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. 

    Spicy Perfume

    Kids, how would you like to make your own bottle of perfume? If you don't use it yourself, it would make a nice Mother's Day gift...

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

    You'll need a small baby food jar with a lid, some rubbing alcohol, and 15 whole cloves. Place the cloves in the jar and half fill the jar with the rubbing alcohol. Secure the lid and let the jar sit for seven days. When the time is up, test the perfume using your finger to dab a few drops of the alcohol on your wrist. Let the alcohol evaporate and then smell your wrist. Your skin should have a faint, spicy aroma.

    What's happening here? The alcohol dissolves the aromatic oil in the cloves. When the alcohol evaporates from the wrist, the scented oil is left on the skin. Rubbing alcohol is a dilute solution of isopropanol, or isopropyl alcohol, in water. Perfumes are made by dissolving oils from flowers and other aromatic materials in alcohol. See the March 1996 ChemShorts on "Sugar and Spice" for more information on spices. For example, cloves are small, round, dark brown, dried flower-buds grown in places like Zanzibar and Sumatra. The aromatic oil of cloves is called eugenol (C10H12O2 ). Cloves, like many spices, are used in cooking and baking to enhance flavors. Cloves are often used when baking a ham, for example. Perhaps some cloves are left over from your Easter ham that can be used for your Mother's Day gift!


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    April 1997


    Reference: "Chemistry for Every Kid" by Janice VanCleave, NY: Wiley Publ., 1989, p. 172.