Why Am I An ACS Member?
ACS members were asked to consider the following:
- What have been the benefits of ACS membership for you?
- Why do you volunteer for ACS?
Here are some of their stories. If you have a story you’d like to relate, please contact the webmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tina Leaym: Dow Corning, Joined ACS in 1997
Several years ago I was pursuing a major career change. In my interview, the questions were very difficult and required personal examples of how I had handled many different situations. Had it not been for my volunteer work with ACS, I would have struggled to come up with examples of leadership and problem-solving at this early point in my career. The ACS provided a risk-free environment for me to get my feet wet leading teams and projects.
Volunteering to work with ACS gives me multiple opportunities to contribute; whether it’s doing a cool demo to pique a child’s interest in science or working with science educators or stuffing envelopes, I always learn something! The people are great–friendly and helpful–and we all have the same goal. ACS is one of those examples with great return on investment potential. The more you put into it, the more rewarding it becomes. And if you sit back and don’t get involved, you are really missing out! You could be meeting great people, contributing to the scientific enterprise, and demonstrating your leadership skills. (03/09)
Wendell Dilling: Central Michigan University, Retired (Dow Chemical), Joined ACS in 1959
ACS is the major organization representing the profession I have spent the past 55 years in. I feel I must belong to that organization to really be a part of that profession. ACS has been an integral part of most of what I have done during the past 55 years including:
- Publishing most of my research articles in ACS journals
- Presenting papers at local, regional, and national ACS meetings
- Continuing education through formal and informal short courses
- Learning how to operate and be effective as a leader and a follower in large and small organizations
- Obtaining opportunities to continue professional activities after retirement from a first job
- Receiving awards for scientific and service activities related to my profession
- Being able to network and socialize with other science professionals
- Having an opportunity to give back a little to a profession that has given so much to me
ACS also represents my profession to the outside world, like the government, much better than I could as a single individual even though I do not agree with its stand on all issues; on balance I agree with its stand on many more issues than I disagree with. (03/09)
Gina Malczewski: Retired (Dow Corning), Joined ACS in 1982
I was a chemistry major in college and president of our student chapter of ACS. After many years of belonging to other professional societies more specific to my work duties, I have “come home again,” where I can take a more active role because the Midland section is such a community presence. I have loved my direct involvement in many different facets of science in my varied career at Dow Corning, from regulatory aspects to material performance testing to sensory evaluation and biotechnology. Now I am retired and have secondary science teaching certification as well, and ACS is giving me the opportunity to support and engage many people of all ages in the daily pleasures of what makes us all scientists: curiosity, experimentation, extrapolation, and a desire to change things for the better. I have served twice now as Chair, have been a Director, and Section secretary. There are many outlets for participation, addressing many interests, and I encourage others to get involved! (07/15)
Matthew Grandbois: Dow Chemical, Joined ACS in 2012
I am a member of the ACS because it gives me a chance to give something back to the profession that I love while further developing myself as a person and as a scientist. It is often difficult to break free from the “you need to have experience to get experience” cycle that plagues many early career scientists, but the ACS is an excellent way to develop the skills to help me achieve my career goals. The fact that this often comes as an opportunity to help out disadvantages demographics, budding scientists, or my fellow colleagues makes it even more rewarding. Whether it be volunteering to help out young students understand how to connect their everyday world to the fundamental science that drives it, or by disseminating my research at a local scientific meeting, I am amazed by the sheet number of opportunities that the ACS provides for its members. There is always something that can be done or developed and it is great to be surrounded by individuals that feel the same way I do about promoting the advancements of science and scientists. (07/15)
Anatoliy Sokolov: Dow Chemical, Joined ACS in 2008
I have been a member of the ACS for approximately 7 years, with a long break in between. However, I have only recently taken advantage of the leadership development opportunities afforded by volunteering for your local section. As I progressed from student/postdoc to an early career scientist, I realized that there is a skill to making a decision and furthermore foreseeing the impact of that decision. Working in the chemical industry, the success of the team can hinge on these few key decisions, typically made by the team or team leader. So how does one practice strategic thinking and decision making as part of a team striving for success? The answer for me was volunteering with the ACS, and learning from the dedicated board members driving this organization forward. Taking a leadership or an executive position in the ACS provides a platform to refine your leadership style and position yourself for success when such an opportunity presents itself in your career. This has certainly been the case for me. The ACS offers many additional developmental opportunities for volunteers. There are ways to work on teaching, designing websites, organizing events such as conferences, presentations and award ceremonies. Additionally, the ACS offers developmental programs designed to improve the leadership abilities of scientists. Finally, I found the experience to be fun, enjoyable, and rewarding. (07/15)
Michelle Rivard: Dow Corning, Joined ACS in 2005
For me, being a member of the ACS is a family affair. My kids tag along to most of the Kids and Chemistry events. They either help before, during, or after each and every event that I am involved in –which is a lot of events! My husband gets roped into a lot of the behind the scene aspects. I have connected with a wide variety of individuals that I would not have met if it wasn’t for being a member of the ACS. When I went back to school to finish my degree, I used these connections of friends and colleagues to proof read and edit papers, help with homework, and refresh skills that were rusty due to non-use. ACS has giving me opportunities to develop and polish important “soft” skills, such as organization, initiative, communication, teamwork and increases my self-confidence. Taking the lead on outreach demos, being the 2014 chair of MMTG and a member of the ACS National Project Seed Committee has given me confidence in my leadership and public speaking skills. I have personally seen and experienced the benefits of being an ACS member and hope to pass my passion of science and outreach to my kids and others.