Mary K. Carroll
Why are you running for President-Elect?
To amplify and elevate ongoing ACS initiatives: working constructively, respectfully, collaboratively and creatively with other members to effect positive change and advance ACS for its members and society. I have benefitted tremendously from ACS initiatives and opportunities and I firmly believe in ‘paying it forward.’
What are some of the most important changes you would like to enact during your ACS Presidency?
The members of the ACS presidential succession do not, on their own, have the power to enact substantive changes to ACS programs or policies. They do, however, have significant influence as members of the ACS Board of Directors and significant visibility as representatives of the Society. In my experience, the most effective ACS Presidents have worked within the governance structure to effect change, acting in collaboration with and amplifying the work of committees, local sections and divisions. If elected, I will make it a priority to actively engage with these ACS units, and with the International Chemical Sciences Chapters and ACS Student Chapters, regarding their ongoing initiatives. When deciding what to prioritize, I will focus on two overarching questions:
What is ACS uniquely positioned to do?
That is, where can our collective expertise and efforts have the most significant impact? We need to focus our efforts there.
How best can ACS engage the talents of all its members to do those things?
Although ACS has made important progress in ensuring that our community of chemical professionals welcomes and treats all its members with respect, including those from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences and our LGBTQ+ colleagues, there is work left to be done in this area.
I have a considerable track record of leading positive, collaborative teams that get things done. If elected to the Presidential succession, I will support efforts to better represent and involve all members in impactful activities for the benefit of ACS and society.
How and when did you get started in ACS?
Almost 30 years! I first became involved in ACS leadership at the local section level. I’ve served on the Eastern New York (ENY) Education Committee since 1993, the ENY Executive Committee since 1995 (first as an Alternate Councilor, subsequently as a Councilor), and the ENY Steering Committee for three Northeast Regional Meetings (NERM, in 1997, 2003 & 2019). I’ve represented ENY on the ACS Council since 1998, but wasn’t assigned to a national committee until 2001. Since then, I’ve served and, in many cases, taken leadership roles on a number of national committees, boards, and task forces:
- Committee on Science (COMSCI), 2021-23, committee associate 2019–20
- Leadership Advisory Board (LAB), 2018–19, committee associate, 2014–17
- Board/Council Policy Committee Task Force on Governance Design, co-chair, 2016–19
- Committee on Planning, 2017
- Council Policy Committee (CPC), (voting) 2013–18, vice-chair, 2017-18, 2010–12 (non-voting)
- Committee on Education (SOCED), 2005–12, chair, 2010–12, committee associate, 2001–04
- ACS Strategic Plan Education Goal Working Group, 2011, chair, 2011
- Program Review Advisory Group (PRAG), 2010–11
- Advisory Board, Graduate Education (GEAB), 2010–12
- Women Chemists Committee (WCC), 2004, committee associate, 2001–03
Although I’ve worked closely with members of the ACS Board of Directors (BOD) on many of these efforts, I have not yet served on the BOD. My experience prepares me to take a place at the table as a member of the ACS presidential succession.
How do you plan to work with younger chemists during your time as President?
Actively! We often hear said that younger members are the future of the Society. That is true; however, I think it’s important to emphasize that younger chemical professionals are an integral component of its present. Over the years, I’ve heard frustration from younger ACS volunteer leaders that others in the ACS sometimes view them more as protégés to be mentored rather than leaders who are ready to apply their talents and expertise in service of the Society.
The current ACS governance structure rewards and celebrates longevity, and our deliberative processes can appear maddeningly slow. Some students and early-career chemical professionals may not be in position to commit to a multi-year appointment that might eventually provide them with a focused opportunity to contribute meaningfully. If I am elected, I intend to work with YCC and ACS Student Chapters to involve more younger members in our committees but also to structure opportunities for participation in and leadership roles on short-term, high-impact initiatives.
I know that younger members have much to offer the ACS. In 30 years as a faculty member at a PUI (more than half of that time as advisor to its ACS Student Chapter), I’ve worked with young ACS leaders at the campus, local section and national levels. My local section has an active YCC that has benefitted section members and had significant broader impact as one of the founding sections of the Eastern US YCC Partnership. During my time on WCC and SOCED, I served as liaison to the national Younger Chemists Committee, so I had a first-hand view of the professionalism, dedication and agility that YCC brings to its activities. In particular, I applaud YCC’s longstanding contributions to ACS initiatives focused on its Core Value of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Respect.
I am committed to working within the governance structure to provide more focused, short-term opportunities for members with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences to contribute meaningfully, in ways that amplify their diverse perspectives, to initiatives that further the ACS Goals.