Award Dinner Summary

by Lauren Ragle

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, we had one of our largest dinner meetings in years! We had 50 attendees, many of whom were not regularly attending dinner meetings. The 2023 Hillebrand prize awardee Chris Cahill, shown with his award on the left, brought his family and at least half of the chemistry students at GW – or so it seemed! His talk about the importance of understanding the activity of actinides was so engaging, even the non-scientists in the room could follow some of the story. While I may be biased towards carbons, I now have more respect for uranium and friends.

The recording is available for those who were unable to attend, and I strongly recommend it for scientists of all ages. Appreciating where we’ve come from as a nation at war and what to do with waste as we move into peaceful applications was truly a powerful message.

As this is our big award dinner, we also recognized the hard work that Allison Aldridge, shown with me on the right, has done over the past several years with CSW. She recruited me back in 2017 when I was new to the area and trying to make friends. As she plans for a successful 2025 Fall ACS Meeting, Allison has already recruited many more helping hands. Our largest Project SEED was last year with some 20+ high school students getting paid research projects over the summer – and that was mostly due to my co-chair, Allison. I look forward to her turn as president in 2025 and I hope to be just like her one day.

Speaking of awards, our local colleges nominated students who were outstanding in their departments. I was blessed to speak to several of them before / after the seminar and hear some of their upcoming goals. I am proud of this up-and-coming generation of scientists, who will be the leaders of tomorrow. From already contributing to published works to moving into a forensic chemistry position, these students have wonderful futures in store, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow.