Philadelphia Local Section

American Chemical Society - Philadelphia Local Section

2009 ACS FELLOW CATHERINE T. “KATIE” HUNT

This write-up was done in 2009 and Katie was part of the inaugural group elected as an ACS Fellow. Katie retired from Dow (formerly Rohm and Haas) in January 2013. One of the most important and visible women in science, Katie was a key architect and leader of the technology partnerships group at Dow, a global specialty materials company. The team’s goal was to accelerate the pace of innovation in the company by fostering collaboration with industry, academia, national laboratories, government agencies and foundations. Under her direction, the technology partnerships group became a force with more than 30 programs. One, for example, developed adhesives from biomass—creating an environmentally-friendly, energy-saving product that performed as well as existing technologies. Another was creating emulsion particles that require less material—ultimately aimed at significantly decreasing dependence on foreign oil. As the partnership program expanded, it created new jobs in research, manufacturing and marketing. It was also a financial success story, working with the company’s business units to secure funding that represented many times the fully-allocated costs for the group. Collaboration and innovation drove her leadership on the job. Her company’s technology partnerships group literally changed the way the organization innovates.

Her work has been widely recognized and lauded. She was named a 2007 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, its top honor. Katie serves on the Board of Directors of the Council for Chemistry Research and is an organizing member of the Vision 2020 Nanotechnology Roadmap. She is a past best-paper awardee from the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics Industry and a team recipient of her company’s S.J. Talucci Quality Award for developing a global, interactive analytical network.

Due in great part to her professional success, Katie was elected the 2007 ACS President. In that role, she promoted science and technology on the local and international stage and from classrooms to Capitol Hill. In her inaugural message, Katie articulated her belief that it is time for the United States to reignite its commitment to science. Even before her presidency, she helped rally ACS members to petition President George W. Bush to highlight the importance of science and technology in his 2006 State of the Union. He did, and also invited ACS leaders to take a “sneak preview” of his speech. Clearly her passion is infectious and she strongly influences collaborations across industry, academia, national laboratories and sister societies to ACS. She visited congressional offices, and drafted policy statements on science and technology. She advocated nationally for “step out” research, in which partnerships with government agencies, industry and universities advance the understanding of fundamental science.

Katie is a clear inspiration and role model for young women who proves that the glass ceiling can be broken and that women can succeed in a male-dominated field. She is a member of the Women Chemists Committee of Philadelphia ACS, through which she has been a passionate volunteer with Expand Your Horizons, a hands-on science experience jointly conducted with Chestnut Hill College and the Montgomery County American Association of University Women. She also speaks at colleges about careers in chemistry and the critical and universal value of science. She is a past recruiter at Harvard, Yale and MIT, but continues to find ways to encourage women to seek exceptional education in the sciences through a wealth of educational programs and local ACS Section activities. And she took great pride in mentoring other women to rise through the ranks at her company.

Of perhaps greatest importance, Katie is an international role model for women. She was one of just 25 women to represent the US in the People to People Ambassador Program’s Women in Science Delegation to Cuba. In the countryside and in Havana, she met with women in science including students, professors, medical doctors and the female members of Fidel Castro’s science advisors. There, she presented a paper entitled Virtuous, not just Virtual, Teams: Analytical Networks Deliver.

Katie’s extraordinary ability and impact is evidenced in her achievements both in her professional career and as a dedicated member of the ACS. Her leadership, passion and talent make her an inspiration to all pursuing careers in the chemical sciences.