STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Madeleine Jacobs (ACS)
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on July 17, 2012
Madeleine Jacobs- Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, American Chemical Society
Madeleine Jacobs is Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society with 164,000 members; 43 journals; Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) magazine; Chemical Abstracts Services; and educational programs. Jacobs spent 35 years in science journalism and public affairs at C&EN, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and NIH. She serves on boards of numerous scientific nonprofits and has won awards for journalism and mentoring women and minorities. She has a B.S. in chemistry and a Doctor of Science (honorary) from George Washington University.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
In the mid-20th century, the great mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote: “Almost everything that distinguishes the modern world from earlier centuries is attributable to science.” The standard of living that most of us enjoy today and hope to extend to our follow residents on Earth depends on innovations in science and engineering. I want to be sure that the United Statesis a leader in accomplishing this important and aspirational goal.
What principles do you, as a leader, apply to your professional and personal life to advance the STEM cause?
I will see or talk to any young woman and offer her my time and advice on advancing her career and balancing her personal and professional life, and I will accept appointments on boards of directors of organizations which work to advance the STEM cause and work hard to help them achieve their goals by giving my time, talent, and treasure.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
Every individual has a responsibility to mentor girls from the time they are very young to ensure that they have the same opportunities and the same self-confidence as men. We need to ensure that girls have opportunities to excel in math, science, and engineering and the self-confidence to know that there are no limits to what they can achieve. Every organization has the responsibility to educate its employees, leaders, and boards of directors on subtle and overt forms of discrimination that hold women (and minorities) from achieving their full potential and of contributing their full potential to the advancement of organizations and the nation.
Who is your STEM role model and why?
Mary Good, who currently serves as Head of the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America (ASTRA), is hands down my role model. Mary has done it all, and is still doing it, as Dean Emerita at theUniversityofArkansas. She has been a leader in STEM in industry, academia, and government—all at high levels. And she has been a devoted wife, mother, and friend and has been a continuing mentor to women at all levels.
Of what one initiative are you most proud?
I am most proud of the ACS Scholars Program, launched in 1995, to increase the number of under-represented minorities in the chemical sciences. The goal of the program is to promote inclusion in the chemical enterprise by helping develop the next generation of scientific talent to reflect our nation’s diverse society. Although it is a college program for gifted African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, more than 100 of its participants have earned Ph.D.s in the chemical sciences, a startling statistic for a program little more than 15 years old. ACS maintains an average of 350 students in the program at all times and disburses about $1 million in scholarships annually. Since its inception, the ACS Scholars Program has awarded over $14 million in direct financial assistance to more than 2,500 students. This program was honored in 2001 with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering.