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National Chemistry Week

While working at the American Chemical Society (ACS), Randy Wedin served as the program manager for the first National Chemistry Day in 1987.  This program, which has since grown to an annual National Chemistry Week, is designed to enhance public awareness of the important contributions of chemistry to the quality of our lives.  National Chemistry Week is celebrated annually, the first full week of November, Sunday through Saturday, by community volunteers nationwide including members of the 188 American Chemical Society local sections, industrial chemists, and educators.

As the Society's flagship program for public outreach, its mission is:

to reach the public, particularly elementary and secondary school children, with positive messages about chemistry
to make a positive change in the public's impression of chemistry
to promote a mechanism for effectively mobilizing ACS local sections and 
to motivate the ACS membership through local section activities.  

For his work on this program (click here for a summary of the 1987 National Chemistry Day program), Wedin and the American Chemical Society received the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the PR profession's highest award. Often called the "Oscars" of the profession, the Silver Anvil awards recognize complete programs incorporating sound research, planning, execution, and evaluation.  

Wedin has continued to be active in the National Chemistry Week program, serving on both national and statewide committees.  For his work on this program, he has received two Phoenix Awards from the American Chemical Society, awarded for outstanding performance in the development and implementation of chemistry-related activities that further the mission of National Chemistry Week. 

Kids & Chemistry

Randy Wedin, through Wedin Communications, has also been involved in the development and implementation of another public outreach program of the American Chemical Society.  The Kids & Chemistry Program  was developed by the American Chemical Society to give scientists the resources and training necessary to share hands-on science with schoolchildren ages 9 to 12.  By working directly with children, scientists can make a real contribution to their understanding of science, by showing children that:

Science and chemistry are part of everyday living
Science and scientists make important contributions to everyday life
Scientists are people, just like other members of the community

The Kids & Chemistry program provides scientists with free training and a wide variety of hands-on science activities and demonstrations that are safe and age-appropriate.  Over 2,000 scientist volunteers have done Kids & Chemistry activities with over 60,000 people in schools, museums, shopping malls, libraries, and other community locations. These chemistry events have been sponsored by ACS local sections, individuals, retailers, schools, and other organizations in the community.

Wedin served on the national task force that developed and implemented this program.  He also designed, wrote, and produced Positive Reactions: The Kids & Chemistry Newsletter from 1994 to 1997.   

While Chair of the Minnesota Section of the American Chemical Society in 1993-4, he brought the program to Minnesota, where it has flourished.  Wedin continues to participate in the program by cpnducting hands-on activities to his local elementary school, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Bell Museum, and the Mall of America.

International Chemistry Celebration 1999

A third example of Wedin Communication's expertise in Public Outreach is the International Chemistry Celebration (IChC).  Members of the international chemistry community have found that they share a strong common interest in reaching the public with a positive message about chemistry.  To recognize and celebrate the international nature of this issue, the ACS joined with other chemical societies around the world to declare 1999 as the year of the International Chemistry Celebration.  In the United States, IChC began with National Chemistry Week in 1998 and culminated with National Chemistry Week in 1999. Organizations and individuals from over 50 countries participated in the year-long celebration.

Wedin served on the international task force that developed and implemented this program.   He also served as the Editor of the IChC Newsletter, designing, writing, and producing the newsletter from 1995 through 1999. Click here to see a copy of the December 1999 issue of the newsletter. (862K PDF file)

Wedin designed, wrote, and produced the final report on the International Chemistry Celebration.  Click here* to see a copy of the IChC Final report, which is published in the format of a corporate annual report.  (2.26 MB PDF file)

Other Public Outreach Projects

Wedin is one of the main authors for Guaranteed to Succeed: A Handbook for Community Activity Coordinators (a“how-to” booklet for public outreach practitioners, published by the American Chemical Society). Wedin Communications has developed two handbooks to help scientists, engineers, and their employers work together with their communities to improve the public understanding of science. The Science Alliance for Kids & Chemistry: A Handbook was developed for the American Chemical Society, and ChemTogether: A Handbook for Building Employee/Employer Partnerships of Public Outreach Activities was developed for the American Chemical Society and the Association Roundtable, a Washington-based consortium of non-profit scientific and engineering organizations.

Wedin was the writer for Speak Out: Our Chemical World, a joint project of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now the American Chemistry Council), and the Council for Chemical Research (November 1996).   This "Chemical Communications Toolbox," which serves as a guide and resource to assist members of the chemical community in speaking with their local communities about chemistry.  The package includes two presentations (with scripts, slides, and suggestions for customization) and a video and booklet with tips on public speaking.

Wedin authored "Balancing Risks and Benefits in a Chemical World," a book chapter in Your Chemical World (a book for the general public, published by the American Chemical Society, 1994).