Radford professor accepts national-level position with the American Chemical Society

Assistant professor of organic chemistry Amy Balija, Ph.D. (right), is the new chair of the Women Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society.

Assistant professor of organic chemistry Amy Balija, Ph.D., has accepted the position of chair of the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS), effective January 1, 2021.

According to Balija, responsibilities in this role include developing and executing programming at the national level, representing the WCC in diversity and equity meetings, collaborating with sister volunteer organizations and leading 30 direct reports.

“We congratulate Dr. Balija on this wonderful news and impressive achievement,” said Dean Orion Rogers, Ph.D., of the Artis College of Science and Technology. “We are very proud of her for representing Radford University at the national level and being a model of faculty excellence.”

The mission of the WCC is to attract, retain, develop, promote and advocate for women to positively impact diversity, equity and inclusion within the ACS and the chemistry profession. Goals of the committee include increasing engagement and retention of women in the field, as well as enhancing leadership and career development opportunities for women.

“WCC advocates for equity and inclusion within the chemical enterprise to provide current and future generations of female scientists opportunities to excel in their fields,” Balija said. “I am honored to be chair of the Women Chemists Committee and work with such talented, passionate members to achieve these goals.”

Balija joined the Radford faculty in 2016. Her research seeks to improve the environment by using sustainable chemistry methods.

“We use the concepts of ‘green’ chemistry to develop efficient reactions that produce minimal hazardous waste products,” Balija explained. “These methods can be incorporated into designer macromolecules, such as polymers and dendrimers, whose applications include pollution remediation, sensor technologies and biodegradable plastics. This research is multidisciplinary, merging techniques from organic chemistry, polymer science and analytical chemistry to understand how small organic molecules and macromolecules interact on a molecular level.”

In 2017, Balija was also recognized at the national level with the 2016 Centennial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Iota Sigma Pi, a national honor society for women in chemistry.

The national award recognizes excellence in teaching chemistry, biochemistry or a chemistry-related field by a woman scientist whose primary duties are teaching undergraduates.

Feb 2, 2021
Mary Hardbarger
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