1996 Annual Report to ACS

Our section includes the entire state of Montana. Almost all of our members are within our boundaries. However, we have some members that are on special assignments and are living outside of Montana. Since communication has always been a problem, the executive committee tried to find a better way to keep our members informed and current. Dr. Doug Coe (former chair) suggested that we put our newsletter on the internet. This has been done and it has been a major breakthrough for our section. We have had a great deal of participation from our members and it has helped in answering questions that our members have about the ACS. Dr. Coe is our editor of the newsletter and we now take the material off of the Web page and produce the newsletter for mailing. Included in this report is one of our Web newsletters.

Last spring we sponsored a technical meeting at the University of Montana. This was an activity that we did quite regularly in the past, but unfortunately it has not been promoted for a period of time. It proved to be an excellent conference and the participation was very good. It gave our universities and industry an opportunity to share papers and ideas. Dr. Ed Waali (former chair) organized the conference and had everything running very smoothly. The papers were divided into two tracks, organic/biochemistry and analytical/inorganic/physical. A special lecture was presented by Dr. Andrea Stierle (former chair) entitles, Our Real Closet of Anxieties: Moral Dilemmas Created by Progress. Her keynote address was well received by the large group in attendance. It is hoped that we will be able to keep this conference going on an annual basis.

The section continues to support the chemistry olympiad and the high school participation continues to grow. We had nearly 1000 students participating in the '96 Olympiad program. A number of our small rural high schools participated this year (these schools do not teach chemistry each year) and informed us that they felt the program supported their efforts. The grant that was created by Dr. Arnold Craig (former chair) at Montana State University, was completed during the year and the results of this grant are showing rewards in high school chemistry and participation in the olympiad. The grant was entitled "Chemistry Concepts" and the concepts that were emphasized were topics that appeared to be a weakness in the participant's olympiad exams. Overall, we have seem some improvement in the students scores, but probably the best part was the development of a closer ties between the high school chemistry teachers and university chemistry teachers. The CheMST (Montana Chemistry Teachers Association), which is an affiliate of our section, has been active in the grant. The members have been very active in teacher conventions and have participated in the National Chemistry Week (NCW) activities. The membership continues to grow and with the support of the local section they have been able to start other activities. The CheMST with the support of our section and Eisenhower funds, created a series of workshops using technology in the classroom and laboratory. The teachers were using TI-82 and TI-92 calculators with CBL interfaces. These were well received and we will probably try to support more of these activities in the future.

Another highlight of the year was that Dick Holmquist (Director of the Chem Olympiad) was selected as the Northwest Regional Recipient of the James Bryant Conant Award for high school chemistry teachers. He was the guest of honor at last summer's regional conference held in Corvallis, Oregon. Dick's contribution to the State's chemistry education has been outstanding and we hope that he will gain national recognition. Dick is an excellent representative of the good Montana teachers.

Many of the members asked if there was a way that we could make an attempt to have monthly speakers at the different universities. The executive committee reviewed the idea and we have now created a program where we will support the different university's chemistry departments in bringing in speakers. We call it the Interstate-90 (I-90) circuit.

The section has been very active in helping students in science fair projects and research. Within the state there are four regional and one state science fair. The members provide supervision, expertise, and judging. The section also provides awards at all of the sites. In addition to the science fairs, we also support the Expanding Your Horizons program. This program promotes science and mathematical opportunities for girls and young women. It is well received and is good publicity for the section.

Our expertise list continues to grow and is proving to be a resource for people that have access to the internet. Dr. Andrea Stierle (former chair) is directing this program. Our members make themselves available as consultants at all levels. Areas that have been requested are: safety, technical applications, and special issues at the state and federal level. Our senators, representative and governor are aware of our expertise and concern of state and national local affairs.

In 1996 our members and student affiliates were very active in giving presentations, demonstrations in schools, malls and conventions. The National Chemistry Week program under the direction of Dr. Andrea Stierle continues to grow. She is always ready to give help and suggestions for anyone that is trying to develop a program for our youths. The ACS's Kids and Chemistry series is very popular and University of California-Irvine Outreach Program has been well received.

Our annual Fall Social was well received. This year the two day event was held at the University of Montana's Yellow Bay Biological Research Station on Flathead Lake. It was a good setting and allowed us to have an executive and general meeting. In addition to the meeting we had our ACS tour speaker. The speaker was Ann Mary Nefcy of ChemData, Inc., Littleton, Colorado. Her topic was "Soil, Sediment, and Water." This dealt with Humic Substances and it got the members involved in the discussion. The topic was ideal for our area, as we have numerous toxic sites that are currently being examined. Ann did an excellent job in presenting the material and keeping the audience actively involved.

We are pleased with the growth of our section and participation of the members. The local survey is helping to get members involved in different activities of the section. It is hope that we will continue to grow.