Outreach and Education Division

    The EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIVISION supports chemistry education at all levels, including K-12, college, and adult/continuing education. It maintains liaisons to the Chicago Public Schools and the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT). The Division engages the general public in chemistry-related educational activities, participates in ACS activities at the annual Illinois State Fair, and publicizes all events and news-related content. The division oversees the annual Project SEED program for the Section as well as the Project SEED scholarships. The Division also assists public officials and other community bodies concerning chemistry-related matters. The Education and Outreach Division includes the Education, Outreach, Project SEED, and Public Affairs Committees.

    The EDUCATION COMMITTEE provides chemistry-related educational programs and information to learners of all ages and actively engages with educators at the pre-K-12 and college levels. Subcommittees include:

    • AACT Liaison
    • College Education Subcommittee
    • Continuing Education Subcommittee
    • Chicago School Board Liaison
    • K - 12 Education Subcommittee


    The PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ensures that section members and public officials and bodies are informed of matters where the knowledge and practice of chemistry is of substantial public importance. These matters can include government issues, environmental issues and the social responsibility of chemists. The Public Affairs Committee gives the Public Affairs Award biennially.

    The OUTREACH COMMITTEE engages the general public, educators and children in chemistry-related educational activities and participates in many different types of events around the greater Chicago area.   Subcommittees include:

    • Community Activities Subcommittee
    • Illinois State Fair Subcommittee


    PROJECT SEED COMMITTEE identifies interested low-income and/or minority high school junior and senior students who are interested in participating in a paid summer research experience with  a college or university faculty member.  It supports financial and logistical concerns for the student/ faculty relationships and communicating  relevant program information to the national ACS organization.  The committee is also responsible for distributing Project SEED awards to support the internships. 

    Newspaper Nails

    Kids, how did your friend get that newspaper text on her fingernails? Here you will learn how to do it and why it works. This activity gives new meaning to having the latest information at your fingertips! You will need: pieces of newspaper, top and base coat nail polish, grey/nude/white/light pink colored nail polish, rubbing alcohol (isopropanol, isopropyl alcohol), cotton swabs, and nail polish remover.

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    Apply a solid basecoat to protect your nails and let it dry thoroughly.  Paint your nails with the light nail polish color and again make sure they dry thoroughly. Pour rubbing alcohol into the bottle’s cap or into a small jar.  Dip a small piece of newspaper print into the rubbing alcohol for about 5 seconds. Press it firmly on your nail for a few seconds. Peel it off carefully. You'll find that the ink from the newspaper will be left behind. Use a cotton swab and some nail polish remover to clean up your nails. Now apply a topcoat to your nails because, without it, the newspaper will rub off. See the video in the reference below for an on-line tutorial.

    Tips. You can also use the comics section, or the horoscope symbols, anything printed on newsprint will work the same. Press the newspaper firmly on to your nail; otherwise, the transferring ink will be incomplete on your nails. Be careful, and consider doing your nails over a newspaper, sink, or towel.

    Why does this work?  Newspaper ink is made up mostly of soybean oil and carbon black. The isopropyl alcohol helps start dissolving the ink so that it can transfer easily. The isopropyl alcohol dries quickly, and sealing the ink between layers of polish keeps it from rubbing off. 


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    October 2012


    Thanks to Elizabeth Neis for submitting this idea.