October 25th, 2005 Executive Committee Minutes

Stephanie Hurst, Secretary

The Executive Committee of the Montana Section of the American Chemical Society met on Sunday September 25th at the El-Western Conference Centre in Ennis, Montana.

Those present were

Chair:               Earle Adams

Secretary:         Stephanie Hurst

Treasurer:         Anthony Haag

Chair Elect:       Kyle Strode

Councillor:        Cyd McClure

                        Dick Holmquist

                        Gary Freebury

                        Doug Cameron (Had to leave early)

                        Doug Coe

The meeting was opened at 8:40 AM as part of the agenda for the Fall Social.


Specific Discussion Items


1) Discussion on Rocky Mountain Circuit speaker seminar.


The discussion opened with a short recap from Kyle Strode about his attendance at the leadership Meeting. The discussion then moved quickly to the selection of a speaker from the Rocky Mountain speaker list. Jim Caroll (sp?) a past ACS national president was a potential nominee for the Spring of 2006.


A current Circuit speaker Joe Vincent had arrived unexpectedly, but gave a welcome presentation in Butte in early September 2005.


It was decided by consensus that the difficulty in scheduling an ACS circuit speaker at multiple Montana location might be overly problematic. A current Rocky Mountain Circuit speaker; Caroline Fisher, is scheduled to give a talk on “Herbs and Spices” at the University of Missoula on Friday 21st October. It was unknown if she would be available to speak in Bozeman at Montana State University on the following Monday.


A four school (UM, Carroll, Montana Tech and MSU) four day state tour was considered a strong possibility, since the travel distances involved would be much reduced per day, and would reduce excess travel between cities for the audiences. It was suggested that Dr. Burke Knighton of the MSU chemistry department was working in a subject area of significant common interest, and who might be amenable to this suggestion. It was voted to approach Dr. Knighton with this suggestion


Action Item: Cyd, can you please talk to Dr. Knighton about a short speaking tour.



2) Spring Meeting in Miniature


A thread from the above discussion was the possibility of having Garon Smith give a talk on Coal bed methane extraction, a scientific topic of considerable current interest in Montana. This topic was linked to the topic of Coal Gasification via the Fischer-Tropsch process, as well as Ethanol Production and Fuel Cells. A possible point-counterpoint debate was suggested, since a previous use of this format on cyanide leach mining had been well attended. It was decided that this would serve as a very good outreach project to raise the profile of the local and national ACS.


It was suggested that if the Coal Gasification topic was to be a focus point, we could potentially entice the Governor to give an address, as this is a favourite project of his. The Governor is scheduled to speak at an Energy Summit in Bozeman at MSU on 18-19th October 2005. We would need to approach his aides well in advance to secure his attendance. It was further suggested that this could potentially incorporated as a feature of the Spring 2006 Meeting in Miniature.


Billings was suggested as a good location for the Spring Meeting in Miniature for several reasons. It would allow industry chemists from the Billings area to attend. It would allow outreach to the Native American population of the nearby tribal colleges, which would address the paucity of Native American students who are members of the ACS at any level. It would be close geographically to the proposed coal reserves at Ashland, MT that border the Crow Reservation.


The best open available date was decided to be the 7-8th April 2006, which is a week before Easter (16th April 2006), and after the National ACS meeting in Atlanta, GA (26-30th March 2006).


Action Item: Kyle will contact someone he knows who works in the capitol to find out the Governors potential schedule. Doug Cameron will contact people at Rocky Mountain College and MSU-Billings to see who would be willing to host this event. Dick will contact Garon Smith as a potential back up speaker.



3) Leadership Meeting


The suggestion was proposed that the current leadership positions be extended to 2-year terms. This was a reflection on the sentiment that it often took a year just to learn the leadership position. The by-laws require that we have election before the end of the year. One suggestion was to submit a ballot with only the current position holders named. A write-in slot would be included on the ballot for any members who wished to nominate someone else.


It was suggested that the ballot should include personal information on the nominees to give people a better idea of whom their local representatives were.


The creation of a position of Chair-Elect-Elect (or Chair-Elect2) was suggested. This position would prepare people for the eventual position of Chair while giving them a chance to “grow” into the position fully. It was also agreed to send the current Leadership back to the next leadership meeting. It was also tentatively agreed to schedule the next Fall Social for either the 23rd or 30th September 2006.


Action Item: Dick will determine just what we can and cannot do with regards to local and national level by-laws for the November election.


4) Section Service Award


Doug Coe moved and Gary Freebury seconded moved that Emeritus Professor Arnold Craig be awarded a Section Service Award for his past work for the local ACS section.


Action Item: Doug volunteered to Gary can you please research what this would involve. If the board approves it, perhaps we could present this award at the Spring 2006 meeting?



5) Outreach Activity – State Science Fair


Dick Holmquist gave a recap of the “Weird Science Guys” who has given a very well received show at the 2005 Montana State Science Fair in Missoula. It was suggested that the monetary input of the ACS in obtaining the services of the “Weird Science Guys” be reflected in future public relations (PR) activities. The next State Science Fair will be held in Missoula on the first Monday of April (3rd April 2006). Dick recommended Leroy Hood as a potential speaker for the Science Fair, depending on his availability. Leroy Hood is a professor from the University of Washington with an interest in genomics, and is a good speaker and communicator.


Action Item: Dick, can you please check Leroy Hood’s availability for early next April (2006).



6) Outreach Activity – Undergraduate Involvement


The undergraduate students present at the meeting gave their thanks and input to the committee. It was suggested that in future that the student subsidy be announced well in advance of the next meeting. A sliding scale of subsidies might serve to attract more undergraduates to the meetings. The sliding scale would reward oral presentations the most, followed by poster presentations, with only a small subsidy for students not presenting. This subsidy would potentially cover travel and lodging in Billings for the Spring 2006 meeting.


Action Item: All member, please determine what would be an appropriate sliding scale reimbursement policy, and what the overall cap on reimbursements might be.



6) Outreach Activity – Science Teacher Involvement


Steve Eversoll (a Montana high school science teacher) approached the local board at the previous (Spring 2005) meeting with a proposal to organize a meeting for Montana science teachers at Canyon Ferry Dam to identify and correct deficit areas of the state chemistry curriculum. At that meeting the board agreed that the idea had merit, but the proposal required more work and focus. This point was reiterated. Gary Freebury indicated he would take to Steve Eversoll and Earle Adams to continue to help with the refinement of this proposal. The proposal would be submitted to the National ACS for an innovation grant in the future. There is an MTA meeting in Missoula on October 23rd, which may help to move this proposal along.


Action Item: Gary and Earle, please stay in contact with Steve E. and keep motivating him to hone his proposal to a specific focus.



6) Email and Address Updates


It was mentioned that some members had not received notification about the Fall 2005 social. It was suggested that Stephanie Hurst get the updated email lists on disc from the National ACS Office, in addition to printed labels with local members addresses. These will be of significant use in planning the November election, and raising awareness of the planned Spring meeting in Billings.


Action Item: Stephanie needs to get the electronic and hard copy versions of the members list.




7) Report from Doug Cameron on NORM conference.


Doug Cameron gave his report on his experience at the NORM conference in Fairbanks Alaska during the Summer. The meeting was lightly attended with the exception of personnel from PNNL, and this was attributed to the distance and expense of the travel requirements. Doug unexpectedly found himself the Chair of the Committee for the Regional High School Teachers Award. The names of deserving nominees were called for. A local section award of $500 was suggested for the winner. The current North West regional winner is at Big Sky High School. It was suggested that student nominations be a significant factor in the eventual decision.


Action Item: Send suggestions of possible awardees to Dick Holmquist.



8) Report from Doug Coe.


Doug Coe and Earle Adams is doing a trial version of the Crystal Growing Contest, with a focus on local 5th Grade students. The suggested material was Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate (KDP), a non-toxic material of which large crystals are used in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) for frequency doubling. It was suggested that the Chemistry Club should be involved with this.


Action Item: Doug Coe, Earle Adams, and Kyle please talk to each other about this. Does anyone have a stock of this material in his or her labs?



9) ACS Innovation Grant.


We were recently awarded an ACS Innovation grant to assist the Tribal Colleges in the preparation of students to take chemistry at the Montana 4 year institutions. The high drop out rate has been attributed to inadequate preparation before the students take university level introductory chemistry. This money was to be used on a small trial involving the Chief Dullknife and SKC tribal colleges in collaboration with Montana Tech and UM. The first meeting was held in early September and the second meeting will be held in late October. Due to efficiencies in planning the first meeting, there may be some additional funds available.


Action Item: Kyle and Earle, please keep us updated on how this collaboration proceeds.




8) Report from Gary Freebury.


Of the 10 winners of the 2005 Montana Science Olympiad, only 6 elected to take the National exam, and thereby collect their prize money. Improved communication with the high school teachers through Steve Eversoll was suggested as a possible way of reversing the decreasing participation rate. The dropping of the “warm fuzzy” exam, that occurs prior to the Local Section exam was suggested as a possible cause. The local section exam is more challenging to students, and the administration of an additional exam prior to it is an issue with only a limited number of school days in the year. This led into a general discussion about the level of preparedness of high school students for college level chemistry, and the significant loss ratio over even the first semester to other majors i.e. business.


A suggestion was tabled that testing the high school equivalency for college level chemistry be undertaken.


Action Item: Gary, what directions can you suggest on this?



10) Councillor’s Report


Cyd McClure gave the Councillors report including an overview of he experiences at the National ACS meeting. Issues were raised at the national meeting regarding the size of compensation for the past Executive Director (Crumb).


11) Treasurer’s Report


Tony Haag gave the treasurer’s report that accounted for the overall expenses, including those specifically used for educational purposes (an internal account). Major items included $5,235 as the annual allotment for the National ACS, and $3000 for the ACS Innovation Grant Program. The transfer of accounts from Doug Cameron was successfully completed.



The meeting was adjourned at 11:12 am.