Local Participants in the 2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad

The Orlando Section sponsored the participants of local student in the 2021 U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO).  Exams were taken in an online format, starting with the Local Exam, on March 27 and 28, 2021.  37 high school students  from seven high schools in the Orlando Section 7 county area.  Ten students were nominated from this group to go on to take the National Exam Part 1 online on April 7 and 8, 2021. 

These are the ten students who took the National Exam Part 1 (in no particular order):  

Jaehyun AhnHomeschool
Aidan MeyersWest Shore High School
Vishanth MurugesonOrange County High School
Truly ThomasHoly Trinity Episcopal Academy
Parker TysonHomeschool
Alexander BudkoWest Shore High School
Andy SharVanguard High School
Lyle AlvarezTrinity Prep High School
Krithik SeelaLake Highland Prep
Aiden LiuTrinity Prep High School

One student, Andy Shar, Vanguard High School was selected to take Part 2 the following weekend, April 15, 2021.  He did not advance to the National Team.  All students received certificates.

If you have any comments or questions regarding USNCO, please contact your Chemistry Olympiad Coordinator, Mary C. Roslonowski.

The State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida 2021: Avogadro award winner

Vedant Karalkar, the 2021 Avogadro award winner.

Congratulations to Vedant Karalkar from the Alachua County’s Eastside High School junior for winning the 2021 Avogadro award! Also, the student is the Grand Award Winner at the state science fair, which was held virtually from March 28 through April 1, won special awards from the Yale Science and Engineering Association, the United States Office of Naval Research, and will represent Florida at the prestigious Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

Karalkar’s project is called ‘Fabrication of Napthalimide Chemosensor Using InkJet Printing on Cellulose Paper for Determination of Uric Acid and Metal in Solution.’ The young scientist developed a low-cost sensor that could be used to test for a variety of diseases in areas with little or no access to current diagnostic tests that often require more expensive instruments, sophisticated techniques and/or highly-skilled medical personnel. The Avogadro Award that is given each year at the State Science and Engineering Fair with the support of the ACS local sections in the state of Florida.

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SERMACS 2025: Call to action

Hello Orlando Section!

As many of you already know, we recently announced that the Orlando Section will be hosting the 2025 Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in Orlando, FL on October 19-22, 2025. Although the meeting is over four years out, we have already begun the planning process and have lots to do! We are sending out this email to encourage our members to get involved in one of the following ways:

  1. Meeting Theme and Logo Contest – Calling on our creative folks! We would like to finalize a meeting theme/logo within the next few months. We want this meeting to represent the diverse science and culture of central Florida, and what better way to do that than to encourage our members to propose ideas for the theme and logo. We will also throw in free registration to the conference for the winner(s). Send your theme/logo ideas to Chris Chouinard (cchouinard@fit.edu) by Monday, May 31.
  2. Volunteer Opportunities – We are currently seeking enthusiastic volunteers to join the Planning Committee and help with to-do’s such as fundraising, meeting hotel/venue planning, and scientific symposia organization. We encourage volunteers from all scientific backgrounds to get involved!
  3. Attend a Planning Committee Meeting – We are currently meeting quarterly in 2021, with our next meeting tentatively scheduled for June. These meetings are open to anyone interested! Be on the lookout for the Zoom meeting info via email.

Please feel free to reach out to any of the Planning Committee members with questions, comments, or suggestions. We are looking forward to making this the best SERMACS meeting yet!

Christopher D. Chouinard, Ph.D.
SERMACS2025 General Chair

Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award

The Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award recognizes chemists, chemical engineers, consultants, or businesspeople aiming to expand the Private Sector’s chemical enterprise* and to those private sector employers enabling chemists and chemical engineers to earn their livelihood in Central Florida.

The Orlando Local Section of the American Chemical Society established the Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award in support of its goal to promote diversity and to foster a sense of belonging among its members.  These goals apply to the ethnicity, cultural and gender identity of the membership as well as to their educational and career backgrounds.  The Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award expands the scope of the recognitions offered by the local section by focusing on those chemists and chemical engineers or businessperson working on expanding the chemical enterprise beyond the realm of academia.

  • This award is offered to an entrepreneur or employer from businesses, incubator companies, or private contractors supporting the public sector. 
  • Members and non-members of the American Chemical Society are eligible.
  • The selection committee will evaluate how the candidates are advancing, or expects to advance, the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of society.
    • The application should contain a general description on how chemistry is key to the success of the enterprise without disclosing proprietary information.
  • There will only be one award offered annually.
  • The Orlando Local Section may retain nomination packages not selected on a given year for consideration in a subsequent year.
  • Consideration will be given to the challenges associated with the maturity and size of each nominated enterprise.
  • Candidates offering mentorship or training to aspiring chemists or engineers will be favorably viewed.

Call for nominations will be solicited in August of each year.

* The chemical enterprise is the broad and encompassing industry that is focused on the understanding of the physical world at the molecular level and its subsequent development for the betterment of society. This covers academic, industrial, governmental, and non-traditional organizations related to the field of chemistry.  For this award, the private sector chemical enterprise refers to consultants, providers of goods and services, manufacturing companies to include those that provide chemical and chemical engineering services to the public sector.

Download this Flyer

Programs Supporting High School Chemistry Educators

ACS-Hach Programs provide financial support for future and current high school chemistry teachers. Through these grants and scholarships, ACS carries on the work of the Hach Scientific Foundation Endowment, encouraging the development of high school chemistry teachers and improving the teaching and learning of chemistry in their classrooms.

ACS-Hach Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Scholarship – provides financial support (up to $6,000 for full-time study, up to $3,000 for part-time study) for chemistry graduates with limited work experience to obtain a master’s degree in education or teacher certification in chemistry. Apply by April 1.

ACS-Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship – provides financial support (up to $6,000 for full-time study, up to $3,000 for part-time study) for chemistry professionals to obtain a master’s degree in education or teacher certification in chemistry. Apply by April 1.

ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant – grants of up to $1,500 for high school chemistry teachers to use to cover basic classroom or laboratory needs, fund professional development experiences, or support innovative ideas in chemistry education. Apply by April 14.

Are you late for the above opportunities or do you want to find many other programs that support chemistry research and education at all levels, visit the ACS Funding Opportunities page.

Note: This post was reproduced from the ACS Newsletter about Grants & Scholarships for Educators on March 23rd 2021

2021 CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest: Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry

The Orlando Local Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is hosting an illustrated poem contest for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Entries must be sponsored by a local school or community group for verification purposes.

Contest Deadline (Updated): Sunday, May 2, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern

Local Prizes: Up to 4 winners will be recognized and awarded at the Orlando Local Section’s Annual Awards Banquet (12/2021)

Local Contact: Duy Le (contact@orlandoacs.org)
Submission: Click Here to submit.

Winners of the Orlando Local Section’s Illustrated Poem Contest will advance to the National Illustrated Poem Contest for a chance to be featured on the ACS website and to win prizes!

Write and illustrate a poem using the CCEW theme, “Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry.” Your poem must be no more than 40 words and in the following styles to be considered:


Possible topics related to the CCEW 2021 theme include: Life cycles, Clean air and water, Environmental footprints, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle           

Entries will be judged based upon:

  • Artistic Merit – use of color, quality of drawing, design & layout
  • Poem Message – fun, motivational, inspiring about yearly theme
  • Originality Creativity – unique, clever and/or creative design
  • Neatness – free of spelling and grammatical errors

Contest rules:

• All poems must be no more than 40 words, and in one of the following styles to be considered: Haiku, Limerick, Ode, ABC poem, Free verse, End rhyme, and Blank verse.
• Entries are judged based upon relevance to and incorporation of the yearly theme (Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry), word choice and imagery, colorful artwork, adherence to poem style, originality and creativity, and overall presentation.
• All entries must be original works without aid from others. Physical drawings may be scanned or captured via camera and submitted to the online form. Illustrations may be created using crayons, watercolors, other types of paint, colored pencils, or markers.
• The illustration may also be electronically created by using a digital painting and drawing app on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. If the illustration is created using a digital painting or drawing app, the name of the program must be included on the entry form.
• The text of the poem should be easy to read and may be typed before the hand-drawn or digital illustration is added, or the poem may be written on lined paper, which is cut out and pasted onto the unlined paper with the illustration.
• No clipart or unoriginal images can be used.
• Only one entry per student will be accepted.
• Students must be sponsored by a school or another sponsoring group (e.g. Homeschool Association, Boys and Girls Club, Scout Troop, 4-H, etc.).
• All illustrated poems and/or digital representations of the poems become the property of the American Chemical Society.
• Acceptance of prizes constitutes consent to use winners’ names, likenesses, and entries for editorial, advertising, and publicity purposes.

Click here to download this Flyer

Get Involved

One of main goals of the Orlando Section’s strategic plan is to “Attract, recruit and retain more volunteers” to execute its mission. The Orlando Section recognizes that this is the way to bring better ideas, make new skill sets available, and contribute to the section’s networking capability in addition to help sharing the workload. Presumably, the recruitment of volunteers will become easier as we achieve other goals of the strategic plan.

The Orlando Section regularly organizes and/or participates in the following activities that need volunteers to take leadership roles:

  • Annual Award Banquet
  • Chemistry Olympiads
  • Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW)
  • Florida Annual Meeting and Exposition (FAME)
  • National Chemistry Week
  • Meet and Greet Happy Hours and Dinners
  • State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida

If you want to get involved in one of the above activities, please contact one of current officers or email us at contact [ at ] OrlandoACS.org.