own lives. As much as possible, activities were conducted virtually: our monthly executive committee meetings, award ceremonies, Project Seed, and Chemistry Week. It looks as though this will continue, as our first executive committee meeting was held virtually.

Our challenges for this year are several. For at least the first six months, we will conduct all meetings and activities virtually. Already the Borgess Marathon in May has been cancelled, and our section previously provided a water stop on the race. It is a challenge to have networking and socializing in this time of isolation and mask usage. I look for your suggestions to facilitate our activities. In addition, important committee chairs remain unfilled. The chair of the Education Committee, who oversees awards to teacher and students, administers a high school chemistry exam and conducts outreach to schools in Kalamazoo, Van Buren, and Allegan Counties, has been vacant for two years. Individuals have stepped up to keep most educational activities moving forward, but we need a greater commitment from our local section. We also have an opening for the chair of the Women's Chemist Committee. Please contact me if these two positions might be of interest to you.

Speaking of opportunities, I see many that lie ahead for us this year. We successfully conducted a Speed Networking event in which over 25 mentors and 25 students participated. We have been in touch with seven Michigan ACS Sections and have the opportunity to trade tips and possible seminars virtually. I attended the Fall 2020 ACS Meeting on-line and was impressed with the ease of participation and the quality of the talks. I expect no less from the Spring National Meeting. I encourage you to attend. The registration fee is $99 for members, $29 for students, and free for retirees. We have the opportunity to host speakers monthly via Zoom. A pilot meeting in the fall, a recognition event for Lydia Hines, proved quite successful in having the section participate virtually. Hopefully with vaccinations, mask wearing and social distancing, we will be able to return to some kind of normal in the fall. This could include Chemistry Week, Recycle a Poster, and other activities.

I am very excited about serving as your chair, and meeting new people. We will build on our section's past successes and have many positive moments to reflect on by the end of the year!

Ed Thomas
KACS 2021 Chair