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. 

    Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam CJ Walker (1867-1919)

    Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam CJ Walker (1867-1919), is celebrated as the first self-made female millionaire in the U.S., regardless of race or ethnicity. Primarily an entrepreneur, she made her fortune in hair care products designed for African-American women, founding the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, which is featured in the Innovation section of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. #blackhistorymonth #chemistry #africanamericanchemists

    Walker never got a formal chemistry education, but learned about hair care products from her barber brothers, and in her work for the Poro Company, which sold such items. Applying experience and instinct, she developed her own line of improved products, which proved very successful. As a process innovator, she developed the "Walker System" - a complete regimen of grooming routines that required her company's products for best results, and trained large cohorts of women to become "beauty culturists" to propagate her methods.

    Walker based her business out of Indianapolis, Indiana, but she is celebrated in Chicago at the MSI, and was the subject of of a 2006 play at the Goodman Theatre in the loop. 

    She also engaged in major philanthropic activities and social activism, which you can learn about here: