By Sandra Hernandez
The ACS Organization has been an empowering tool for future scientists through the influence of Chemistry. Our goal as an organization is to prepare our students to handle technical materials, be able to present before an audience and grow as professionals. Unexpectedly, it has done so much more for many of our students. Our ACS Chapter at San Joaquin Delta College has been a bridge between connecting our students to the youth in the community. Every student that has become a member in the SJDC ACS Chapter has dedicated their time and effort into inspiring the younger generation with tools obtained from our previous experiences in various chemistry classes, allowing our demonstrations to appear to children as more captivating and colorful to gain their interests. Our club takes the time to visit schools many of which contain minority students whose schools have weaker science programs. It is our passion and mission to show the students that there are fun aspects of the STEM field and that they have opportunities within their own community.
“Before joining ACS I was interested in Chemistry, but it felt as if there was something lacking. After I became involved in the Club and voted in as the Community Representative, I realized that this was an opportunity for me to make a difference in someone’s life. Growing up as a first-generation student, I didn’t have a role model when it came to getting an education, but ACS gave me the chance to be that for someone else. There were several times where I was told that attending a community college would be a mistake, that I would “get stuck” and never move forward. ACS at San Joaquin Delta College has broken that stereotype for many students including myself. I was able to attend two National ACS Conferences as a board member to help receive an award that our club has earned through its passion and dedication. From the students to the faculty, it has been an inspiring journey to be able to be a role model for the upcoming students. Whenever someone asks me if I regret attending a community college, I tell them a few things; I was able to obtain an internship position with the UC Davis Prep Medico Program, I was able to gain a leadership position in a club of my major, I formed memorable bonds with not only my classmates, but with my professors as well, and most importantly, I got the chance to inspire children through Chemistry.”
-Sandra Hernandez (ACS President of Spring 2018)
“I have been involved with San Joaquin Delta College’s American Chemical Society (ACS) for almost three years now. After a semester of being in the club, I was voted ACS Treasurer and the next semester, I was voted President. I had the opportunity to build many leadership skills and even obtain new ones while I took on my roles that came with these positions. My involvement with ACS has also allowed me to form good relations with my chemistry professors and create strong friendships with other students; the club provided me with a sense of belonging at college which I know can be difficult for many students to find. I am very glad that I made the decision to be part of ACS. The funny thing is that my older sister actually made me join the club even though I told her that I had no interest in joining a chemistry club. Why would I care about anything chemistry related? Before joining this club, I had no interest whatsoever in chemistry. Now, three years after joining, I am a chemistry major and am considering a PhD in chemistry. If it wasn’t for my sister pushing me to join ACS, I would have missed out on so much opportunities. I would have missed attending two National ACS conferences; I would have lost the opportunity to take on new roles and most importantly, I would have missed the opportunity to inspire students. My most memorable experience of being in ACS occurred at an elementary school when a young boy came up to me after our chemistry show and asked for my autograph. He was so fascinated by everything we did and had so much questions.
Being involved with ACS means so much to me because as a young girl, I was never told that I could do anything that I set my mind to. With ACS, I am able to be a positive role model for young students and do something that if done for me would have pushed me to try harder at a younger age. Needless to say, my community college experience would not have been the same without the American Chemical Society.”
-Rebecca Rafique (ACS President of Fall 2016)