Regional Meetings Committee Report, Spring 2019

Marty Perry, 2019 Chair

The Regional Meetings Committee (RMC) is charged by the Division to:

  • Provide oversight of the ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awards, which includes the development and maintenance of Award Guidelines, participation in the selection and presentation of the Region Award winners;
  • Insure that a Chemical Education Program is part of each Regional Meeting;
  • And promote the purpose and work of the ACS Division of Chemical Education.

RMC is pleased to outline in this NEWSLETTER Report recent efforts to address its charge.

  • ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awards:
  • Fall 2018 Awardees for Excellence in High School Teaching

Eight of the ten ACS Regions held meetings in 2018 providing opportunities to recognize and reward excellence in the teaching of high school chemistry. We reported in the Fall 2018 issue of the NEWSLETTER on the one Spring Award; RMC is pleased to report on the following four region Awards presented in Fall 2018.

    • The 53rd ACS Midwest Regional Meeting,
      October 21-23, 2018, Ames, IA


The winner of the 2018 Division of Chemical Education Midwest Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching, in Honor of John E. Bauman, Jr., is Maricar Harris from Wichita Collegiate Upper School in Wichita, KS.

Maricar Harris, Wichita Collegiate Upper School chemistry teacher and science department chair, is one who seeks to engage, encourage, and challenge any student who enters her classroom. She teaches Chemistry 1, AP Chemistry, and Advanced Chemistry Research. A teacher for over 18 years, she has been at Collegiate for the past five years. Maricar tries to foster the joy of sharing science with others. Along with a middle school math teacher, she chaperoned a group of middle school girls to Silicon Valley to hear women from companies (such as Facebook, SalesForce, Snap, and Mendel Biological) speak about their careers in tech related fields. Her upper school students have accompanied her to American Chemical Society meetings to hear circuit speakers. She utilizes student laboratory aides to facilitate her Duke TIP class for middle schoolers. She has invited kindergarteners to her classroom to watch science demonstrations done by current chemistry students. Utilizing a gas chromatograph to analyze samples in the research lab, students in her research class present their findings at the KU School of Medicine Research Forum each April.
Maricar continually strives to improve her teaching methods. She earned a Master in Education degree with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Baker University in December 2018. She is currently working toward a Master of Science in Chemistry Education through Illinois State University. In addition to graduate school work, Maricar seeks professional development opportunities. In 2016, she presented a session on “Chemistry Review Games” at the national NSTA meeting in Nashville. She has attended AP Summer Institutes at Rice University and University of Nebraska – Omaha. This past summer, she traveled to Washington D.C. for a week long, grant funded workshop on food safety sponsored by the FDA and NSTA.
Developing critical thinking skills, learning problem solving processes, gaining self-confidence, and establishing a solid work ethic are her goals for her students each year. Chemistry class is the vehicle through which this is accomplished. Maricar pushes her students to learn more and to do better, and she supports them along the way.

    • The 70th ACS Southeast Regional Meeting,
      October 31-November 3, 2018, Augusta, Georgia


The winner of the 2018 Division of Chemical Education Southeast Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Dr. Romina Jannotti from Hagerty High School in Oviedo, FL.

Dr. Jannotti began teaching in 2005, following her Ph.D. work in the field of mitochondrial DNA repair. Her primary goal is that all students understand that science, and its methods, can be applied to any problem. Dr. Jannotti’s teaching philosophy centers on the use of discovery to develop critical thinking. She routinely utilizes Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) to provide students opportunities to formulate conclusions and begin to see learning as an interactive process of refining one’s understanding. As a High School POGIL Initiative Partner, Dr. Jannotti has tested materials for the national organization and trained facilitators. Through her efforts, POGIL is now embedded in instructional plans for all levels of chemistry in her district. In the laboratory, Dr. Jannotti’s students collaboratively perform authentic experiments, collecting data to develop statistically significant claims. Her AP classroom is 100% flipped with class time being used to explore simulations, conduct experiments, focus on calculations, and fine-tune understanding. Her approach has attracted the largest annual AP Chemistry enrollments in the county with pass rates routinely above the national average and 15-17 points above the average for the state of Florida. This accomplishment was recognized in 2017 with a Hispanic Heritage teaching award from Governor Rick Scott. In 2016, Dr. Jannotti established AP Research at Hagerty. AP Research students work on original investigations culminating in a research paper and oral defense. Several of her students have won local, national, and international prizes for technical writing, science fair, Science Olympiad, and ACS “Outstanding High School Student.” Some have graduated high school as published authors and procured additional research opportunity with Dr. Jannotti’s help. Dr. Jannotti’s students view her as a life-long mentor. While some past students contact her while pursuing bachelor’s degrees for help with current chemistry classes, others come back after completing their degrees to report that their experiences were smoother because of the chemistry foundation she laid.



    • The 74th ACS Southwest Regional Meeting,
      November 7-10, 2018, Little Rock, AR

The winner of the 2018 Division of Chemical Education Southwest Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Usha Devathosh from North Houston Early College High School in Houston, TX.

Mrs. Usha Devathosh is a passionate chemistry instructor at North Houston Early College High School. She has over 12 years of teaching experience in Houston ISD and four years in Houston Community college as an adjunct chemistry professor. She worked in Oceanography, Environmental Science and Biotechnology industrial research laboratories after receiving her Master of Science in Organic Chemistry, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education with a major in curriculum and instruction and expecting graduation in December 2018. Mrs. Devathosh is a third-place recipient of 2018 Ernest and Sarah Butler award for excellence in Science Teaching by Texas Medical Association and received the Thomas Aczel Award for Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher in 2014 by American Chemical Society. She was finalist for KBR Science Teacher award in 2013. She has presented at various conferences which includes Space Exploration Educator inter-national conference- Space Center, Houston – 2012. Mrs. Devathosh is a member of American Chemical Society, Science Teacher Association of Texas, Associate Chemistry Teachers of Texas and American Educational Research Association.

    • The ACS Western Regional Meeting, 
      October 27, 2018, Pasadena, CA

The winner of the 2018 Division of Chemical Education Western Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Arlene Laurison from Sheldon High School in Sacramento, CA.

Arlene Laurison holds a B.A. in Chemistry from CSU Fresno and a M.S. in Chemistry from CSU Sacramento. She worked in industry for 10 years performing Gas Chromatography and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography analyses. She also managed and trained others in these analyses and served as a Chemical Hygiene Officer. Her teaching ability is reflected in her being chosen as the “Most Influential Teacher” at Sheldon High School (SHS) seven times in 18 years. As one of her recommender’s comments, “She understands differentiation better than most people. … Her knowledge of reading strategies enables her to appropriately connect students to the textual content. [Her] practical experience … as a chemist has prepared her to augment the curricula with real world, relevant examples of chemistry’s societal applications.” She currently holds leadership positions on the Elk Grove United School District’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Transition Team and in the Noyce Sacramento Math and Science Teacher Leaders (SacMAST-L) program. Both of these positions allow Ms. Laurison to “teach the teachers.” Arlene is also the 2018 recipient of the Janan Hayes High School Teacher Award from the Sacramento Section of the ACS.

  • Finalists for the Fall 2018 ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awards for Excellence in High School Teaching:

In 2014 RMC began the practice of using the CHED Newsletter to recognize all nominees for the Region Award for Excellence in High School Teachingand the schools at which they teach. In the tables below we list each Region Award, the 2018 Recipient, and all those whose complete nomination portfolios came before the Region Awards Committees. 

2018 ACS Division of Chemical Education Midwest Region Award for
Excellence in High School Teaching, in Honor of John E. Bauman, Jr.


Maricar Harris
Wichita Collegiate School
Wichita, KS 67206


Randolph Francis Brull
Thomas More Prep- Marian High School
Hays, KS 67601

Roseanne Hoffman
Harrisonville School District
Harrisonville, MO 64701

Jennifer Wilson
Blue Springs High School
Blue Springs, MO 64015


2018 ACS Division of Chemical Education Southeast Region Award for
Excellence in High School Teaching


Romina M. Jannotti
Paul J. Haggerty High School
Oviedo, FL 32765


Avrill Buerstetta
Ravenwood High School
Brentwood, TN

Jim Cherry
Summit High School
Spring Hill, TN 37174

Jessica Enlow
Cox Mill High School
Concord, NC 28027

Anita Gangwani
Evans High School
Evans, GA 30809

Michael Mury
All Saints Academy
Winter Haven, FL 33880

LaShawn McNeil
Lincoln High School
Tallahassee, FL 32311



2018 ACS Division of Chemical Education Southwest Region Award for
Excellence in High School Teaching


Usha Devanthosh
North Houston Early College High School
Houston, TX 77065


Casey Akin
College Station High School
College Station, TX 77845

Alicea Chaloupka
Christ the King Cathedral High School
Lubbock, TX 79413

Theresa Delong
College Park High School
The Woodlands, TX 77384

Carolyn Ericson
Clements High School
Sugar Land, TX 77479

Gale Hunt
Hebron High School
Carrolton, TX 75010

Jo L. M. King
Heritage High School
Frisco, TX 75035

Gary Layman
Bartlesville High School
Bartlesville, OK 74006

Debra Rogers
Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School
Little Rock, AR 72204


2018 ACS Division of Chemical Education Western Region Award for
Excellence in High School Teaching


Arlene Laurison
Sheldon High School
Sacramento, CA 95829


John Burns
Westminster High School
Westminster, CA 92683

Garrett Lim
Walnut High School
Walnut, CA 91789

Paul Matsumoto
Galileo Academy of Science and Technology
Sacramento, CA 94109

Heather Shafer
Bishop Garcia Diego High School
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Larry Walker
Calabasas High School
Calabasas, CA 91302

  • Region Award Nominations:

RMC continues to pursue ways by which a spectrum of Society-affiliated groups can participate in the Region Award nomination process.

  • Converting Regions Awardees to James Bryant Conant Nominees:

Beginning with the 2015 Region Awards, DivCHED Representatives to individual Regional Meetings took leadership roles to facilitate the nomination of Region Awardees for the James Bryant Conant Award. 

  • Chemical Education Programming at Regional Meetings:
  • DivCHED Representative Involvement in Programming

RMC is increasing its efforts to contact organizing committees early on in the planning process to not only encourage Chemical Education programming but to also volunteer to organize a symposium, general session, or poster session. RMC is also exploring partnerships with AACT to encourage and sponsor pre-college programming at regional meetings.

  • Regional Meeting Planning Conference (RMPC):

The RMC was represented by Marty Perry at the Regional Meetings Planning Conference (RMPC) held on January 25-27, 2019 at the ACS Leadership Institute in Atlanta, GA. Leaders for the upcoming ACS Regional Meetings were provided information about how the Division of Chemical Education can assist their organizing committees with programming support. Attendees were also provided award guidelines for the Excellence in High School Teaching Award.

  • Promotion of ACS Division through Regional Meetings:

RMC continues its joint project with the New Members Committee involving the design, preparation, and display of a poster that describes, using text and images, the mission and activities of the Division of Chemical Education. The poster is displayed by the DivCHED Representative, at each of the Regional Meetings, in a formal poster session and/or in the Registration area. The poster serves as a device to disseminate information about Division and to recruit new members to the Division.

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