Education Program

Leadership Development Courses

Lynne Greenblatt

Leading Change

Lynne Greenblatt

In today’s world, change is a given, whether in the workplace, the lab, at school, or within ACS. Regardless of your specific responsibilities, knowing how to manage change and lead others to stay focused, productive and future-oriented is essential to being a successful leader. If you are able to manage change skillfully, you will be prepared to respond to change more rapidly, and be agile in a time where change is happening at record pace.

If you are involved in shifting team priorities, changing the direction of a project, or reconfiguring teams, understanding how people react to change and how to help yourself and others effectively deal with the changes is a key to increasing your professional success.

Do you know how to respond to these common reactions to change?

  • Pushing back when a team’s goals are shifted
  • Projects stalling because of a change in direction
  • Confusion and ineffective communication due to personnel changes on a committee or project team

These and other problems can negatively impact the success of a group or project. It requires you to help others move through change by meeting reality head-on, connecting with the new vision, planning a new approach, and engaging others to join you in moving the project forward.

This four-hour course provides you with a step-wise process to lead change and guide others more effectively through the change process.

You will gain a skill that can be used daily on the job, at school, and  in projects as well as volunteer leadership roles. Specifically, learn:

  • Why we resist change.
  • A 3-step process for leading change in a team or work group.
  • How to maintain a clear vision and instill a strong sense of direction and purpose in everyone involved.
  • How to keep everyone on-track, focused on top priorities, and moving forward.
  • How best to communicate new insights into key issues, problems, and opportunities the group faces.

Who Should Attend This Workshop?

Everyone can use the skills taught in this interactive workshop. If you are involved in projects that continually change—or are soon to face changes—in direction, member involvement, and objectives, you will find this workshop valuable. If you are leading projects such as change initiatives, projects requiring working with other groups, or new initiatives that will likely experience changes in the course of completion, plan to attend this program. Leading Change provides practical tools and an approach that you can apply immediately in your work, school projects, and leadership roles.

Amber Charlebois

Coaching and Feedback

Amber Charlebois

Even the best and most experienced coaches find it is challenging to help others achieve their full potential. Whether it is helping novice employees or volunteers become more effective, or helping highly trained employees reach a “stretch” goal, a good coach needs empathy, inventiveness, and skill. A good coach has a “coaching mindset” that sees the coaching role as central to leading the team. It helps to have a proven process and good tools to ensure high performance, set good goals, and give feedback. Without skilled coaching, your team is likely to suffer from missed deadlines, frustrated members, and unmet goals and expectations.

Leading volunteers, team members, and employees to achieve objectives requires leaders who know how to coach each person to their highest potential. While some may think “It’s simple, just give them feedback…” coaching and giving feedback effectively requires a process that works, and useful tools. “Winging it” won’t produce the outcome you are seeking and will result in lost time, low morale, low productivity and difficulty retaining employees and volunteers.

This hands-on, four-hour course will provide you with a proven process and practical tools to help coach team members, project groups, employees, and volunteers more regularly and effectively. As a participant, you will work on real coaching opportunities to help you practice addressing the development and performance issues you have identified.

Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of what coaching is, why it is important, and why we don’t coach more often.
  • Learn the differences between coaching in a volunteer organization and coaching in an academic or industrial setting.
  • Learn a proven 3-step process for coaching.
  • Gain real-life practice and advice on a genuine coaching opportunity that will be addressed during the course.

Coaching effectively is a key skill that will help you increase performance, expand the skills of your team, improve relationships and morale, encourage creativity, and promote achievement and action among the team.

Who Should Attend This Course?

The Coaching and Feedback course is for individuals who are developing their leadership skills, have some experience in leadership roles and are seeking to increase their success and effectiveness in their leadership assignments. We encourage those who are currently leading or who are planning to lead a new project and need assistance in gaining the most from team members, project groups and volunteers to attend this course. You’ll gain skills that are highly transferable in coaching your staff or team members in your professional role.

Career Pathways Courses

Mary and John Engelman

Finding Yourself: Identifying a Career that Matches your Strengths and Values

Finding Yourself: Identifying a Career that Matches Your Strengths and Values allows you to self-assess your career values and strengths.   Participants will also learn how the four sectors of chemistry employment compare and contrast. This course will also help you determine which sector best aligns to your values and strengths and plan your next steps to obtaining an ideal position.

Networking: How to Get Started

Will help participants utilize networking to enhance their job search.  Participants will also learn which types of questions to create a natural flow in a networking conversation.   The course will also help you create a networking plan to locate and obtain your ideal job in the federal government.

Setting Yourself Up for Success in an Interview

Breaks down the interview process into navigable stages.  Participants will also learn how to identify critical performance factors from job announcement media.  The course will also help interviewees to develop a plan to relate their experience and values to the job requirements and organization values of their potential employers.

Making the Most of Your Interview: Outshining the Competition

Offers strategies and techniques to develop an extremely effective interview. Participants will also learn how to anticipate questions; develop thoughtful, robust responses; and, handle difficult questions.  The course will not only provide critical proactive interview scenarios, but will also help participants leave a lasting impression with hiring staff to secure the position well-aligned to their strengths and values.

Mary Engelman & John Engelman:

Mary Engelman graduated from Northeast State Community College and has been working for Eastman Chemical Company in the research labs for 24 years.  Mary has been active in the ACS locally since 1989 and nationally since 2004. She has held positions such as chair of a division and a committee, counselor for a division and work on several Presidential Task forces concerning undergraduate jobs and undergraduate education.  Mary is a certified career workshop facilitator and an ACS Career Consultant. Mary travels to universities to help inform the graduating classes about how to prepare themselves for careers in industry. In 2009, Mary was awarded the honor of ACS Fellow.

John Engelman graduated from Ferris State University and retired in 2013 after 49 years in industry. John worked for Dow Corning Corporation, Bechtel/Consumers Power, Quantum Composites, Dow Chemical Company and S. C. Johnson & Son.  John has been active in the ACS since 1991 having chaired two divisions, and one national committee. Helped to form two local technician affiliate groups and one subdivision of the ACS.  John is a certified workshop facilitator and an ACS Career Consultant. John travels to universities to help inform students on preparing themselves for careers in industry. In 2003, he was honored with a Doctor of Science from Ferris State University.  In 2010, John was awarded the honor of ACS Fellow.

ACS on Campus

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from ACS Editors,  build your network, and make lasting connections. This event is open to all students and early career researchers studying the applied sciences.

Using SciFinder in Your Job Search

Explore ways to use SciFinder to enhance your job search by connecting to the research community the scientific learning process, find organizations publishing around your research interests and connect with peers in your field.

10 Tips for Preparing Your Manuscript

Learn tested strategies for preparing a well-organized and carefully crafted manuscript. This session covers creating compelling graphic elements, selecting a strong title, and writing a cover letter that makes an impact, and much more.

Discover ACS: Resources to Grow Your Future

The American Chemical Society has hundreds of resources available to students and early career chemists to help you find and land the perfect job, prepare for graduate school, find a fellowship, and advance your career.

Undergraduate Program

SERMACS College Chemistry Bowl

SERMACS College Chemistry Bowl is designed following the format of the old General Electric T.V. show ‘College Bowl.’ A team of two to four students from various ACS student chapters of the southeast region will compete in a round-robin event in which teams will answer trivia questions from all major branches of chemistry. Champion and runner-up colleges will receive trophies to display at their university.

Demo Mania (ACS Student Chapter Demo Exchange)

Demo Mania is a student demo exchange session in which student chapters who have developed innovative, new demonstrations/activities for K-12 students exchange demo ideas with other student chapters. During the session, the student chapters will present their demonstration, explaining the technique and how they successfully use it for teaching purposes for students. Champion and runner-up colleges will receive trophies to display at their university.

Green Chemistry Symposium

SERMACS Green Chemistry Symposium offers an innovative program to introduce undergraduate students to green techniques with which they are unfamiliar. Participants receive instruction on the principles of green chemistry, industrial applications, and potential impacts to human health and the environment and gain guidance on safer, cost-effective methods that minimize waste and are drop-in replacements for traditional secondary chemistry methods.

Career Preparation Session: Alternate Science Careers

The SERMACS Alternative Science Careers will have various professionals speaking on their career path and how choices they have made have affected their career. Students will have the ability to discuss topics such as how to develop career goals, deciding whether to pursue a graduate degree, how to prepare for graduate school to help provide the insights needed to be successful.

Graduate School Fair

See layout for participating institutions. Learn More

Undergraduate Poster Contest

Five (5) first place awards will be made in the following groupings: 1) Analytical + Physical Chemistry; 2) Organic + Polymer Chemistry; 3) Biochemistry I; 4) Biochemistry II; and 5) Inorganic + Materials + Educational Chemistry. Each of the six (6) sessions will have approximately 60 posters from the five (5) categories. Each poster board should measure 4’ high x 8’ wide.

Session 1: Friday, November 2, 9:30am – 11:00am

Session 2: Friday, November 2, 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Session 3: Friday, November 2, 3:30pm – 5:00pm

Session 4: Saturday, November 3, 10:00am – 11:30am

Session 5: Saturday, November 3, 12:00pm – 1:30pm

Session 6: Saturday, November 3, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Awards Presentation: Saturday, November 3, 4:00pm

Intercollegiate Chemistry Ethics Bowl

Prof. Craig P. McClure, Drexel

The Intercollegiate Chemistry Ethics Bowl (ICEB) will have its debut at SERMACS 2018.  In this bowl, college teams will have the chance to explore issues in chemistry research, employment, and industry that have an ethical component.  Teams will give their thoughts and input about questions that come from case studies, about ethical applications of chemistry, behavior in the workplace, and more.  For more information, see the ICEB website at, or contact Craig McClure at  Awards will be presented to the top teams.

High School Teacher Program

Hands-On Classroom Demos

Dr. Al Hazari

Dr. Al Hazari, a former chemistry professor and K-16 science outreach program developer and director, will showcase chemistry concepts through a variety of safe hands-on demonstrations and experiments suitable for students, teachers and the general public.

Using Balloons to Model Graphene, Graphite, Buckyballs, Carbon Nanotubes and Diamond

Daniel J. Swartling

We have developed large-scale molecular orbital balloon models for implementation in the general, organic, or physical chemistry classroom. The purposes of the models are to help students visualize and understand concepts of pi-bonding, conjugation, aromaticity, and cycloaddition reactions or symmetry-controlled reactions. (Using Balloons to Model Pi-Conjugated Systems and to Teach Frontier Molecular Orbital Theory. World Journal of Chemical Education. Vol. 6, No. 2, 2018, pp 102-106.)  In this workshop we will show how to make small-scale graphene, graphite and buckyballs. Handouts will be provided with instructions for making large-scale graphene sheets, carbon nanotubes, graphite, and pi-conjugate systems.

The Ins and Outs of Nuclear Science

Dr. Marissa Reigel (SRNL) and Dr. Jim Marra (Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness (CNTA))

Nuclear technology is all around us. It provides clean electricity, safe food sources, medical imaging, national security, and even fire safety in our homes. How can you take the complex concept of nuclear science and make it fun in the classroom? This presentation will provide an introduction to nuclear fundamentals, uses of nuclear technology, and provide useful demonstrations and resources for the classroom. In addition, since nuclear science and technology are prevalent in the Southeastern United States, we will discuss the variety of career opportunities in the nuclear industry.

An Introduction to Nanotechnology: What, Why, and How We Incorporate It Into the Classroom?

Dr. Simona Murph (SRNL)

“To understand the very large, we must understand the very small”.  – Democritus

Nanotechnology is the cutting-edge branch of technology that deals with manipulation of matter on the nanometer scale (1-100nm). A nanometer, which is derived from the Greek prefix -nano meaning “dwarf”, is one-billionth (10-9) of a meter.

Why are we so captivated by nanomaterials? At the nanoscale, materials have unusual properties and behave differently than both bulk matter and their constituent atoms or molecules. This makes them fascinating and highly valuable for applications across many fields from engineering to medicine. The possibility of finding new and intriguing materials that can cure disease, help us explore and/or live in space, make us live longer and healthier lives, increase communications, and discover new energy supplies is exhilarating. Given the myriad of emerging applications in the field, nanotechnology will likely revolutionize the future and have a paramount impact on our society. As we continue to ensure America’s homeland security and continued prosperity, we need to enhance society’s knowledge base and propel nanotechnology education forward.

This presentation will provide a brief introduction of nanotechnology concepts and some of its most fascinating applications. We will conduct a series of “nano” lesson plans and hands-on nano-experiments that will assist educators in integrating nanotechnology into their everyday curriculum. Guidance on how to acquire complimentary educational nanotechnology materials and resources to capture students’ imaginations will conclude this presentation.

Chemistry, Coding, & Combat: A hands-on introduction to the Sumo Robot League

Will Ashby

Learn about the chemistry used by the Sumo Robot League, an Augusta Georgia startup, to create their initial prototypes and products.  Then get hands-on experience coding sumo robots in a graphical programming environment called mBlock (a fork of MIT’s Scratch programming language) that can easily be used in the classroom.  Participants will receive instruction on programming the robot’s ultrasonic sensors, infrared line sensors, and motors and then test their programs against other robots in the Dohyo (Sumo Ring).  No prior coding experience needed. Please bring a laptop if you have one and willingness to try something new!