Public Release: 

Pennsylvania chemist and educator receives award for fostering diversity

American Chemical Society

Chemist and educator Susan Yochum, S.C., Ph.D., of Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pa., will be will be honored June 28 by the world's largest scientific society for encouraging women and minorities to study and pursue careers in chemistry. She will be presented with the Women Chemists Committee Regional Award for Contributions to Diversity at the American Chemical Society's Central regional meeting in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Yochum -- an associate professor of chemistry and chair of Seton Hill's math, science and computer technology division -- has taken the college's mission to provide women-focused education to a new level. Under her direction, the college has obtained funding for several new science scholarships: The Bayer Corporation offered four-year, renewable scholarships, with possible internships, to science majors, and the Clare Booth Luce Foundation has funded two full scholarships for undergraduate female students who demonstrate outstanding scholarship and leadership.

In 1997 Yochum became director of Science Quest, a summer camp designed to encourage female middle and high school students to pursue science. She obtained scholarships from the Vira I. Heinz Foundation and the Alcoa Foundation to enable economically disadvantaged female middle school students to attend the camp. She also developed an offshoot to this program, called QUEST (Quality StUdents Explore Science and Technology), that targets female students of color and students in urban and rural schools and encourages them to pursue science. QUEST, a three-year program, is supported by an Eden Hall Foundation grant.

Yochum has advised Seton Hill's ACS Student Affiliates Chapter for seven years. The chapter has earned the Society's Outstanding Award each year in recognition of its numerous outreach activities with middle school students, Girl Scouts and other community groups.

Yochum received a B.A. in chemistry from Seton Hill College; a M.S. in inorganic chemistry from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.; and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cleveland State University.

The Regional Award for Contributions to Diversity, given to commemorate the ACS Women Chemists Committee's 75th anniversary celebration, recognizes individuals who have stimulated or fostered diversity in the chemical workplace.


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