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Countdown to Cali: NOBCChE West Regional Conference kicks off tomorrow!

The NOBCChE West meeting is a three-day educational and technical event consisting of different multidisciplinary workshops and symposiums focusing on chemistry, chemical engineering and professional development opportunities for students, STEM educators and industry professionals. Keynote speakers include Dr. Kimberly Prather (UCSD, SIO, CAICE Director) and Dr. Joseph Francisco (Purdue University, former national ACS and NOBCChE president, member of the National Academy of Sciences). Click here to check out the full program.

Follow all the latest happenings on our Facebook page on onTwitter at #NOBCChEWest.

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See what's knocking this week on the NOBCChE Opportunities Blog

Check out our roll up of internships, research experiences, development and enrichment workshops, co-ops, post-docs, enrichment events, award nomination opportunities and more. Check it out at

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Remembering Winifred Burks-Houck, NOBCChE's first female president
Winifred Burks-Houck earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Dillard University New Orleans, and a master's degree in organic chemistry from Atlanta University. She spent most of her career as an organic chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on environmental protection projects.

For NOBCChE, Burks-Houck was recognized for her efforts to actively establish the organization on the West Coast. She was the first chair of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter from 1984 to 1990, and organized numerous educational and professional development activities for the local community.

In 1991, Burks-Houck was elected national vice president of NOBCChE, a position she held until becoming president in 1993. She served for four consecutive terms until stepping down in 2001.

During her tenure as president, Burks-Houck expanded the organization to include many new professional and student chapters. She also developed a strong relationship between NOBCChE and ACS that has enhanced both organizations' outreach programs for minority chemists. Burks-Houck is survived by her husband, Morris Houck.

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  Spreadsheet Problem-Solving & VBA Programming Course

Spreadsheets are a powerful problem-solving tool for chemical engineers. Take advantage of a three-day immersion into Spreadsheet Problem Solving and Excel VBA Programming. This course is a combination of two popular AIChE courses: Spreadsheet Problem Solving and Excel VBA Programming Register for this class May 13 -14, 2014 Houston, TX.

Winifred Burks-Houck Women's Leadership Symposium: Honoring the Legacy of Winifred Burks-Houck

Leadership, commitment and vision define the legacy of Winifred A. Burks-Houck. To honor the achievements and life works of NOBCChE's first female president, the Annual NOBCChE Winifred A. Burks-Houck Leadership Awards were established to recognize a professional woman, a graduate student and an undergraduate student, each of whom has a demonstrated record of quality professional contributions, creative innovations and dedicated leadership and community service throughout her career, as these qualities exemplify Winifred's life.

Professional Awardees
  • 2010: Sandra K. Parker, Dow Chemical Company
  • 2011: Dr. Christine Grant, North Carolina State University
  • 2012: Dr. Sharon Barnes, Dow Chemical Company
  • 2013: Dr. Rashida Weathers, Drug Enforcement Administration
The WBH award and symposium was created by three women, Dr. Takiya Ahmed, Dr. Valerie Goss and Talitha Hampton, at the 2009 NOBCChE Annual Meeting in St. Louis. The creators recognized the need for recognition of the professional achievements and leadership of NOBCChE women and their contribution to the organization. At the time, only one woman had been awarded the Percy Julian award, NOBCChE's most prestigious award. During the meeting, the creators expressed their frustration with the limited representation of women in organizational leadership roles, and as NOBCChE awardees and decided to take action. Three months later the WBH Award and Symposium was established and the first symposium occurred in 2010 with the generous sponsorship of Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis at the University of Washington.

Featured Speakers
  • 2010: Dr. Margaret E. M. Tolbert, Senior Advisor and CEOSE Executive Liaison, NSF
  • 2011: Dr. Mae C. Jemison, CEO and Founder, The Jemison Group Inc.
    NASA Astronaut and First Woman of Color in Space
  • 2012: Maggie Anderson, CEO of the Empowerment Experiment author of the book Our Black Year

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Minority women chemists yesterday and today

As far as we know, the first African-American woman Ph.D. was Dr. Marie Daly in 1947. I am still searching for an earlier one. Women chemists, especially minority women chemists, have always been the underdogs in science and chemistry. African-American women were not allowed to pursue a Ph.D. degree in chemistry until the late in the 20th century, while white women were pursuing that degree in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Racial prejudice was a major factor. Many African-American men were denied access to this degree in the United States. The list of those who were able to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry is short. The Knox brothers were able to receive Ph.D.s in chemistry from MIT and Harvard in the 1930s. Some men had to go abroad to get a degree; Percy Julian obtained his from the University of Vienna in Austria.

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'Cosmos': Can a black scientist be TV's new breakout star?
The Grio
There's a new program on television that features space travel, alien-looking sea creatures, time travel, awe-inspiring special effects and thought-provoking insight about life as we know it. No, it's not some existential new sci-fi HBO series, it's a 13-episode Fox mini-series about the universe called "Cosmos: A Space Odyssey." Hosted by astrophysicist and science rock star Neil deGrasse Tyson, the show is a revamp of Carl Sagan's show of the same name that premiered more than 30 years ago.
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Calculating women: How to get more girls into math
The Christian Science Monitor
Women have come a long way from being seen only as pie bakers to today's pi pioneers. Last Friday was Pi Day, a celebration that falls on March 14 each year. Pi Day celebrations would be well served if parents take time to review with their kids that mathematics is for everyone, especially those who love puzzles. Ruth Charney, president of American Women in Mathematics, is keen to solve one word problem in particular: woman + mathematician = mathematician and not "woman mathematician."
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Opinion: Why lawmakers need to invest in STEM education
Washington's many technology employers are hungry for qualified workers, from the folks who install and maintain the systems that keep buildings running in downtown Spokane, to nuclear physicists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, to agricultural workers in Yakima Valley, to software engineers at Microsoft's campus in Redmond.
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Why good managers are so rare
Harvard Business Review
Gallup has found that one of the most important decisions companies make is simply whom they name manager. Yet our analysis suggests that they usually get it wrong. In fact, Gallup finds that companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the job 82 percent of the time. Bad managers cost businesses billions of dollars each year, and having too many of them can bring down a company. Businesses that get it right, however, and hire managers based on talent will thrive and gain a significant competitive advantage.
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Utah Senate approves $20 million for STEM education
Deseret News
Lawmakers approved a major push for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Utah recently with the appropriation of $20 million to the STEM Action Center. HB150 directs funding toward the professional development and endorsement of educators in STEM education under the direction of the STEM Action Center, which coordinates STEM education in the state.
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Leadership: How to get from good to great
Company leaders always want to motivate, inspire and support their people to the absolute fullest. But most go to bed at night suspecting that they are coming up a little short. Maybe more than a little. Take heart: You can become a truly great leader. Here's what it takes.
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