ACS Names Gordon Chapter “Outstanding” for Second Year in a Row

In mid-November, the American Chemical Society (ACS) gave Gordon’s ACS student chapter an “outstanding” designation for the second year in a row, and a Green Chapter Award for the seventh year in a row. The awards recognize the chapter’s extensive educational outreach on the North Shore of Boston and in New York City.

Of the 3,026 national, four-year colleges with ACS student chapters, Gordon is among the 52 named in ACS’s “outstanding” category and the 56 colleges to receive the Green Chapter Award. To celebrate the chapter’s efforts in bringing green chemistry to local elementary, middle and high schools and members’ scientific research, ACS has invited Quincy Dougherty ’18, chapter president, to present at the 255th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans in March.

Although research and professional development are aims of all ACS student chapters, the greatest emphasis is on green chemistry outreach and education—an area where Gordon’s chapter excels.

“To teach students about green chemistry is to teach them how to take care of their home,” explains Danielle McGibbon ’20, a member of Gordon’s chapter. “A lot of chemical reactions and products are very harmful for human health and the environment. We teach students better ways to create the same product, but with safer reagents and less waste. Green chemistry is all about furthering the development of a sustainable world.”

When it comes to relating these ideas to young students, Gordon’s ACS chapter gets creative. During an outreach trip to New York City elementary schools last year, the chapter acted out a news broadcast about the discovery of a toxic car paint. Then, they challenged the students to concoct a “greener” alternative out of egg yolks, tea, coffee, rubbing alcohol, guar gum and cabbage juice—and paint model cars with their concoctions.

Gordon's ACS Chapter

Victoria Ganss ’19, Quincy Dougherty ’18, Lian Atlas ’19, Verna Curfman (lecturer) and Ivy Ngo ’17 at Pono NYC following a DIY “green” car paint activity.

The chapter also leads monthly science clubs at the Oliver Partnership School in Lawrence, MA; participates in STEM nights at local middle schools and high schools; hosts green chemistry lectures; facilitates activities at the Museum of Science and Boston Children’s Museum during National Chemistry Week and Chemists Celebrate Earth Week; and hosts the Science Carnival during Gordon’s Homecoming Weekend each year.

“Being a part of Gordon’s ACS chapter is something special,” says chapter member Anna Kjellson ’19. “I really love that I can spend time not only with similarly science-minded people, but science-minded people of faith. For me, studying science is a way of learning more about God’s creation, and studying chemistry is worshipping the Creator of tiny, intricate parts that make up a beautiful, complicated whole.”