ACS Scholars Program for minorities reaches 10-year milestone

08/22/05

WASHINGTON—The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific organization, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ACS Scholars Program, one of the first financial support efforts to help underrepresented minorities pursue undergraduate degrees in the chemical sciences, at the 230th ACS national meeting this month in Washington, D.C. Current and past awardees, corporate leaders and mentors will commemorate the success of the program, which has awarded a total of $8.2 million to students.

A special ACS Presidential symposium, "The Future Face of Chemistry," will address building awareness and diversity in the chemical sciences on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2:30-5:00 p.m., at the JW Marriott Hotel, Salon 1. Several students, including Julia James, who won an ACS scholarship in 2001 and became a Rhodes Scholar in 2004, will describe their experiences as minorities in the chemical sciences and their successes as a result of the Scholars Program.

At another commemorative symposium, "The Business Case for Diversity in the Chemical Industry," executives from Dow Chemical Company, PPG Industries and Proctor & Gamble will discuss partnering with the Scholars program as a means of investing in the future of the chemistry profession. The symposium will be held Monday, Aug. 29, 10:00-11:30 a.m., at the Renaissance Hotel, room 15.

Aimed at diversifying chemical fields both in academe and the workforce, the ACS Scholars Program provides financial support to help African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian students obtain undergraduate degrees in the chemical sciences. More information about the Scholars program, including application information and deadlines, can be found at www.chemistry.org/scholars.

Relatively few minorities pursue chemistry-related careers, according to a report prepared by the Society. In 2000, for example, Hispanics/Latinos, who make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, represented less than 3 percent of the chemistry workforce; African Americans, at almost 12 percent of the population, comprised less than 2 percent of the chemical workforce; and Native Americans, representing 1 percent of the population, made up less than 1 percent of the chemical workforce.

Since the program's inception in 1995, 1,600 minority high school and college students have won scholarships —which are renewable— receiving up to $3,000 for each award. A total of 660 ACS Scholars have earned a bachelor's degree in the chemical sciences, 273 have gone on to graduate school, 22 have obtained their Ph.D. and another 96 are currently Ph.D. candidates.

The ACS Scholars Program won the 2001 President's Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring and the 1997 Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives. This academic year, ACS will award approximately $850,000 to current and new scholars majoring in chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry, environmental science and related disciplines at two- and four-year colleges.

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