Chemistry Club: Not just Science and Lab Coats

For the second year in a row, the Santa Monica College (SMC) Chemistry Club has been awarded the Outstanding Award of Excellence from the American Chemical Society, being the only community college awardees of all the societies chapters. 

“The club does a chapter report at the end of the fiscal school year,” explains emeritus club president Tarik Meziab. “[We] report to show how we've worked with our community and how our chemistry Club has been successful and they use that criteria to determine if we win an award.”

Meziab was the Chemistry Club president for two semesters, and is now a member of the Presidents Ambassadors Council at SMC. A year ago, he went to New Orleans to receive the award gifted to the club for the previous years work. “I got to accept these outstanding awards for the officers that I didn't interact with too much and to hear that my group had one the same Awards felt really great because it made me feel like I deserve to go up on stage and accept those awards for the other,” explains Meziab.

There were 400 student chapters from around the country that submitted reports of their work for the 2017-2018 year, and of those, only 69 chapters received the Outstanding Award. Other schools who received the award include UC Davis, UC San Diego, and University of Arizona.

“The reason we won that award I think is because of the amazing organizational skills of Jennifer Shea and Travis pecorelli,” states Meziab. “I'm very proud of the advisors for what they've done because they do a great job setting up the club for the next group of officers to be successful as long as they work hard.”

Due to their initiative in “green chemistry,” the club has also been granted the Green Chemistry Award. "It's not sustainability. It's about even before that is preventing the need for sustainability by creating chemical processes that are sustainable."

The report the club sends in includes what they have done for community outreach and how its been successful. One of the clubs most community involved events is the upcoming second annual STEM Festival. Created last year during Meziab’s presidency of the Chemistry Club, the first festival was a successful event with nearly 100 families in attendance.

“This event was a large factor for our club receiving such high honors from the American Chemical Society, and hopefully it will become a longstanding tradition at the college,” explains current Chemistry Club President Benyamin Makhani.

“I felt pretty confident with how it turned out,” reflects Meziab on last year's STEM Festival. “I know we were happy because we had upwards of 80 different families in the area and even outside of the area come to check out all of our different demonstrations.”

“It's really cool because you like people excited about science.”

“This year we’re expecting an even larger turnout than last year due to ads placed on KCRW and increased interest from community members,” says Benyamin Makhani.

The STEM Festival is an event that aims to bring together to community of Santa Monica and the STEM students of SMC to “peak the interests of young minds in the sciences.” The festival will be taking place this Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Santa Monica College main campus' cafeteria.