Dr. Evonne Baldauff, chairperson for the Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science at Waynesburg University, was recently awarded the Global Outreach Volunteer of the Year award by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Committee on Community Activities.
Our aim is to provide an experience for kids to learn about the value of chemistry, and to also see that becoming a chemist is an accessible and worthwhile goal.”
A total of 27 members were recognized by the ACS’s Committee on Community Activities with its 2023 Outreach Volunteer of the Year Awards for outreach efforts in both local and international chapters. Only one individual receives the global award each year.
“It is really an honor to be recognized by the ACS in this way,” said Dr. Baldauff. “It is a testament to the work that the Pittsburgh Section of the ACS does each year as well.”
Her contributions to activities in the ACS Pittsburgh Section during National Chemistry Week (NCW) as a volunteer and coordinator helped to garner her recognition for the award.
During the 2022 NCW, Dr. Baldauff assisted in the organization of events and outreach efforts for the ACS Pittsburgh Section, including an annual event at the Carnegie Science Center.
“In 2019, I took over the role of National Chemistry Week Outreach Coordinator,” explained Dr. Baldauff. “Each year, we partner with the Carnegie Science Center during NCW to host ‘ChemFest,’ a large-scale event designed to expose K-12 students to the joy of chemistry. For many years, this event brought in around 4,000 participants during the two-day program. Of course, the pandemic greatly impacted events like this, so for the past three iterations we have been going through a transition period. Our recent events have been smaller in scale, but we still strive to provide participants with a quality, authentic experience. We want them to walk away from one of our programs thinking that chemistry is pretty amazing.”
Another outreach initiative organized by Dr. Baldauff was the creation of science experiment activity kits distributed to school districts in the Pittsburgh area. This event started in 2021 with the participation of four chapters and expanded to nine participating student chapters in 2022. Districts each received 10 teacher kits that would enable them to perform experiments within their own classrooms with the supplied materials. Within this effort, an estimated 90 kits were assembled and distributed to 14 school districts in the Pittsburgh region.
“Our aim is to provide an experience for kids to learn about the value of chemistry, and to also see that becoming a chemist is an accessible and worthwhile goal,” added Dr. Baldauff.
Dr. Baldauff said the support she has received from Waynesburg University has only aided in her ability to make a difference through outreach efforts such as these over the years.
“One of the reasons I love working at WU is our shared vision for outreach,” said Dr. Baldauff. “Waynesburg University encourages faculty, staff and students to move outside the walls of the University and into our communities. In working with the Pittsburgh ACS Section and through National Chemistry Week specifically, I am supported by the University to share my love of chemistry to make a difference. I always include my WU students in outreach activities whenever possible as well.”
A native of Southwestern Pennsylvania herself, Dr. Baldauff enjoys the continued opportunity to promote the sciences and share her own love of chemistry with local students.
“I attended Canon-McMillan High School, where I received an excellent education that first sparked my love of chemistry,” she said. “This made a huge impact on the direction of my education and career; I hope that through these local outreach efforts we can similarly show students in the Pittsburgh region that chemistry is a rewarding pathway to pursue.”
Dr. Baldauff has advised Waynesburg University’s ACS Student Chapter since her first semester on campus in 2007 and has been active with the Pittsburgh Section since 2013. She has served in various capacities over the years, from secretary to treasurer and chair. She currently serves as a director and chair of the NCW Outreach Committee.
Waynesburg University's ACS Student Chapter
Waynesburg University’s ACS Student Chapter received the "Outstanding Chapter Award" for activities conducted during the 2021-2022 academic year. This most recent award marked the 15th outstanding designation the Chapter has received since 2005-2006.
Department of Chemistry & Forensic Science
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