The Women’s Chemistry Group (“WCG”) is an informal organization of academic and professional women, sponsored by the Southern Arizona section of the American Chemical Society, SAZACS. The WCG features monthly networking meetings plus various outreach projects primarily directed at attracting young ladies into STEM related careers.
The WCG traces its origins to the early 2000’s when Pat Schumann, longtime SAZACS rep to the National ACS, initiated the group as an offshoot of the national ACS Women in Science initiative. The WCG program featured monthly first Friday networking breakfast gatherings for local women in chemistry related positions, and participation in Science Olympiad and other outreach opportunities.
“The Way Things Were” Pre- Pandemic, through Spring 2020
We met From September to May, and included in our annual calendar:
Monthly: first Friday breakfasts
November: Arizona STEM Adventure, where we present an individual “Silly Putty” experience in a scientific context for most of the 1000 students attending annually
March: SARSEF Regional Science and Engineering Fair, where we function as sponsored judges and award prizes and notes of commendation for best female project at each level K-5.
December: collections of Christmas gifts for the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse,
May: Happy Hour collection of gently used professional clothing to the YWCA’s Your Sisters Closet program earmarked for women reentering the workforce.
We also present, as time allows, “hands-on” exhibits at the Tucson Botanical Gardens adjoining the Butterfly Magic exhibit and have a repertoire of “hands-on” exhibits for this presentation.
“The Way Things Will Be” Post Pandemic, Fall 2021
Our life in pre-covid times ended with the SARSEF science fair judging, March 2020 which featured well distanced judges only, no students or teachers; it was our last “live” event for over a year.
Fall 2020 featured a “virtual” Stem Adventure Silly Putty Event in which over 1700 kits of our design were delivered to schools by SARSEF volunteers for individual distribution, and we developed an accompanying video which got >5000 hits on U-Tube!
In spring 2021 we held small outdoor breakfasts after all were vaccinated to access plans for times to come, especially our potential participation in the ACS regional meeting, and we did virtual judging for the SARSEF Science Fair in March.
Summer 2021 has featured several breakfast meetings to prepare for the Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting Oct 20-23 in which the WCG will sponsor a luncheon/poster session featuring notable accomplishments of women in STEM. All ladies (and gentlemen!) who’d like to join us are encouraged to contact Sharon Gardlund (email@example.com) and/or Ellen Caldwell (firstname.lastname@example.org); in these uncertain times our fall 2021-spring 2022 schedule will be determined a step at a time!
Summarized below is a bit of history of our evolution to where we are today
WCG, 2008-2018: A Ten Year Overview
10 years ago, 2008, the group lost founder Pat Schumann’s leadership due to her increased professional responsibilities, and the statewide Science Olympiad moved from Tucson to Phoenix, taking with it the chemistry based Crimebusters event for which the WCG had been responsible. The WCG had some re-inventing to do following these 2008 losses.
Spring 2008 featured the initiation of an annual participation in the SARSEF Science Fair, in which the WCG awards a certificate and Barnes & Noble gift card for the best female project in each grade level competition, K-5. (120 female K-5 projects were reviewed that year; in spring 2019 the number rose to 474 and judges had to use a table station upstairs as the student exhibits covered the entire floor of the auditorium at the TCC convention center!). Pictured is the parchment certificate awarded each year and the judging team for Spring 2017.