2022 Student Travel Awards

To encourage participation of students in local, regional, and national conferences organized by the American Chemical Society and its affiliates and to create opportunities for students to enhance their scientific experiences and networking, the Orlando Section of the American Chemical Society offers travel awards to students who are in need of financial supplement for their conference participations.

The awards will be given to selected students who participate in the Florida Annual Meeting and Exposition (FAME), the Southeastern Regional Meeting of The American Chemical Society (SERMACS), or the ACS National Meeting & Exposition. For each conference, up to two students will receive awards of up to $150, $250, or $500, respectively.

To apply, student applicant needs to prepare an application package (a single PDF file) that includes the following:

  • Brief introduction of applicant
  • Proof of acceptance to conference (acceptance of abstract)
  • Brief explanation of why travel award from the Orlando Section of the American Chemical Society is necessary (especially those whose research projects are federal/industrially/privately funded)
  • Contact information of advisor (The award committee will request a statement for advisor indicating appropriate use of the travel award to registration, lodging, and/or travel expenses).

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis up to one month before the conference, so early submission is encouraged.  Application package should be sent via email to Awards Committee Chair (Dr. Darlene Slattery, dslattery1@cfl.rr.com). The committee will select awardees mainly based on applicant’s financial needs and date of application.  Novelty and impact of research project is a bonus criterion.

2022 CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest: The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry

The Orlando Local Section of the American 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:Sunday, April 24, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern
Local Prizes: One winner will be awarded ($50) for each of the flowing categories:
Grades K-2     Grades 3-5     Grades 6-8     Grades 9-12
The teacher who guided the winner will receive ($100) funding for classroom supplies.
Local Contact:Duy Le (CCEW coordinator, submission@orlandoacs.org)
Submission:Email Illustrated poem and submission form to submission@orlandoacs.org

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, “The Buzz About Bugs: Insect 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: Entomology, Eating Insects, Insect Molecules, Insect Bites, Pollination, Pollinators

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 (The Buzz about Bugs: Insect 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.

Download this flyer and Submission Form

Examples (2021 National winners)

ecoSPEARS’ co-founders win the 2021 Outstanding Entrepreneur award

Orlando Local Section of the ACS presents its 2021 Outstanding Entrepreneur Award to Sergie Albino and Ian Doromal, the co-founders of ecoSPEARS.

The Orlando Local Section of the ACS awarded for the first time it’s Outstanding Entrepreneur Award* to Sergie Albino and Ian Doromal, the co-founders of ecoSPEARS. During our visit to their facility, ecoSPEARS discussed its plans and introduced us to their chemist.

In 2017, Sergie and Ian founded ecoSPEARS after licensing the Sorbent Polymer Extraction And Remediation System (SPEARS) from NASA. The technology was first invented at the Kennedy Space Center by Dr. Jackie Quinn to remove toxins like PCBs from the environment.

ecoSPEARS has since focused on becoming a cleantech provider of green remediation technologies by improving on the original design and developing its own proprietary reagent for containing the toxins and leveraging other technologies to destroy them.

2021 has been a good year for ecoSPREARS:

  • Sergie was named Orlando Business Journal’s 2021 CEO of the Year
  • ecoSPEARS is one of the top 50 honorees for the 11th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch
  • the company was selected by Excelon for Climate Change Investment, And selected by the PortXL- Port & Maritime Accelerator, in The Netherlands
  • first runner up winner at the June 2021 Space Florida’s Aerospace and Innovation Forum
  • top three finalist in the “better Environment” category at the World Food Forum Startup Innovation Awards in partnership with Extreme Tech Challenge
  • the company was featured in a World Economic Forum article on how NASA technology has been used to help life on earth
  • it was cited in the April 2021 International Pollutants Elimination Network report on non-combustible technology for persistent organic pollutants.

ecoSPEARS shows us how Central Florida chemical enterprises help make this world better. All this is made possible because individuals such as Sergie Albino and Ian Doromal decided to bring chemical discoveries to market.

* The Section determined during its 2020 Strategic Review there was room to increase its engagement with the private sector. The creation of an Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award helps us 1) recognize the full spectrum of the chemical enterprise, and 2) celebrate the success of those who bring to market the discoveries that otherwise would remain in the laboratory AND OF THOSE who create jobs for chemists and chemical engineers.

Professional Development Grants and Other Support for High School Chemistry Educators

Support for High School Chemistry Educators

ACS is now accepting applications for the ACS-Hach Professional Development Grants! These grants of up to $1,500 are intended to support high school chemistry teachers as they identify and pursue opportunities that can advance their professional development and enhance the teaching and learning of chemistry in the classroom. Click here to learn more, and apply today ! Deadline for applications is January 21, 2022.  

In addition to the Professional Development Grants, several other ACS-Hach Programs provide financial support for future and current high school chemistry teachers, carrying on the mission of the Hach Scientific Foundation Endowment to improve high school chemistry education and support the growth of chemistry teachers at the high school level:  

ACS-Hach Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Scholarship – provides financial support of up to $6,000 for full-time study and 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. Deadline for applications is April 1, 2022.  

ACS-Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship – provides financial support of up to $6,000 for full-time study and up to $3,000 for part-time study for chemistry professionals to obtain a master’s degree in education or teacher certification in chemistry. Deadline for applications is April 1, 2022.  

ACS-Hach Land Grant Teacher Scholarship – provides financial support of up to $10,000 for full-time study to obtain a chemistry undergraduate degree and chemistry teaching credentials at one of our 72 partner institutions. Contact participating universities directly for application details.  

ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant – grants of up to $1,500 are available 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. Application scheduled to open February 1, 2022.  

Visit the ACS-Hach Programs home page for complete details about all these programs.

This post is reproduced from the newsletter: Chemistry Educator Grants & Scholarships | ACS Matters | December 7, 2021

2022 US National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO)

The Orlando section will be participating in the 2022 US National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO). The primary goals of this program are to stimulate interest and achievement in chemistry among high school students throughout the United States and to provide recognition of outstanding young chemistry students, teachers, and schools.

Students competing in the USNCO are eligible to be selected as members of the United States team for the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO). Since 1984, the United States has sent a team of four students to compete with nations around the world at IChO. The students participate in both theoretical and laboratory examinations over several days. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to the best performers and the IChO provides students the opportunity to interact with their peers from other countries. 

It is the responsibility of the Orlando section to nominate students from the local area to take the USNCO national examination. To identify these students, the Orlando section is conducting a preliminary screening of students through the high school chemistry faculty in our area. The exam, taking place anytime during March, is done in the high school chemistry classes organized by the high school instructors for nominated students. Exams will be sent to the high school instructors in early February. Exam answer sheets must be emailed or mailed to our USNCO coordinator by March 31, 2022.

Ten (10) students (maximum of 2 students from each high school) will be chosen, based on the local exam’s scores, to take part in national exam. Students will be notified in early April if they are selected. Part I (multiple choice, broad chemistry topics) of the 2022 USNCO National Exam will be administered virtually. Part II (problem solving, chemical theories and models) will be on-paper exam. A decision about the laboratory portion of the National Exam (Part III) will be made by the end of February 2022. Students can view past exams at www.acs.org/olympiad to prepare for the exam.

All students who participate will be recognized and presented with a certificate and pin. The top 150 students will receive recognition for outstanding performance at the national level. The 20 top scoring students from the National Exam undergo rigorous training a Study Camp. Based on their performance, four students are chosen to represent the U.S. at the 54th IChO, which will be organized by China on July 10-20, 2022. Date and format of Study Camp will be announced at www.acs.org/olympiad around March 15, 2022.

The Orlando Section’s executive committee will consider to sponsor travel cost for our local students to participate Study Camp. The students will also be honored at the local section’s Annual Award Banquet. The local Orlando section hopes this recognition and support will stimulate interest in chemistry and promote a positive attitude toward chemistry.

Dr. Mary Roslonowski has been appointed the USNCO coordinator for this area. We encourage you to nominate students from your school to this competition by notifying Dr. Roslonowski on or before Jan 30, 2022. If you have any questions, please contact her at 321-243-6198 or via email at mroslonowski@htes.org.

30 Year Anniversary of the Section

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Orlando Section of the American Chemical Society. The celebration of this milestone will happen at our annual award banquet on December 4th, 2021 at the 310 Lakeside restaurant (301 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801).*

We will have moments to look back at the history of our section and to highlight “what-they-are-doing-now” of the award winners at the early days. Each participant will also receive a special and long-lasting souvenir (while supply lasts).

Reservation can be made online at https://forms.gle/okhyqWaqGSGLtTtw8, or by sending email to contact@orlandoacs.org or calling Darlene Slattery at 321-632-2535. Reservations must be made by November 22, 2021 (New deadline).   Please include names so that we can provide nametags.

The cost will be $25/person (after subsidy, tax and gratuity included). The Section will pay the bill with a single check. Please be prepared to pay at the door by check or cash—unfortunately we cannot accept credit cards.

Please join us to celebrate the history of our local section and recognize excellence in chemistry!

* All guests are expected to follow safety guidelines of the restaurant on the day of the event. For more information, please visit https://310restaurant.com.

Annual Election: Meet the Candidates for 2022 Executive Committee

Dr. Christopher Chouinard
Candidate for Chair-Elect

Dr. Christopher Chouinard is currently an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Florida Institute of Technology. His research involves novel ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS) methods for the detection of illicit substances including performance-enhancing drugs. He received his BS degrees in Chemistry and Biology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Florida, and did post-doctorial studies in IM-MS instrument development at Pacific Northwest National Lab.

Dr. Chouinard has served on the ACS Orlando Section executive committee (Chair-Elect/Chair/Past Chair) continuously since 2019. Most recently, he spearheaded the Section’s successful bid to host the 2025 Southeastern Regional Meeting of the ACS (SERMACS), for which he will be serving as General Chair. This will be the first time the meeting is held in Florida since 1987.

Dr. Van Quach
Candidate for Treasurer

Dr. Van Quach has been the treasurer of the Orlando Section since 2019.  In addition, he is a professor of chemistry at Seminole State College.  He has been teaching there since Aug 2010.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Florida in 1999.  After taking some time off for travel, he made his way up to Tallahassee, FL to start graduate school.  At Florida State University, his research focused on better understanding of the theoretical and fundamental processes that occur during chemical separation.  Specifically, he investigated the temperature dependence of the phase ration in liquid chromatography systems.  He received his Ph.D. in 2009 and taught for two years at FSU before returning to the central Florida area to teach at Seminole State College.  In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, reading, and drinking good wines.

Dr. Pavithra Pathirathna
Candidate for Secretary

Dr. Pavithra Pathirathna is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering and Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology.  She performed her undergraduate studies at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, and her Ph.D. with Parastoo Hashemi in the Department of Chemistry at Wayne State University, MI, USA. Her postdoctoral work was at the University of Pittsburgh with Shigeru Amemiya. Pavithra’s interdisciplinary and translational research program centers on developing and optimizing electrochemical sensors for analyzing biologically and environmentally impactful metals and neurotransmitters with applications in point of care diagnostics.

Dr. Laura Sessions
Candidate for Alternate Councilor

Dr. Sessions was born and raised in Winter Park, FL. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of Florida and Dartmouth College, respectively. She has taught at Valencia College for the past eleven years, also serving as Department Chair, on the Faculty Association Council, and in multiple endowed chair awards. Dr. Sessions has enjoyed volunteering with the ACS Orlando section since 2015 in several positions including Alternate Councilor, Awards Chair, and Chair and would look forward to continuing her service this year as Alternate Councilor

Annual Awards Banquet Invitation

The Orlando Section of the American Chemical Society will recognize 2021 awards winners in a traditional annual awards banquet on December 4th, 2021. You are invited to attend the banquet:

Saturday, December 4th, 2021
11:30AM to 2:00PM
At the 310 Lakeside restaurant
301 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Fried Green Tomato – pimento spread, bacon jam, chives
Signature Salad
Mixed Greens grape tomatoes, cucumbers, shaved onion, house made balsamic vinaigrette
Entrée choice of
Pasta Primavera seasonal vegetables, grana padano cheese
Chicken Piccata white wine, butter, capers, lemon sauce garlic mash, seasonal vegetable
Salmon tomato bruschetta, balsamic glaze garlic mash, seasonal vegetable
Oreo Cream Trifle
Iced tea, soft beverages, and Illy coffee
Cash bar is available

The cost will be $25/person (after subsidy, tax and gratuity included)The Section will pay the bill with a single check. Please be prepared to pay at the door by check or cash—unfortunately we cannot accept credit cards.

Reservation can be made online at https://forms.gle/okhyqWaqGSGLtTtw8, or by sending email to contact@orlandoacs.org or calling Darlene Slattery at 321-632-2535. Reservations must be made by November 20, 2021.   Please include names so that we can provide nametags.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Annual Election: Call for 2022 Executive Board Candidates & Voting

We are seeking interested individuals to join the Orlando Section Executive Committee in 2022! We have four positions up for election: Chair Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Alternate Councilor. A description of each position is included below. Please contact Dr. Denisia Popolan-Vaida (Denisia.Popolan-Vaida@ucf.edu), Nominating Committee Chair, with any additional questions.

All nominations (including name of nominee, contact information, and nominated position) must be notified to Dr. Denisia Popolan-Vaida (via email at Denisia.Popolan-Vaida@ucf.edu) by October 15th, 2021. Voting is expected to open on October 25th, when you will receive a separate email with the instructions on how to cast your votes electronically. Please let us know before October 15th if you would like to be mailed a paper copy ballot.


Chair Elect (one-year term; three-year term total). The main responsibilities are:
• To vote/participate in exec decisions
• Succeed to office of Chair for the next year
• Serve as chair for meetings which the Chair cannot attend

Treasurer (one-year term). The main responsibilities are:
• Prepare the annual budget/expenditures report for Nationals
• Maintain the Section bank account
• Maintain a budget, disbursements, expenditures, and accounting for the Section activities
• To vote/participate in exec decisions

Secretary (one-year term). The main responsibilities are:
• To take notes at exec meetings
• To set-up and distribute ballots for elections (mostly electronic now)
• Oversee website and social media communications
• To vote/participate in exec decisions

Alternate Councilor (three-year term). The main responsibilities are:
• To attend national meeting annually (if Councilor is not able), represent the Section, and report back activities
• Assist in preparing and submitting the annual report to the national office
• To vote/participate in exec decisions

Call for Annual Awards

Since 1991, the Orlando Section of the American Chemical Society has recognized individuals who live, work, or study in the seven-county region of the Orlando Section and excel in chemistry. Continuing this tradition, this year, the Orlando Section will give the following awards:

  • Eileen Tulley Award for Outstanding High School Student
  • Outstanding High School Teacher
  • Outstanding Undergraduate at a Primarily Teaching Institution
  • Outstanding Undergraduate at a Primarily Research Institution
  • Outstanding Graduate at a Primarily Research Institution
  • Outstanding Educator at a Primarily Teaching Institution
  • Outstanding Educator at a Primarily Research Institution
  • Outstanding Chemist
  • Outstanding Chemistry Professional
  • Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award
  • Outstanding Volunteer

Descriptions and criteria for each award can be found in our website at https://orlandoacs.org/annual-awards

If you know someone or companies who should be recognized publicly, please nominate them for an ACS Orlando Section award. Each Award consists of a plaque and a monetary award. Awardees will be honored at the local Section’s annual banquet held on December 4th, 2021.  Student nominees need not be currently enrolled in chemistry but can be nominated for achievements for the spring 2021 term.

Nomination package includes:
(1) A letter of nomination stating why this person/company* deserves the award.
(2) A letter of support from someone else who knows the nominee.

Each letter should include the name of the award, and the writer’s email address and daytime phone number. Electronic submissions are required. Email PDF letters to Dr. Darlene Slattery, Chair of the Orlando Section Awards Committee at dslattery1@cfl.rr.com. To be considered, nominations must be received by Friday November 5th, 2021 Monday November 8th, 2021 .

Nominators of awardees are expected to participate in the local Section’s annual banquet to introduce the awardees.

* Point of contact for nominated company must be included in the letter.