Members are our most important assets. Our profession is in a difficult situation. The employment conditions for chemists have changed considerably in recent years, to an environment where large chemical companies do not hire the majority of recently graduated chemists, and continued pressures on federal and state funding for scientific research have made establishing a scientific career especially difficult. In short, it is a challenging time for many of our fellow ACS members, and improving this situation is my top priority.
We are a membership society, yet we continue to lose members who don’t believe the ACS can do anything to help them or has anything to offer them. We must change this if the ACS, and our profession, is to remain healthy into the future. We must understand the professional needs of all of our members, work to address the employment difficulties that they face, and meet their career and technical needs at every level and in every sector. If we don’t serve our members, we don’t have a membership society. It’s that simple.
I believe that effective solutions to the issues above must involve working more directly with the members who are experiencing these challenges. Our members, and the ACS’ combination of technical expertise and credibility partnered with an extensive grassroots structure represented through local sections, divisions, and international chapters, are the strengths that I believe will be part of the solution that we will use to meet all of our members’ needs.
Employment Matters. The supply and demand for chemists is not in equilibrium. Why? Either because of an oversupply of graduates or because we are not fully preparing our graduates for the jobs that are available, especially with the small businesses and innovative entrepreneurships that offer the majority of employment opportunities. We must also better understand and address the significant implications of global demographic and environmental shifts, changes that will result in the need for chemistry innovations that are relevant to longer lifespans and sustainable resources, and the evolving nature of the job opportunities therein. We cannot create jobs but we can influence our educational system to better prepare students for these future employment trends, and I believe this is where the answer lies. We cannot tolerate an outcome where, after a significant investment in education, the lack of rewarding employment threatens to undermine the scientific potential of many graduating chemists.
Advocacy for Our Profession. The environment that chemistry faces is one of the most challenging in recent memory despite the fact that the benefits that chemistry can offer humanity and our world are greater than ever before. Given almost any global challenge, whether health and standard of living, the environment, or energy and clean water, it is clear that chemists will be part of the solution. However, it is not always universally appreciated that sustained efforts in scientific research are required for our overall well-being, and that these efforts will be even more necessary for the future. Increasingly, chemistry – and often science in general – is met by the public with distrust, apprehension, confusion, and the resulting lack of enthusiasm, let alone support. We must not simply ignore or dismiss their viewpoints, but we must continue to communicate how chemistry has improved lives around the world and will continue to do so.
We Must Work Together. My vision is that “Chemistry for Life” is not just a catchy slogan, but rather that it describes the relationship that the ACS has with its members, their careers, and our profession. This slogan must form the basis for engaging the public to support the science that is needed to make the world a better place. I am one person, but together we are a respected and influential society with almost 160,000 members. Together, we can achieve this vision.
Leadership and Experience Make a Difference. For almost three decades, I have led efforts at the local, national, and international levels of the ACS in the areas of education, science advocacy, employment, and career development. This breadth has given me the perspective of how the ACS operates and what steps are necessary to advance effective initiatives and steward them to completion. It is my experience and commitment that can make a difference. I do not make optimistic promises just for your vote, but I will keep my promise: I will partner with you to address the issues I’ve laid out above, and I pledge to make this my top priority. I would be honored to have your vote.