Central PA Local Section

Welcome to Central Pennsylvania!


You are invited to the next meeting of the Central Pennsylvania local section!
Please VOTE for our 2018 Officers; contact Chairperson Dr. Dan Sykes at dgs12@psu.edu if you have not received an email containing a link to the voting survey.
2018 Officer Candidates:
Chair-Elect                   Dr. William Ames, Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA
Treasurer                     Cathy Hetrick, Restek Corporation, Bellefonte, PA
Secretary                     Write-in candidate
Committee Chairs        Write-in candidates
The positions for the following officers are ongoing:
2018 Chair                           Dr. Joseph Houck, Penn State, State College, PA
2017-2019 Councilor           Dr. Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, Penn State, State College, PA


Chemistry Lesson Kit Program

Central PA Local Section Innovative Program Grant

Our local section has been awarded a grant to develop chemistry kits for use by K-12 teachers.  The ACS student affiliate groups will manage the kits, but they need to be assembled and distributed to the 3 main colleges in our local section. We are planning an event to bring members together to make the kits and discuss how to use them (details TBA).

Goals and objectives

(1) develop a chemistry lesson kit program that will facilitate local section members and affiliates to volunteer in local classrooms or at community events

(2) train local section volunteers to teach inquiry-based chemistry lessons

(3) through the local section volunteers, increase the number of Central Pennsylvania K-5th grade students engaged in inquiry-based chemistry learning

(4) increase the outreach presence of the Central Pennsylvania Local Section in the region. 

Kit Lessons

Grades K-2
  • Density
  • Surface Tension
  • Chemical vs. Physical Changes
Grades 3-5
  •  Forensics (Where is Penny the Pony)
  • pH of Household Materials
  • Vitamin C Titration


Kits will be hosted at each college/university (Juniata, Lock Haven, PSU) and managed by ACS Student Affiliates.  Reservations can be made online (google form).


Awarded IPG of $3500 (~$200 per kit)


If just 20 Local Section members use one kit once during an academic year, more than 500 K-5 students will be reached (20 visits x 25 students per visit = 500).  

We honor local section members Dr. Roy A. Olofson and Dr. Semih Eser, who have been named as 2014 ACS Fellows!  A list of all ACS Fellows in our section can be found on the About Us page.

The new fellows were feted at the society’s national meeting in San Francisco in August of 2014 at a ceremony hosted by ACS Immediate Past-President Marinda Li Wu. The fellows program began in 2009 as a way to recognize and honor ACS members for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and ACS. Learn more about the ACS fellows program and the current fellows here.


Dr. Roy A. Olofson is an emeritus faculty member at Penn State University, and an energetic, inspiring member of our Central Pennsylvania local section. He has served as a consultant to the Joseph Priestley House since 1973, organizing several ACS-related special events, including celebrations, symposia, exhibitions, monument dedications, and lectures.

His achievements include the invention of new, better synthetic reagents (BOC-F, LTMP) and methods, including the reactant first attached to penicillins and cephalosporins to make them orally active (patented in 30+ countries).


Dr. Semih Eser is a Professor of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering at Penn State University. 

Dr. Eser received his B.S. (1976) and M.S. (1978) degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and his Ph.D. (1986) in Fuel Science from Penn State University. From 1987 to 1988, he worked as a research associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. He returned to Penn State in 1988 and was appointed as an assistant professor of Fuel Science in 1989. He served the Department of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering as Associate Head (2001-2006) and Acting Head (2004). At the EMS Energy Institute, Eser served as the associate director and director of the Laboratory for Hydrocarbon Process Chemistry (1995-2000). Currently, he teaches at the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and coordinates research on carbon materials at the EMS Energy Institute. His professional activities include serving as Program Chair (2004) and Chair (2006) of the Fuel Chemistry Division of American Chemical Society, and currently serving on the editorial boards of the Journal of ASTM International, Journal of Oil, Gas, and Coal Technology, and as section editor of Energy and Fuels in the Chemistry Central Journal. Eser's research interests include the reactivity and microscopic characterization of cokes and carbons, coke/carbon formation and deposition mechanisms, inhibition of undesired carbon deposition, and molecular analysis and processing of petroleum feedstocks.



  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Service Award, 1996
  • ACS, Fuel Chemistry Division, Outstanding Service Award, 1997, 2000, 2004
  • ACS 1999 ChemLuminary award on behalf of the Fuel Chemistry Division in the ACS Division Membership Contest, 218th ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 1999
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2001
  • ACS Innovative Projects Fund for Divisional Enhancement Award for "Attracting Graduate and Undergraduate Students to Divisional Activities at ACS National Meetings," 2005.
  • ACS Innovative Projects Fund for Divisional Enhancement Award for "Public Education and Outreach for Basic Literacy on Energy and Fuel Issues," 2006.
  • ACS 2007 ChemLuminary Award on behalf of the Fuel Chemistry Division for "Recognition of Innovation and Outstanding Service to Members of a Division," 2007.


Please join us for Local Section Activities!  Check the Activities and Seminars links at the left for current events

Students and mentors can apply for a Joseph A. Dixon Travel Grant to attend meetings and present their work;  check the Awards link at the left.

Upcoming Events

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