ALAN R. HELDON, Retired, Biochemist
Education: BSc Chemistry, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, 1970
ACS Membership: 1970; Philadelphia Section: 1970
ACS Participation: Secretary, Philadelphia Section, 2008 to present; Chair, Philadelphia Section Gov. Affairs Committee, 2004 to present; Chair, Philadelphia Section Member Affairs and Public Relations Committees, 2014 to present; Chair, ACS PA Gov. and Legis. Affairs Committee, 2005 to present.
Statement: Serving over nine years as Secretary of the Philadelphia Section I recognize that many of the challenges facing our Section and its members reflect challenges facing our Society as a whole.
Our understanding of chemistry is increasing at a rate scarcely imaginable half a century ago. That miracle is not reflected in chemistry the job, where little has improved in half a century.
Challenges I believe are important to our future include:
1. Career planning must navigate business and employment landscapes defined in important ways by downsizing, restructuring and mergers. Our Society’s commitment to career counseling and job search assistance has never been more important.
2. U.S. high school students’ scientific literacy places in the mediocre middle among developed nations. Sustaining the current miracles of discovery requires a scientifically literate work force. Swift and far reaching changes to K through 12th grade science education are required if the United States is to maintain its scientific preeminence.
3. Extreme political ideologies and the power of big campaign donations to corrupt are increasingly part of government and overshadow government’s influence on the practice of chemistry. (C&EN Vol.94 Issue 42, pp 20-21, Oct 24, ‘16.) Our Society must respond quickly and decisively to all issues that affect chemistry in the venues of government and politics.
4. With our section’s travel and parking realities, building the means to bring events, via the internet, to the membership should be a priority.