Chemistry and Biochemistry

Y-Chem Commended by American Chemical Society

Posted: Nov 30, 2012

The Y-Chem Society was selected in September to receive its second consecutive Commendable Award for its activities during the last academic year.

The Commendable Award is the second-highest recognition that can be given to student chapters by the American Chemical Society. Y-Chem is one of 81 student chapters selected by the ACS’ Committee on Education to receive a Commendable Award. Dr. Daniel Austin, who served as Y-Chem’s faculty advisor last year, is proud of the students in Y-Chem.

“It’s a competitive award,” Austin said. “All of the [student chapter] reports go to a committee who chooses chapters to recognize for ‘outstanding,’ ‘commendable’ or ‘honorable mention.’ … They [the student chapter] have to balance lots of different things they have to do, like social activities and leadership and development activities.”

Activities put on by Y-Chem last year include: performing several magic shows at elementary schools and various other groups, as well as one show at the Utah County Fair in Spanish Fork; attending the ACS meeting in San Diego in March, where “a good number” of students also presented, Austin added; and hosting record numbers of junior high and high school students for Open Lab Day in May on BYU campus.

Austin credited the students involved in Y-Chem with making the chapter so successful.

“Really the students did all the work last year. I was really hands-off,” he said. “The club has built up a lot of momentum in recent years. We went from my first year as advisor, when we didn’t get any award at all, then we got an honorable mention, and now we’ve got two commendable awards, which is really significant.”

Undergraduate student Joel Everett, who served as treasurer for Y-Chem last year and is now serving as its president, named three ways the chapter benefits both students and the community when he described his decision to become an officer. Y-Chem helped him feel connected to the students and professors in the chemistry major, gave him opportunities to promote chemistry to the public, and allowed him to become better friends with his peers by spending time with them socially and not just in a study setting.

“Being an officer in Y-Chem has given me the awesome opportunity to work with lots of different professors and students,” Everett said. “I feel much more connected with my major and the department because of my involvement in Y-Chem. Second, I think that what Y-Chem does is really important. We promote chemistry in the community by putting on magic shows and hosting Open Lab Day. I think it's important to get kids interested in the sciences through these activities. I also think it is important that our club members have the opportunity to volunteer in the community to promote something they obviously are passionate about. The social aspect of Y-Chem is also important to our club members. Although we spend a lot of time studying together, it's great to connect with the other members by going to social functions, research conferences or through volunteering. Y-Chem is a great way to become better friends with your peers.” 

This is Everett’s third year being involved in Y-Chem. Dr. Scott Burt took over as chapter advisor at the end of the last academic year.

The Y-Chem Society hosted record numbers of junior high and high school students at Open Lab Day in March 2012.  Nick Teodoro, the 2011-12 president of Y-Chem, was one of 13 undergraduates who presented at the ACS meeting in San Diego.

Students dance at the annual nerd dance hosted by Y-Chem.

By Jessica Henrie

Photos courtesy of Joel Everett