ALAN R. HELDON, Retired, Biochemist
Education: BSc Chemistry, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, 1970
ACS Membership: 1970; Philadelphia Section: 1970
Local Section 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 Government and Legislative Affairs Committee, 2005 to present

Statement: Serving over 10 years as Secretary of the Philadelphia Section I recognize that some of the challenges facing our Section and its members are unique to our Section and some reflect challenges facing our Society as a whole.
Our understanding of chemistry is increasing at a rate scarcely imaginable half a century ago. This miracle is not reflected in employment in chemistry, particularly the private section, 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. The Philadelphia Section’s commitment to career counseling and assistance has never been more important.
  2. The travel and parking realities of the Philadelphia area requires that the Section must bring events, via the internet, to the membership. The Section must continue to develop its use of electronic media to publicize our events and meetings and make them available to members who cannot attend in person.
  3. U. S. high school students’ scientific literacy places in the mediocre middle among developed nations. Swift and far reaching changes to K through 12th grade science education are required if the United States is to maintain its scientific preeminence. Sustaining the current miracles of discovery requires a scientifically literate work force.
  4. Extreme political ideologies and the corrupting power of big political donations 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.) The ACS must respond quickly and decisively to issues in the political arena that affect chemistry.

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