Articles

    Dr. Ann Nalley

    October 2007:

    Ann NalleyDr. Ann Nalley is currently a Professor of Chemistry in the Physical Science Department at Cameron University, a position that she has held since 1969. Before coming to Cameron she taught high school chemistry and mathematics at Muskogee High School. She has held positions as a visiting scientist or professor in the Chemistry Departments at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Dallas, and the Polymer Science Department at the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree at Northeastern Oklahoma State University, a Master's Degree in Analytical Chemistry at Oklahoma State University, and a Ph.D. in Radiation Chemistry from Texas Woman's University. Her research includes new product development and solving industrial problems in the area of cosmetic analysis, nanostructural materials, applied research in the petroleum industry and molecular modeling.

    Dr. Nalley states that she started school in a one-room schoolhouse (only 13 students in all eight grades) and read a book on Marie Curie. This inspired her to want to study science. Ann was also good in mathematics and enjoyed being competitive in the math contests each week. When there are only 13 students in school you compete with all eight grades. She attended that school for four years and then it closed. Later when she was attending a larger school with 120 students in all eight grades and found she still enjoyed the competition. In her junior year in High School Ann was the state champion in chemistry. She was a high school junior in 1958 and was chosen to attend a summer research camp at the Oklahoma State University to interest high school students (20 boys and 6 girls) in science. There were not many girls in those days. When Ann entered Oklahoma State University she started in chemical engineering, but soon Ann switched to chemistry. She has always had an interest in science and she enjoys competing with men! She transferred to Northeastern to complete a degree in chemistry with an education emphasis so that she could teach. She taught one year of high school and then returned to graduate school at OSU.

    When asked why she entered chemical education, Dr. Nalley replied, “I tried to go into industry in 1969 and I sent out 40 resumes and when I still did not have a job one of my advisors said, "Why not apply to Cameron? He called the department chairman in the physical science department at Cameron. I knew the chairman since I had taught an organic lab at OSU in which he was enrolled as a student and I was hired after a telephone interview.”

    When asked why she feels that women should be in the field of chemistry she replied “Women are an important part of our world. We think differently and have a different approach to problem solving. In today’s world we need all views and approaches.” When Dr. Nalley began on the Board of Directors of the ACS she stated that her goal was to have women occupy 50% of the positions. Today the women occupy 10 or the 16 positions. Now the men are complaining that they need parity and this is not fair!

    When asked where she views chemistry going she replied “Chemistry is going overseas. Our industry is moving overseas. This is scary! As a nation we should keep chemistry in the United States and continue to have this country the center of Research and Development for the world!” When asked about the discipline of chemistry she stated “chemistry is moving into biology or the biology major now needs more chemistry to understand biology.” She also observes the overlap between nanotechnology and chemistry and the physics discipline. “We used to be called scientists. Then we used our discipline labels. Now we are all becoming scientists again. Science has become cross disciplinary and interdisciplinary”

    Dr. Nalley's activities in the American Chemical Society have earned her recognition at the National Level. She served as National President of the ACS in 2006 and has been a director for seven years from Region V. Ann Nalley has held a number of other positions in the ACS in her local section and also in the Division of Professional Relations and 12 national committees or taskforces. In 1992, she was honored by the five sections of the American Chemical Society as the Oklahoma Chemist of the Year. She was the first and only woman to be so honored. In 1996, she was honored at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans when she was presented with the Division of Professional Relation's Henry Hill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Professionalism. She has served as a Councilor for more than 25 years. She also served four years on the National Board of the American Institute of Chemists as a Director-At-Large; a term she completed in 1996.She is the first woman to be appointed to PACIFICHEM. She was the lead organizer on an international symposium presented at the 2005 PACIFICHEM entitled, “Women Past, Present, and Future.” She has organized or co-organized over 35 symposia at National and Regional ACS meetings on professional issues most of which have been directed toward women’s issues.

    Dr. Nalley served on the Board of Directors of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (the largest and most prestigious multidisciplinary honor society) for 21 years; She served in the positions of Regent, National Vice President, President-Elect and National President. She has chaired or served on numerous local and National Phi Kappa Phi Committees.

    Dr. Nalley's honors at the National, State and local Campus level are numerous: These awards include: being named the Oklahoma State Science of the Year by the Oklahoma State Teacher's Association in 2001, Texas Woman's University Distinguished Alumnae Award in 1998, Cameron University Professor of the year in 1995, Cameron University Advisor of the year in 1993; and in 1996 Dr. Nalley received the Cameron University Distinguished Service Award, (the highest award given by the University (She is the first and only faculty member to receive this award). In 2005 Dr. Ann Nalley was named the Violet Diller Professional Excellence Award recipient by Iota Sigma Pi. Ann Nalley is listed in several Who's Who publications and American Men and Women in Science, and Who's Who in Science and Engineering. She is a member of Sigma Xi, Sigma Pi Sigma, Phi Delta Kappa, Iota Sigma Pi, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association for University Women, American Institute of Chemists, and four divisions of the American Chemical Society.

    Ann Nalley stated that “Success is enjoying what you do and being happy in what you do.” She is not ready to retire. She still enjoys taking Magic Shows to elementary schools with her students. She loves involving her student. She reports that she is now teaching some third generation students. She also enjoys spreading the word about chemistry, even taking bottles of hand lotion to state representatives to make the point about the importance of science in our lives.

    Dr. Nalley summarizes her career as a teacher as “Each day as I teach my students, I touch the future!" She also added “When you teach students what to learn you prepare them for today, when you teach students how to learn you prepare them for the future!”

    Ann Nalley is looking forward to attending the Mendeleev conference in Russia this summer and in December being in Singapore for an International Chemical Education conference. In her spare time, Dr. Nalley finds time to maintain a pet refuge for over 40 displaced or deserted animals. Her advice for all female chemists is to choose a supportive husband. She proudly reported that her husband has supported her career, her travels and tolerated all of her many professional activities. She stated that after the ACS Board that she is looking forward to being a good Grandmother for her two grandsons and enjoying her attorney son and her biology teacher daughter-in-law.

    –  Written by Anne T. Sherren