Four regional awards were handed out at the ACS Western Regional Meeting in a ceremony held at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, CA.
The Chemical Education (CHED) Division Western Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching: Shannon Regli, Troy High School
Shannon Regli teaches Honors and AP Chemistry at Troy High School in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District in Orange County, CA. After completing her BS in chemistry at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she continued her education in graduate school at UC Irvine. There she studied atmospheric chemistry and conducted field work in northern Alaska on global climate change. She decided that teaching high school was her true passion, though, and she returned to Cal Poly for a teaching credential. She taught two years at a small high school in Templeton, CA, before embarking on a new adventure teaching at the International School of Nido de Aguilas in Santiago, Chile. She moved back to the United States after two years of teaching and traveling throughout South America. Over the past 14 years at Troy High, Shannon has been a coach for Science Bowl, an assistant coach of Science Olympiad, as well as an adviser for ChemClub. She has volunteered with the OCACS Education Committee for the past 5 years, helping with the annual High School Chemistry Examinations. She is happiest in the classroom and loves inspiring her students to study chemistry in college and beyond!
Partners for Progress and Prosperity Award: ACS SEED Program and Dr. Elaine Yamaguchi
Dr. Yamaguchi was born and raised in Fresno, California, until she went off to Brandeis University for her undergraduate training in chemistry. She then studied for her doctorate degree in organic chemistry at Yale University, graduating in 1976. Her next adventure consisted of a 34-year career at Chevron, in Richmond, California, where she practiced organic synthesis of wear inhibitor molecules used in lubricating oils, surface analysis with different spectroscopies, and finally, tribology.
Early in her career, she met the late Dr. Alan Nixon, the founder of SEED. With his encouragement, and her longtime co-coordinator, the late Dr. Glenn Fuller, she grew the CA Section SEED program from 1 student to 49 students in the recently completed 2015 program. This growth in the local section SEED program required the establishment of strong partnerships with chemistry teachers and their students, mentors and their worksites, donors, and even other local sections who wanted to be part of the CA Section SEED program.
In 2014, new partnerships were formed with a high school videographer, a video editor, and an audio engineer to make a SEED recruiting video for the 2015 program. Dr. Yamaguchi acted as the Director, and a 6-minute SEED recruiting video was sent to the chemistry teachers in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), where it has been more difficult to recruit SEED students for the CA Section’s 9-week SEED program. This video resulted in new teachers/schools participating in the 2015 program. She has been a Councilor for the CA Section since 1990 and currently serves as Chair of the SEED committee and co-Chair of the Women Chemists Committee. She is also on the Local Section Activities Committee’s Grants and Awards Subcommittee. Dr. Yamaguchi is a Fellow of the ACS and the Society for Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, for which she is an Associate Editor of Tribology Transactions.
E. Ann Nalley Western Region Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society: Sanda Sun
Sanda Sun is a food research chemist and teaches general and organic chemistry at Irvine Valley College. After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies at Boston University and Hahnemann Medical College, she relocated to southern California, where she worked as a research chemist for ConAgra Foods.
Sanda represents Orange County as an ACS councilor since 2008. She is an active committee member of ACS Community Activities, Volunteer Engagement and Recognition, ACS Public Relations and Communications, Chemistry Ambassadors and OCACS Education Committee. Sanda coordinates annual High School Chemistry Examinations and Chemists Celebrate Earth Day programs. She is an evaluation team leader for ACS ChemLuminary judging team for National Chemistry Week, one of the authors of articles for ACS Celebrating Chemistry, and Awards Chair for Western Regional Meeting 2015.
Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences: Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry, UCLA
The Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry (OCDC) is a graduate student-led group that creates a close-knit community among graduate students and faculty and promotes cultural diversity in the sciences. Earlier this year, the Organization for Cultural Diversity (OCDC) hosted 12 students from the local community college, Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC), along with their chemistry professor, Dr. Martin Diaz, on the UCLA campus for a day-long event. The day featured student-led discussions about transferring to a 4-year university and pursuing a career in the sciences. OCDC facilitated this event with the support of two other UCLA organizations, Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP), who provided valuable information on the transferring process, and Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS), who provided four current UCLA students who transferred from community colleges. The SACNAS students were given the opportunity to present on their current undergraduate research projects. With the success of the event, OCDC plans to continue the program with LATTC and also expand to other community colleges. OCDC’s faculty advisor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. Miguel Garcia-Garibay, founded the group through the support of Procter & Gamble (P&G). P&G is a multinational consumer goods company that values excellence and innovation not only in their products but also in their company. Through their support, OCDC continues to enrich the department, the UCLA campus and surrounding communities through outreach programs.