Chemistry Conference Focusing on Sustainability Kicks Off Next Week at SUNY Potsdam


Chemists from a variety of backgrounds and students from all educational levels will gather to discuss the future of sustainability in their scientific field at the 37th Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society at SUNY Potsdam next week. More than 500 scholars and students from across New England, as well as from as far as Mexico, Taiwan and Germany, are expected to attend.

The theme for NERM 2010 is “Chemistry for a Sustainable World,” and fittingly, plenary speaker Dr. Catherine T. Hunt will present a keynote address entitled “Science for a Sustainable World: Education, Collaboration, Innovation!” to open the conference at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2 in Kellas Hall Room 106.

The research and development director for external science and technology at Dow Chemical Company, Dr. Hunt is also a past president of ACS, where she championed sustainability not only in the field of energy but also relating to food and water resources. In her inaugural role at Dow, as the director of technology collaboration development, Dr. Hunt was an integral member of the Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle team and championed the RetroFit Philly “Coolest Block” contest, a partnership aimed at making Philadelphia the “greenest” city in America while at the same time setting the standard for urban weatherization programs across the U.S. Her plenary address will challenge chemists and chemistry professionals to think holistically about conservation and producing products and processes that use and waste less energy, food and water.

Immediately following the plenary address, attendees will move to the Barrington Student Union Multi-Purpose Room to enjoy an opening reception with hors d’oeuvres, drinks and music provided by Crane School of Music faculty members Doug and Jill Rubio on guitar and flute from 7 to 9:30 p.m. At the same time, a poster session and recruitment fair will be offered, where undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to present their research and speak to representatives from doctoral programs and industry. Students from around the globe are expected to attend.

More than 350 scientists have registered to give presentations in all-day technical sessions including 30 symposia on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4. There will also be vendor exhibits on display throughout Kellas Hall from industry representatives, as well as chemistry events for students advising them on preparing resumes, interview skills and planning their job search.

Dr. Berkeley W. “Buzz” Cue, who is organizing a symposium on green chemistry for industry, will present another plenary address, “Sustainability: Will It Be Sputniks or Boiled Frogs?” at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 in Sara M. Snell Music Theater.

Dr. Cue consults with several technology companies who serve the pharmaceutical industry to create innovative solutions for pharmaceutical science and manufacturing challenges through BWC Pharm Consulting LLC. Until his retirement in 2004, Dr. Cue was responsible for all of the departments in the pharmaceutical sciences division for Pfizer’s Groton research and development site. He is the creator of Pfizer’s Green Chemistry Initiative, and has spoken extensively on the topic since 2000, eventually being recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his efforts to “green” the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Cue’s speech will be followed by a performance of the musical comedy “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which will be presented by the Department of Theatre & Dance and free for ACS members, at 8 p.m. in Snell Theatre.

The American Chemical Society will hold its governance breakfast on the morning of Friday, June 4. The technical sessions and vendor exhibits will continue throughout the day, culminating in an evening awards dinner. Attendees are then invited to a free concert presented by the Aria Reed Trio, led by Julianne Kirk, an assistant professor of clarinet at the Crane School of Music.

NERM 2010 will close on Saturday, June 5, with special educational events geared toward elementary, middle and high school teachers and their students, as well as leadership training. The conference will also sponsor a free trip to the Sunfeather Soap Factory in Parishville for attendees.

Another unique event taking place at the conference is an international meeting of the minds between the presidents of the American Chemistry Society and the Canadian Society for Chemistry. The heads of both organizations, who rarely are able to meet, will be able to discuss sustainability and other issues in person thanks to Potsdam’s convenient proximity to Canada. Canadian chemists will be well represented at NERM 2010, with several symposium organizers coming from Ontario and Quebec. Organizers worked to encourage chemists attending the CSC 2010 National Meeting in Toronto, which ends on Wednesday, June 2, to journey to Potsdam for NERM 2010 to collaborate with their American neighbors.

With more than 161,000 members, the American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe. ACS Regional Meetings are organized by ACS Local Sections and reflect the diverse professional interests in their geographic regions.

This is the first time that SUNY Potsdam has hosted the regional conference, and the College’s chemistry faculty have worked hard with partners at other universities to provide a packed program. The last NERM conference held in the North Country was at Clarkson University, Potsdam, in 1999.

For the most up-to-date schedule for the 37th Northeast Regional Meeting, visit, or contact conference Chairman Dr. Martin A. Walker, an associate professor of chemistry, at (315) 267-2271 or

Founded in 1816, SUNY Potsdam is a four-year liberal arts college nestled on the outskirts of the Adirondack Park. Among the 64 units of The State University of New York system, SUNY Potsdam has the longest history and currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. It is well known for its academically challenging liberal arts and sciences and teacher education programs, as well as its world-renowned Crane School of Music.