Southern Arizona Local Section

American Chemical Society

Women's Chemistry Group, Southern Arizona ACS

The WCG is an informal grouping of academics, working and retired chemists, and graduate students who enjoy socializing with one another and doing outreach projects encouraging young ladies to consider a career in science…

We meet to nosh and nibble, network and plan, at monthly first Friday breakfast meetings, September to April, usually about 6:45 AM at Beyond Bread, 3072 N Campbell. Additionally, we gather for a late afternoon “Happy Hour” in May and December to get a chance to catch up with members who can’t make our early morning or daytime activities during the year.  [See further down for happy hour photos.] It is our practice each year  to  collect  donations at the winter Happy Hour for the Holiday Store at the  Emerge Center for Abused Women and Children (and to field a team of volunteers to help out there).  We collect donations of “gently used” professional clothing for “Your Sisters Closet” at the May event.  We collect toiletries for Primavera at both times.

OUTREACH PROJECTS: Fall 2011-Spring 2012

Our season began with the Marie Curie event at the September dinner meeting of the Southern Arizona section of the American Chemical Society, SAZACS.  The Marie Curie Event was a special group project undertaken for the celebration of   the 2011 International Year of Chemistry (IYC), with a special focus on the 100th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Marie Curie, based on her work on radioactivity and discovery of the elements polonium and radium.  

 At this event we collaborated with the UA Women in Science and Engineering (“WISE”) organization to present an “interactive poster event” honoring the life and accomplishments of M. Curie and also the achievements of a number of women chemists who excelled in fields she pioneered. 

The two hour session focused on discussing the scientific achievements of the designated women chemists by the WCG poster presenters at nine stations, supplemented by costumed UA WISE students who circulated in the audience describing the education, background, family life and obstacles overcome by the woman scientist they represented.   An assortment of internationally themed hot and cold finger foods and desserts were provided at the nine stations in lieu of a formal dinner, and booklets containing a one page life summary plus study references for each featured chemist were handed out to those in attendance.

[See the Meetings and Activities heading on this site for photos of the event.  Ed.]

  We have ready outdoor exhibits, hands-on experiments and hand outs ready for the influx of people coming in for the “Butterfly Magic” Event at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.    “Plants as Indicators”, “Plants as Dyes” and “Plants as Energy Sources” are the recurring annual themes for demonstration tables, which have been getting annual upgrades since 2009 and will again be setup over one or more weekends in Fall 2012.  We will try to schedule demonstrations on the Girl Scout Sunday at the TBG with a focus on badge work.  (In 2011, we managed to schedule our times during the only rainy weekend in the spring and in the fall!)

[Below are a few photos from the TBG Event.]

February 16 and 17 featured our fourth year of presenting and maintaining the “Silly Putty” booth at the annual Math Science and Technology Funfest.  This Tucson Community Center event is described as “a math and science extravaganza to introduce 4th-8th graders into diverse math, science and engineering principles”.    Almost 3000 students attended, after reserving all available slots to capacity last fall! Funfest is backed by a broad collaboration of sponsors including Raytheon, IBM, Honeywell, and UA.  Our Silly Putty booth has proven to be a popular event, and by request we doubled the size of our both, handling 1825 students who made take home samples and were educated a bit on making polymers, while learning about borax and glue chemistry.  

[Below are several photos of the Silly Putty event]



Additional Activities





At the Funfest booth, we   exhibited several of the posters of pioneering women in chemistry which were prepared for the Marie Curie event dinner meeting.  [See Meetings and Activities on the site.  Ed.]   The complete nine posters were also exhibited in December at the UA Flandrau Planetarium.

On March 13, we   continued our role as Special Events Judges at the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair, giving awards (parchment certificates and gift cards) to girls in grades K-5 for best science project in the physical sciences.

Also in March, several of our ladies participated in a panel for careers in the sciences in a Saturday “Expand Your Horizons” career workshop hosted by the WISE organization for middle school students; we are looking forward to participating in this event in Fall 2012 for a high school audience.

We welcome all ladies interested in science outreach and professional socializing to join us for any of the activities you can fit into your schedule; we can always use all the volunteers we can gather for each of our activities.  If interested, contact Sharon Gardlund, WCG chair, .


Happy Hour Photos

[Everybody is welcome and everybody has a good time.]

Fall 2014 Education Committee News

To follow our spring meetings (Feb and April) with Dr. Talanquer about changes made to the chemistry curriculum at the University of Arizona we met in September to discuss molecular modeling as part of the curriculum.   Chemistry instructors from local high schools and Pima Community College along with University instructors (17 in all) came and were introduced to ways to of using molecular modeling in the classroom.   Some had never used any simulations which are often used to help students to visualize molecular interactions.

 To follow up on the introduction and allow instructors from more rural areas to come we met again on a Saturday in November at the Woods Library.  Seven chemistry instructors were present including one from Wilcox (the teacher from Flagstaff wasn’t able to make it).  During this meeting instructors were able to look more in-depth at the software “Molecular Workbench” and experience how the software can be manipulated and used in a classroom setting.  Teachers with classroom sets of computers could use the software with classes as a whole while others could show the modeling using a projector. 

Some of the teachers in our group attended a workshop presented at the UA by Dr. Prather on Active Learning.  It has been suggested that this could be the focus of a spring meeting which would include activities/questions that could be developed as a group to use in the classroom. 

In addition to the chemistry instructors meetings one of our local teachers agreed to co-chair a chemistry day committee.  Grazyna Zreda and Pat Schumann sent out flyers to local schools and received over 90 entries.  Very successful for a first attempt!  They both worked to send the winners on to national and sent certificates to all the participants.






All Upcoming Events

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If you are not a national ACS member but you still wish to become an affiliate member of the SAZACS local section.  

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Current Chair: Ben Zarin


Mailing Address:


PO Box 43096

Tucson, AZ 85733