For decades, Lydia E.M. Hines (PhD, ’71, Applequist) has engaged her local community in chemistry as a volunteer through a variety of activities and events, including an annual Chemistry Day that she founded at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in her home of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The event draws about 1,000 people annually and features hands-on chemistry activities that engage children and adults.
In recognition of outstanding achievements that improve public recognition and appreciation for the field of chemistry, the American Chemical Society selected Hines as the recipient of the 2020 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach.
“Sharing chemistry, both formally and informally, to audiences from the very young to the young-at-heart has been part of my life for so long that it is both humbling and affirming to be the recipient of this award,” Hines said. “This honor holds special significance for me, as I have had the privilege of collaborating with Helen Free over the years and have long admired her passion for outreach.”
Hines has been very active with ACS for 53 years, has taught at the college level and worked in industry, but most recently, she retired as a chemistry lecturer from Western Michigan University. She has devoted, and continues to devote, more than 40 years as a volunteer, bringing interactive science experiments to classrooms and mentoring college chemistry clubs in Southwest Michigan, primarily in Kalamazoo, where she is known as the “face of chemistry.”
Hines has held numerous leadership positions within ACS membership over the years, including serving as chair of the Kalamazoo local section and the Great Lakes Region Board, general chair of two regional meetings and an ACS Councilor for 36 years. After more than 20 years outside the workforce, she returned to the classroom in 2004, first at Kalamazoo Valley Community College then Western Michigan University. She continues to mentor other chemists in their own outreach efforts.
“Dr. Hines truly is a ‘face of chemistry’ in our field and beyond,” said Amber Charlebois, an assistant professor of chemistry at Nazareth College and chair of the ACS Committee on Public Relations and Communications, which annually presents this award. “Her years of service as an educator and ambassador for science have had a profound impact on the ACS community and her own community, and I offer my sincere congratulations.”
In addition to this latest award, Hines has been honored by the ACS Committee on Community Activities as the 2014 volunteer of the year for her involvement with the Kalamazoo Section. She also received the ACS E. Ann Nalley Great Lakes Region Award for Volunteer Service in 2011.
“Dr. Hines has always displayed a genuine love for chemistry and a desire to share that passion with everyone she meets,” said James J. Kiddle, PhD at Saint Xavier University. “In addition, she is dedicated to less obvious outreach activities, like being a mentor. She is always willing to listen and help guide mentees because she loves interacting with people who are dedicated to the chemistry profession.”
Established in 1995, the Helen M. Free Award is a ChemLuminary Award that recognizes outstanding achievements in public outreach. Free, a former ACS president, initiated many programs and activities designed to improve public awareness of chemistry’s contributions to the quality of daily life.