High School Education

    The High School Education Committee has two primary functions: coordinating the Chicago ACS Scholarships and Exams, and the regional round of the annual Chemistry Olympiad.


    The Chicago Section offers several scholarships to high school students in support of their college education. Every year in May, the High School Education Committee administers an exam to students nominated by their teachers, and scholarships are awarded based on their ranking in the results:

    $5000 for First place
    $3000 for Second place
    $2500 for Third place
    $1500 for Fourth place
    $1250 for Fifth place

    In addition, we give scholarships for special purposes:

    The Marie Ann Lishka Memorial Scholarship is awarded to the female student who scores the highest: $2000

    The Marshall S. Smoler Award is given to the top-scoring student from Chicago Public Schools: $200

    The Bernard E. Schaar Award, from the Chicago Chemists' Club, is given to the highest-scoring student from the City of Chicago: $500

    Students taking their first year of high school chemistry are eligible to take the scholarship exams, but students in Advanced Placement Chemistry are NOT ELIGIBLE. Advanced students are encouraged to participate in the Chemistry Olympiad.

    Full details, including nomination forms and practice tests: Scholarships page

    Chemistry Olympiad

    The Chicago ACS administers the region's exams in the International Chemistry Olympiad. High School Chemistry teachers nominate their top students (up to eight per school) to take exams, and the students with the top 20 scores advance to take national-level exams (also administered locally by the Chicago ACS). Students with the top 20 scores in the nation may then attend a "boot camp" at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the top four students in that program are chosen to represent the U.S. in the International Chemistry Olympiad.

    Full details can be found on our page: Chemistry Olympiad 

    Teacher Excellence Award

    Starting in 2018, the Chicago ACS has created an award to recognize and promote excellence in high school chemistry education.  For more information, click here.


    For information on chemical and laboratory safety, go to safety page

    High School Education Committee

    hs-ed - at - chicagoacs - dot - org / The high school education committee administers the annual scholarship examination sponsored by the Section and encourages and arranges liaisons between different components of local educational systems concerned with the teaching of chemistry and allied subjects by means of conferences, meetings, workshops, plant tours and speakers.  More info.

    High School Education Committee Chair

    Russell Kohnken
    Evanston Township High School
    High School Education Committee Chair

    Sherri Conn Rukes

    Chemistry demonstrator extraordinaire Lee Marek was our guest at our December 2015 meeting and holiday party, and he got brave members of the audience to participate in a few fun demonstraitons:

    1) Sparky arcing:

    Lee Marek shows sparky arcing at the Chicago ACS Holiday Party 2015 from ACS Chicago Section on Vimeo.

    2) The big bang:

    Lee Marek makes a big bang at the Chicago ACS Holiday Party 2015 from ACS Chicago Section on Vimeo

    3) Disappearing ink:

    Lee Marek explains the disappearing ink demo at the Chicago ACS Holiday Party 2015 from ACS Chicago Section on Vimeo.