1993 Annual Report to ACS

During 1993 the MONTANA SECTION OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY continued three themes which have guided the success of this diverse group in recent years. Enhancement of education opportunity is the key concept for our section; this initiative crosses age barriers from pre-school through post-graduate and targets a variety of sectors including under-represented groups such as girls and women, and general society which has needs regarding the role that science plays in the broader culture. Service to the Montana ACS membership and to a variety of selected organizations also played a significant role in our sectional activity during 1993. Finally, linkage of communication with and between chemically oriented groups and individuals in Montana completed our main initiatives. Clearly, these three themes are related to each other and overlap to some degree. This summary will reflect our efforts in these areas as we attempted to contribute to the health of chemical science.

In education the MONTANA SECTION touched the entire state through National Chemistry Week involvement. Educational materials were provided to classrooms, chemistry demonstrations were conducted, and special events were sponsored. As in the past, the Butte, Montana area, led by ACS members at Montana Tech, including former chairs Drs. Andrea and Don Stierle, had the most intensive effort. Although NCW was the focal point of education, similar efforts such as visitation of classrooms and demonstration occurred throughout the year. The early spring of the year found ACS members working with students throughout the state in finishing science fair projects, organizing science fairs, and providing expert judges to the competitions. ACS members played key roles in the culminating event, the Montana Science Fair in Missoula in April. The Chemistry Olympiad was a particular gem in the educational realm. Led by one of Montana's outstanding high school chemistry educators and ACS member, Gary Freebury of Kalispell, 1000 students received a locally designed exam, with the top eight students receiving awards from the MONTANA SECTION. The educational highlight of the year was the funding and initiation of the program CHEMISTRY CONCEPT WORKSHOPS. Spearheaded by ACS member and former sectional chairperson, Dr. Arnold Craig of Montana State University, this National Science Foundation supported program is intended to provide exceptional continuing education opportunity for Montana's Secondary Science Teachers. The first workshop was held in Bozeman in August, with four additional gatherings to occur throughout the state in 1994. The MONTANA SECTION provided support, planning, and the professional expertise of members to this new initiative. Reflecting interest in providing educational opportunity to industrial members of our section, graduate students, and active University researchers, the MONTANA SECTION, in conjunction with the Department of Chemistry, Montana State University, sponsored the ACS Satellite Symposium on Molecular Modeling in March. Distance learning opportunities such as this represent the beginnings of new prototypes for delivery which are especially critical in a vast state like Montana.

In service the MONTANA SECTION's activities were highlighted by a rare opportunity for us. Under the guidance of ACS member, Dr. Richard Field, and with the sponsorship from the University of Montana and the MONTANA SECTION of the ACS, the Rocky Mountain Chairs Conference was held in Missoula in October. This yearly meeting of the Chemistry Department Chairs from the Rocky Mountain West provided invaluable exposure of key chemical professionals to Montana, and provided a chance for local ACS members to meet counterparts in the region. Furthermore, in June the National Organic Chemistry Symposium was held for the second time on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman. ACS councilor, Dr. Wyn Jennings, and Dr. Arnold Craig were the catalysts for this incredible conference. Once again, this meeting yielded rare opportunity for the world to meet Montana and visa versa. Many MONTANA SECTION members were in attendance at this overflow gathering. As has been the case for some time, ACS members conducted chemical safety workshops and audits of school laboratory facilities. Organized by Russ Hartford and Gary Freebury of Kalispell, these initiatives provided not only a service, which in some cases may have led to identification of potentially hazardous storage or operation conditions, but also provided educational updating and liaison, which significantly altered the environment of chemical experimentation in the state. Additional service was reflected in the consultative work of our members, who gave advice and analytical expertise in formal to informal settings throughout the year. Two prominent vehicles for identification by the public of our capabilities in this regard can be found in our Speakers' Bureau listing and the ACS Directory of Expertise and Facilities for the Montana Section. Every attempt has been made to secure the widest possible distribution of these documents in Montana. A number of our members participated in and provided leadership to local sites throughout the state in the highly successful program: Expanding Your Horizons. EYH promotes science and mathematical opportunities for girls and young women, and has been an enlarging program in Montana recently.

To foster communication between our members, and extending a tradition of more than half a decade, the MONTANA SECTION sponsored the annual Fall Social Gathering in October. Held this year near Helena, Montana at the Canyon Ferry Limnological Institute, the social was once again a dramatic success. Hosted by Institute directors Marilyn and Gil Alexander, who are active ACS members, the social combined the greatest occasion for our members to interact in the context of a delightful evening of science, philosophy, and reflection. The major attraction was ACS Tour Speaker, Dr. George Bodner of Purdue University. Dr. Bodner captivated the audience with his talk: "The Mismeasure of Man," which gave us all considerable food for thought regarding the promise and limits of scientific inquiry. The vitality of this event will undoubtedly assume high attendance at meetings of this type in the future. Communication outside our section was encouraged by attendance of members at the Fall Meeting of the Montana Education Association and the Spring Meeting of the Montana Academy of Sciences, an affiliated organization. We continued a long relationship with the Montana Science Teachers Association. In total, these efforts highlight but do not exhaust the accomplishments of our sparsely populated, but intensely motivated section. We are confident that the events of 1993 suggest even more to come in the coming years which will conclude this century.