April 25, 2018

April 25, 2018


Chemistry Group Earns Accolades for Science Outreach

Chemistry Student Association officers

Members of the award-winning UT Dallas CSA chapter include (from left, back row)  Rain Mariano, Judy Chan and Ryan Lu; and (front row) Lana Khazma, Stephanie Almaraz, Dorothy Nguyen, Tracy Truong and Long Nguyen.

The Chemistry Student Association at UT Dallas has been named a top student chapter affiliate of the American Chemical Society (ACS), one of the largest scientific organizations in the world.

The UT Dallas student group is one of 56 chapters to earn an Outstanding Chapter award, and one of 74 chapters to be recognized as a green chapter for completing environmentally friendly activities. Nationwide there are more than 500 active student chapters of the ACS.

The awards recognize the chapter’s achievements during the 2012-13 academic year, said Sarah Faheem, a senior in biochemistry who was president of the Chemistry Student Association (CSA) during that time and whose officers oversaw many of the award-winning activities. Members of the CSA accepted the honors March 16 during the ACS national meeting in Dallas.

This marks the eighth consecutive year that the UT Dallas group has earned the Outstanding Chapter award and the second year in a row for the “green chapter” designation.

Rain Mariano

Rain Mariano, CSA vice president

Rain Mariano, vice president of the CSA and a senior in chemistry, said being selected for both awards places the UT Dallas group in the top 3 percent of ACS student chapter affiliates nationwide.

“These awards recognize our efforts toward spreading an interest in chemistry among the general public, particularly in K-12 students, and toward promoting awareness of how chemistry contributes to a greener, more sustainable future,” Mariano said.

Each year, the CSA engages in a variety of green chemistry activities, including participating in Earth Day events on campus and with the city of Dallas.

The group also designed and sponsored the production of fume hood stickers that are now ubiquitous in numerous buildings on campus, asking users to close their fume hoods to conserve energy. When active, fume hoods provide a steady stream of air to pump fumes away from work areas where chemicals are used, and they use a lot of power, Mariano said.

Stephanie Almarez

Stephanie Almaraz, CSA president

CSA president Stephanie Almaraz, a junior biochemistry major, said the group’s members are involved in community outreach activities throughout the year.

For example, each fall they collaborate with UT Dallas’ Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity to sponsor a K-12 math and science camp, and in the spring they assist Boy Scouts in completing chemistry merit badges. The CSA also gave chemistry demonstrations at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History during National Chemistry Week. On April 12, the students will have a chemistry show for children at the Joy of Science event at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

In addition to outreach events, the CSA provides networking and professional development opportunities for its members.

“Many of our members get connected to research opportunities and industry contacts through our events,” Mariano said. “Moreover, we bring in guest speakers who expose our members to career possibilities in chemistry, giving us different perspectives from industry and academia.”

About 50 UT Dallas undergraduates are involved in the CSA, and Almaraz said new members are always welcome.

“Surprisingly, a majority of our members are not chemistry majors,” she said.

Students interested in joining the CSA can contact the organization’s faculty advisor, Dr. Kenneth Balkus, professor of chemistry.

Media Contact: Amanda Siegfried, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4335, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]

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