Annual Awards

The Orlando Section awards program enhances our mission of advancing the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.  

  • Members and non-members of the American Chemical Society are eligible.  
  • Nominees must live, work, or study in the seven-county region of the Orlando Section: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia. 
Outstanding Graduate Student, Pierpaolo Morgante from Florida Institute of Technology pictured with Laura Sessions, 2018 Chair; nominator Roberto Peverati and daughter; and Joel Olson, Incoming Chair.

A call for nominations occurs in September each year with requests for a nomination letter and a letter of support for each nominee.  The award committee of the Orlando Section evaluates the letters.  Awards consisting of a plaque and monetary prize are given at the Annual Awards Banquet at the beginning of December.

Descriptions and criteria for each individual award follow. The criteria are not exclusionary but used as guidelines by the committee – a nominee who does not meet every criterion will absolutely be considered.

History

The award program for the Orlando Section was begun in 1991 and the high school student who was honored that year was a young lady from Titusville High School, Eileen Tulley.  This incredible young lady went on to graduate with honors and enrolled in the University of Florida.  Unfortunately, early in her freshman year, she was killed in an automobile accident.  In 1993, the Executive Committee voted to change the name of the High School Award to the Eileen Tulley Award for Outstanding High School Student. 

In 1996, Dr. Gordon Nelson was nominated for our Outstanding Chemist Award but when the committee met, they agreed that the title did not begin to do justice to Dr. Nelson’s many accomplishments, including being a former ACS President.  The combination of his influence on education, contributions to polymer science and flammability studies and his service to the National ACS as President seemed to demand special recognition.  As a result, the Gordon L. Nelson award was created with the intent that it be reserved for individuals who could well receive one or more of our other awards but whose career has been so exemplary as to merit special recognition. So far, the award was given three times in 2002, 2004, and 2011.

In 2020 and 2021, new awards were added to expand the focus on support personnel and the private sector. The Outstanding Chemistry Professional Award recognizes a laboratory technician, lab manager, or other chemical technology professional for excellent benchwork or processes. The Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award recognizes chemists, chemical engineers, consultants, or business people aiming to expand private sector chemical enterprise and to those private sector employers enabling chemists and chemical engineers to earn their livelihood in Central Florida.

Visit the website for Full list of past awardees.

Award Descriptions

The following description and criteria were approved by the 2021 Executive Committee of the Orlando Local Section and are valid from 2021 until amendments or changes are made by the Executive Committee of the Orlando Local Section.

Eileen Tulley Award for Outstanding High School Student

This award is given to a high school student and is our most hotly contested award.  These students are not required to plan chemistry for their career.  Criteria include: 

  • Coursework: excellent performance in chemistry courses, contributions to the learning environment, positive influence on peer group in class  
  • Leadership: chemistry extracurricular activities, public outreach, and volunteerism 
  • Other involvement in non-chemistry extracurricular endeavors 

Outstanding High School Teacher

This award recognizes a high school chemistry teacher. Criteria include: 

  • Instruction: effective, fun, and exciting teaching of chemistry
  • Mentorship: encouragement of students and colleagues in their pursuit of a career in chemistry or chemical engineering, fostering a sense of belonging, seeking diversity and recruitment of minority and underrepresented groups
  • Leadership: contributions to department, involvement in chemistry extracurricular activities, public outreach, and volunteerism 
  • Current in chemistry: conference attendance, coursework, publications

Outstanding Undergraduate at a Primarily Teaching Institution

This award recognizes a student at a college that does not award graduate chemistry degrees.  These students are not required to plan chemistry for their career.  Criteria include: 

  • Coursework: excellent performance in chemistry courses, contributions to the learning environment, positive influence on peer group in class  
  • Leadership: chemistry extracurricular activities, public outreach, and volunteerism 
  • Other involvement in non-chemistry extracurricular endeavors 

Outstanding Undergraduate at a Primarily Research Institution

This award recognizes a student at a university that awards graduate chemistry degrees.  These students are not required to plan chemistry for their career.  Criteria include: 

  • Coursework: excellent performance in chemistry courses, contributions to the learning environment, positive influence on peer group in class  
  • Leadership: chemistry extracurricular activities, public outreach, and volunteerism 
  • Other involvement in non-chemistry extracurricular endeavors 

Outstanding Graduate at a Primarily Research Institution

This award recognizes a graduate student doing research in chemistry or related fields.  Criteria include: 

  • Research: developing novel ideas and bringing them to fruition and publication.
  • Mentorship: encouragement of students and peers in their pursuit of a career in chemistry or chemical engineering
  • Leadership: contributions to research group, department, university/college, or scientific organizations
  • Public outreach: contributions to the public’s understanding of chemistry with effective communication and volunteerism

Outstanding Educator at a Primarily Teaching Institution

This award recognizes an instructor at a college that does not award graduate chemistry degrees.  Criteria include: 

  • Instruction: effective, fun, and exciting teaching of chemistry.
  • Mentorship: encouragement of students and colleagues in their pursuit of a career in chemistry or chemical engineering, fostering a sense of belonging, seeking diversity and recruitment of minority and underrepresented groups
  • Leadership: contributions to department, college, or scientific organizations
  • Public outreach: contributions to the public’s understanding of chemistry with effective communication and volunteerism, expanding engagement in science and chemistry
  • Current in chemistry: conference attendance, coursework, publications

Outstanding Educator at a Primarily Research Institution

This award recognizes an instructor at a university that awards graduate chemistry degrees.  Criteria include: 

  • Instruction: effective, fun, and exciting teaching of chemistry.
  • Mentorship: encouragement of students and colleagues in their pursuit of a successful career in chemistry or chemical engineering, fostering a sense of belonging, seeking diversity and recruitment of minority and underrepresented groups
  • Research: developing novel ideas and managing them to fruition and publication, conference attendance and presentations, coursework.
  • Leadership: contributions to department, university, or scientific organizations, creation of networking opportunities
  • Public outreach: contributions to the public’s understanding of chemistry with effective communication and volunteerism, providing access to scientific and non-scientific presentations in the section and the world, expanding engagement in science and chemistry
  • Volunteering in Orlando Section: support and service of local, regional, and national ACS activities

Outstanding Chemist

This award recognizes a chemist (industrial or academic) who has excelled in the field.  Criteria include: 

  • Research: developing novel ideas and managing them to fruition.
  • Leadership: contributions to department, university/company, or scientific organizations
  • Mentorship: encouraging colleagues in their pursuit of a successful career in chemistry or chemical engineering, fostering a sense of belonging, seeking diversity and recruitment of minority and underrepresented groups
  • Furthering chemistry: publications, recognition by peers, organizing, supporting or promoting networking events, conferences or continuing education
  • Public outreach: contributions to the public’s understanding of chemistry with effective communication and volunteerism, providing access to scientific and non-scientific presentations in the section and the world, expanding engagement in science and chemistry
  • Volunteering in Orlando Section: support and service of local, regional, and national ACS activities

Outstanding Chemistry Professional

This award recognizes a laboratory technician, lab manager, or other chemical technology professional.  Criteria include:

  • Professional accomplishments: development of new or improved techniques or processes, contributions to safety and/or quality, excellent laboratory skills or management, recognition by colleagues.
  • Leadership: contributions to department, university/company, or scientific organizations
  • Mentorship: encouraging colleagues in their pursuit of a successful career in chemistry or chemical engineering, fostering a sense of belonging, seeking diversity and recruitment of minority and underrepresented groups
  • Volunteering in Orlando Section: support and service of local, regional, and national ACS activities

Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award

The Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award recognizes chemists, chemical engineers, consultants, or businesspeople aiming to expand private sector chemical enterprise and to those private sector employers enabling chemists and chemical engineers to earn their livelihood in Central Florida. This award is offered to an entrepreneur or employer from businesses and incubator companies including contractors supporting the public sector. Criteria include: 

  • Accomplishments:  advancements, or expected advancements, to the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of society
  • Furthering chemistry: how chemistry is key to the success of the enterprise – without disclosing proprietary information
  • Leadership: conquering challenges associated with the maturity and size of the nominated enterprise
  • Mentorship: mentorship or training to aspiring chemists or engineers will be favorably viewed

Outstanding Volunteer

The Outstanding Volunteer, chosen by the executive committee, recognizes someone who has donated their time and services above and beyond the average in support of the section.

  • Volunteering in Orlando Section: support and service of local, regional, and national ACS activities
  • Accomplishment, Leadership, or Mentorship: a unique contribution or innovation for the section

Past Recipients