March 29th Dinner Meeting to Honor Awardees

The March meeting of the Chemical Society of Washington will include the presentation of several awards: Hillebrand Prize, Gordon Award, Schubert Award, and Outstanding Volunteer Award. Dr. Kafafi, winner of the Hillebrand Prize, will present, From Inert Bond Activation to Organic Optoelectronics: My Journey in Chemical and Materials Research. Please join us on March 29th to honor the winners:

Hillebrand Prize – awarded for original contributions to the science of chemistry by member(s) of CSW, the Hillebrand Prize is named for William F. Hillebrand (1853-1925), one of Washington’s most distinguished chemists.
2017 Recipient — Dr. Zakya H. Kafafi
Dr. Kafafi receives this award in recognition of her pioneering contributions to organic optics and electronics technologies through innovative physical chemistry and materials chemistry research. Dr. Kafafi is an internationally recognized leader in the chemistry of materials for oganic photonics and electronics. Over her long and distinguished career, Dr. Kafafi has served at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory where she rose to the rank of Head of the Organic Optoelectronics Section. She has also been the Director of the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation. Also she has been a visiting/adjunct professor at Rice University, The Catholic University, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, and Lehigh University (current). Dr. Kafafi is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society, AAAS, the Optical Society of America, and the International Society of Optics and Electronics.

Leo Schubert Memorial Awardawarded to recognize an outstanding teacher of high school chemistry in the Washington, D.C. area. The award was established in 1979 to honor Dr. Leo Schubert, a chemistry professor at American University who devoted much of his career to developing programs for high school teachers and students.
2017 Recipient – Brendan Mallory
Mr. Mallory, a teacher at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland, receives this award in recognition of his exemplary service in the classical chemistry program, for being at the forefront in bringing new pedagological methods into the existing curriculum, teaching chemistry at the On-Level and Honor programs, and overseeing the update of curriculum in Environmental Chemistry at the high school level.

Charles L. Gordon Memorial Awardnamed after Charles Gordon for his years of service as managing editor of the Capital Chemist, the Charles L. Gordon Memorial Award is given in recognition of exemplary service by a CSW member to the profession of chemistry, to the science of chemistry, and/or to the Chemical Society of Washington.
2017 Recipient — Stefanie Wittenberg
Dr. Wittenberg is a Primary Patent Examiner at the USPTO reviewing electrochemical patents and determining the patentability of chemical subject matter based on the state of the. She has been a leader in the greater Washington D.C. area as Councilor, Treasurer, and Manager for the Chemical Society of Washington and a representative in various roles while attending the University of Maryland, including President of the Chemistry/Biochemistry Graduate Student group. She has been a part of 7 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of nanoscience, energy storage, and electrochemistry. Stefanie served as a CSW Councilor from 2015-2017, as Treasurer from 2013-2016, and as Manager from 2011-2012. She has served on several CSW committees including the Younger Chemists Committee and the Budget Committee. She has also served on the ACS Membership Affairs Committee. She agreed to continue as Treasurer for a second term when the elected Treasurer was unable to assume the duties. As CSW Treasurer, she provided exceptional records and kept the Section on excellent financial footing. The Chemical Society of Washington is pleased to recognize Dr. Wittenberg’s outstanding contributions to CSW and the chemistry community by naming her as the 2017 recipient of the Charles L. Gordon Award.

Outstanding Volunteer of the Yearestablished by the Committee of Community Activities (CCA) to recognize the immeasurable outreach efforts made by local section volunteers. Each local section has an opportunity to recognize one individual annually for demonstrating extraordinary outreach volunteer service within the section.
2018 Recipient – Betsy Jean Yakes
Since she was an undergraduate student, B.J. Yakes has been volunteering with ACS and local sections. With CSW, she enjoys participating in their outreach events including NCW demos, the USA Sci. and Eng. Expo activities, and career sessions. When teaching, she is “Dr. Why” that helps children learn the wonderful world of “Why?”. She endeavors to create hands-on experiments for students that match their core curricula. She especially enjoys engaging children that are typically under-represented in science as seen in her outreach to minority and lower-income area schools. Her goals are to make science accessible, approachable and fun for children.

Dr. Zakya H. Kafafi
Adjunct Professor at Lehigh University
Inaugural Deputy Editor of the AAAS journal Science Advances

Dr. Kafafi received her B.Sc. (cum laude) from University of Houston with a major in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. Three years later, she got her M.A. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Rice University. She then crossed the Atlantic Ocean and moved to Cairo, where she pursued her academic career as an assistant professor for the next few years before returning back to Houston on sabbatical leave as a visiting professor at Rice University. She then decided to combine her chemical expertise and training with research in optics, and joined the Optical Sciences Division at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, where she established and led an interdisciplinary research team, and a section on Organic Optoelectronics. Her work has been motivated by newly emerging technologies based on organic electronics and photonics, spanning a wide spectrum of disciplines including the chemistry and physics of organic and nanostructured materials, organic nonlinear optics, light-emitting materials and devices, photovoltaics, and plasmonics. In 2007, she joined the National Science Foundation as the Director of the Division of Materials Research (DMR). She was the first woman to lead the largest and unarguably the most complex Division in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate. During her tenure in DMR, she managed a budget portfolio close to one billion dollars, and oversaw the funding of single and group investigators, interdisciplinary research teams and centers, instrumentation, and major facilities. In 2011, she took sabbatical leave and was a visiting scholar/professor in the departments of Electrical & Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, and Chemistry and Material Sciences & Engineering at Northwestern, working with the groups of Professor Chérie Kagan and Tobin Marks, respectively. She was the President of Spectroscopic Associates, Inc. in Houston, Texas where she designed a cryogenic link that rotates and translates in vacuum for which she won an  R&D 100  Award. She also received an Edison Award in 2004 for inventing a simple two-step, cost-effective method to pattern conducting polymers for flexible organic photonic and electronic devices. Dr. Kafafi has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Lehigh University since 2008. She is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Photonics for Energy. She is also the Inaugural Deputy Editor for the online, open access Science journal, Science Advances. Dr. Kafafi serves on the Advisory Boards of IEEE Photonics and the Conference on “Spin in Organic Semiconductors.” She is the Chair of the Materials Research Society Awards Nominations Subcommittee. She also chairs and organizes the annual SPIE Symposium on Organic Photonics and Electronics, and the Conference on Organic, Hybrid, and Perovskites Photovoltaics. Dr. Kafafi is a member of the American Chemical Society and Sigma Xi. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Materials Research Society, the Optical Society of America, and the International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Matrix isolation spectroscopy is a powerful tool to isolate unstable species and reaction intermediates by trapping them in inert gas host matrices at cryogenic temperatures, and allowing their spectroscopic study at leisure. I will review briefly some of the early work carried out on these guest:host systems to identify their molecular structures using the technique of Fourier Transform Infrared Matrix Isolation Spectroscopy. The mechanisms of several chemical reactions of catalytic interest, ­­involving inert bond activation, have been delineated using this approach. From matrix isolated species in solid inert gases at 10K to light-emitting molecules dispersed in host matrices at room temperature, I used the same approach to launch my research in the area of light-emitting devices, which has been witnessing a revolution since the turn of this century. Conventional semiconductor technology has been challenged by potentially inexpensive, flexible, and lightweight organic electronic and photonic devices. Achieving high device efficiency and stability necessitates the design and development of electro- and photo-active organic and polymeric materials with the desired chemical, physical, electronic and optical properties.  New and exciting technologies including ultra-thin flat panel displays, solid-state lighting, plastic lasers and solar cells, are starting to surface in the market place and will lead to billion dollars industries. The rest of my talk will focus on advances made in the efficient conversion of electrical energy into light and solar energy into electrical energy using molecular and polymeric organic materials.

Meeting Logistics

Date: Thursday, March 29, 2018

Time: 6:00 p.m. Check-in/Social Hour
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. Awards Presentations
7:30 p.m. Presentation

Location: ACS Headquarters – Marvel Hall
1155 16th St., N.W., Washington, DC

Menu: Meal will be catered Fresh Connections and will feature a buffet of Prime rib, au jus, twice-baked potatoes, tossed salad, and Artisan bread. Vegetarian Option: Veggie Wellington served with roasted potatoes. Assorted cookies with fresh fruit and beverages will be provided.

Cost: $28 (Members and guests) / $14 (Students and High School Teachers)

RSVP by noon Tuesday, March 27, to or by phone (messages only: 202-659-2650). Please provide the names in your party when you RSVP, and if you wish to have the meat or vegetarian option. The public is invited to attend. You may attend the talk only, but reservations are appreciated. Those who make a reservation, but are unable to attend, should send a check for the cost of their meal to the CSW office. If you need any further information or would like to make a reservation, please contact the CSW office by email at or by voicemail at 202.659.2650.

Parking: Parking is available in nearby commercial parking garages. Please be aware that garage closing times vary. Parking is also available on the street after 6:30 pm, but be aware that most parking meters are in effect until 10:00 pm and may be limited to 2 hours. You should check the individual meters for details and payment methods as some are no longer coin-operated.

Metro: Blue/Orange/Silver Line: McPherson Square or Farragut West.
Red Line: Farragut North

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