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President of the Tennessee Academy of Science for 2016.

Born into a family with a teacher mother and an industrious father, I was destined to become who I am. My father, a machinist and mechanic, was as comfortable rebuilding an automobile engine as he was repainting a car; that was how he spent his spare time. My mother, the first in her family to attend college, taught grammar school before teaching high school business classes, then became a high school guidance counselor, and finally taught education courses at a private college. She often drove 100 miles, each way in the evenings, to attend graduate classes that led to two Master's degrees and a Doctorate of Education. That was how I was reared: placing education at the forefront of your life, yet using your mind and hands to build model planes or ships, or to solve everyday problems be it repairing a flattened bicycle tire or dropping a transmission to replace a worn clutch.

I grew up in the suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina, loving to ride bikes, fish, and hunt. Each summer I would spend one week "working" at my grandparents' tobacco farm, often sneaking off after the morning break to spend the remainder of the day fishing and swimming in the swamps with my cousin. My love of the outdoors has continued into adulthood with kayaking and canoeing whitewater rivers, camping and hiking in state and national parks, and running both marathons and ultramarathons; one can rarely get enough fresh air in the out-of-doors. Indoors I played piano, trumpet and French horn, and now-a-days classical guitar.

Upon graduating from high school, I was amazed that some of my classmates were not attending college. Having a mother who was a teacher and a professor of education, I didn't realize that one had that option. Disliking biology more than chemistry, and thinking physics was too difficult, I enrolled in Freshman Chemistry and, although I failed my first chemistry test (side note: studying would have made a difference), I managed to earn my BS in three years, with majors in Chemistry and Math and a Physics minor from the Baptist College at Charleston (now Charleston Southern University).

I earned both my MS and PhD degrees from Clemson University, performing synthetic organic research under the guidance of John W. Huffman. My Master's thesis (Potassium Triphenylmethide: A Strong Base for Organic Synthesis) and PhD dissertation (Conformational Studies of Diastereomeric Sets of tert-Butyl Octalones using Proton and Carbon-13 NMR Spectroscopy) provided me with opportunities to expand my knowledge of laboratory techniques (e.g. working with air-sensitive reagents, Kugelrohr distillation) and instrumental methods (including GLC, GC-MS, IR, UV-Vis, and NMR). The research opportunities and course work taken during my graduate studies provided me with knowledge that I have shared with my students in the Chemistry Department at Austin Peay State University (APSU).

My coming to Clarksville, Tennessee to teach at APSU was never an intentional move and never meant to be permanent. My idea was to teach a few years in Tennessee and then locate a position in South Carolina closer to family. After 33 years at APSU, I don't think I'm going to be making that change. APSU has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to teach a variety of general and organic chemistry courses, direct student research projects, write instrument research proposals, attend workshops, present papers at local and national meetings, and write articles for peer-reviewed journals.

It was at APSU that I was first introduced to the Tennessee Academy of Science (TAS). Dr. Jim Corgan (APSU Geology and director of the Middle Tennessee Collegiate Division Meetings of TAS (TAS-MTCDM) for many years at APSU) and Harvey Blanck (APSU Analytical/Physical Chemist) encouraged my attendance to the TAS Spring Collegiate and Fall Annual meetings. I joined TAS in 1983, had several students present papers at the TAS-MTCDM in the 1990s, and presented at a TAS annual meeting in 1994. I directed the TAS-MTCDM at APSU from 1993-2002, was elected as a TAS Fellow in 1995, and became TAS Collegiate Division Coordinator in 2003, a post that I still maintain.

It has been a pleasure to work with the TAS Board Members and the TAS Collegiate Division Directors over the past fourteen years. TAS has a caring group of leaders who give of their time and energy to focus on the offices of President, President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Managing and Assistant Editors of the Journal (JTAS) give an inordinate amount of time to the publication, gathering abstracts from meetings and contributed papers from the TAS membership, putting all of this information in the Journal to be shared with the Membership. The Annual Meeting Coordinator, the Collegiate Division Meeting Directors, and the Director of the Junior Academy each spend months preparing for their meetings to provide a forum for high school students, college students, faculty, and scientists to present their research to the Membership. The Director of Electronic Communications constantly updates the TAS webpage and provides web user information to the Board, while the Visiting Scientist Program Director, the Science Liaison, and the Chairperson of Publicity are all constantly working to provide the TAS membership, scientists, and science teachers in Tennessee with available resources and information. The three Members-At-Large to the Board give of their time to the organization, as do countless members of Standing Committees, Delegates to affiliated societies, and the Section Chairs and others who volunteer their services at the Spring and Fall Meetings. To all of you who are TAS members, thank you for your support of this outstanding organization that seeks to promote science, science education, and the dissemination of scientific studies by those in Tennessee.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the 2016 TAS President and appreciate all of those who make this privilege possible; without ALL of you who contribute so very much to TAS, my job would not be feasible.


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Author:Matthews, Fred
Publication:Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science
Date:Jun 1, 2016
Previous Article:Awards presented by the Tennessee Academy of Science.
Next Article:Proceedings of the Tennessee Academy of Science 2015.

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