The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, or NOBCChE, held the 39th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. from Sept. 25 to 28. In attendance at this year’s conference were representatives from COSAM, including Vincent Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate students Charmaine Tutson, president of the Auburn chapter of NOBCChE, PaviElle Lockhart, vice president of the Auburn chapter of NOBECChE, Dana Lashley, Cheryl Dejournette, Catherine Njeri and Elizabeth Ndontsa; and Bianca Evans, minority programs coordinator for the COSAM Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Also at the conference from Au! burn was Zenda Davis, graduate student from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The theme of the conference was, “STEMulating Innovation and Economic Growth Through Diversity.” At the conference, the team from Auburn University had an opportunity to hear guest lectures pertaining to cutting-edge topics in the fields of health, science and technology, including the keynote address given by Larry Robinson, Ph.D. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate confirmed Robinson by unanimous consent to serve as assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Robinson helps guide policy and program direction for NOAA’s conservation, protection and resource management priorities. The conference also included technical sessions that were meant to foster new ideas, as well as poster presentations.
Also at the conference were more than 60 universities, businesses and industry leaders in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering that set up information booths. The booths allowed participants the opportunity to interact with representatives from these leading institutions, learn about career options and explore educational opportunities. Included among the leaders in chemistry and chemical engineering education were the representatives from Auburn, who hosted an exhibit, providing information on both COSAM and the College of Engineering, and the diverse opportunities and fields of study both colleges offer.
Additionally, Ortiz and Roberts were recognized with the 2012 NOBCChE President’s Award (pictured is Ortiz). Victor McCrary, president of NOBCChE, presented the awards. Ortiz and Roberts were recognized for initiating and supporting the Technology Education Partnership between Auburn University and NOBCChE, and for providing increased opportunities and a more receptive environment for under-represented students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering.