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Chemistry Students Receive Prestigious Award

Courtney LaPointe and Rebecca Firth smile with pride after receiving their Student Leadership Awards on Feb. 1 in the Stonecipher Lecture Hall. Only 22 students from different universities all over the world are selected for this achievement. Photo provided by Hayley Leming.

Tech chemistry students, Courtney LaPointe and Rebecca Firth, received a prestigious Student Leadership Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2021-22, respectively. Along with being an award recipient, students receive invitations to attend the ACS leadership conference.

Student members of the American Chemical Society from universities around the world are encouraged to apply to the Leadership Institute each year; however, only a limited number of undergraduate students receive invitations to the conference. Participants and honorees are selected from competitive pools of students that each possess exceptional leadership skills and potential. LaPointe and Firth were selected because they demonstrate these qualities in the classroom and as members of ACS.

Upon receiving her invitation, LaPointe attended the virtual leadership conference in 2021 with 21 other students from around the globe. “Since applications come in from across the U.S. and internationally. It was really exciting to be chosen,” LaPointe exclaimed. Dr. Amanda Caroll, the faculty advisor for Tech’s chapter of ACS and the 2021 chair-elect for the Nashville section of ACS, recommended LaPointe apply for the Leadership Institute.

According to LaPointe, the conference was three days of workshops and seminars that increased participants’ leadership skills and knowledge about ACS. In January, Firth and 16 other award recipients were supposed to travel to Atlanta to experience the 2022 session of the leadership conference live and in-person. However, due to an increase in COVID cases across the globe, the conference had to be postponed until the summer. Firth relayed, “There will be a virtual kickoff event on January 21st, and they are hoping to host the in-person conference in either May or June.”

Both students joined ACS their freshman year and have prospered into holding executive chair positions in the program. LaPointe resides as the current president of Tech’s chapter of the American Chemical Society while Firth assists LaPointe by serving as the vice president of the chapter. LaPointe and Firth selflessly serve Tech’s chapter of ACS to ensure the chapter runs effectively for current and future members.

LaPointe and Firth both continuously communicate their love for the chapter by participating in leadership workshops that showcases their willingness to learn and grow with the program. LaPointe expressed, “I’ve met incredible people through ACS and have been able to serve my chapter, university, community and now the international chapter.”