COACS Salutes to Excellence Awards

Posted: March 3rd, 2017

On February 16, 2017, the Colorado Section of the American Chemical Society (COACS) celebrated “Salutes to Excellence Awards”. This event honored outstanding individuals and groups that have made contributions to the scientific community by volunteering to better our communities, fellow scientists, and students.

2017 Outreach Volunteer of the Year

Dr. Marge Rakowsky, was recognized with the 2017 Outreach Volunteer of the Year award for her countless service during the 19 years she has served as secretary of the executive committee of COACS. Marge retired in 2016 from a teaching position in the chemistry department at the Air Force Academy where she was one of the first civilians that taught there.  During her tenure, she mentored many cadets and provided opportunities for research internships.

Individual Salutes to Excellence

Dr. Karen Knaus, University of Colorado at Denver, was recognized for her service as the COACS Student Awards Chair for eight years. She has administered the program that grants students travel awards to attend and present their research at ACS meetings.  Currently she is assisted by Dr. Emily Ragan from Metro State University.

Helen Gerhard, Quality Management and Auditing Consultant, was honored for her service to COACS as Webmaster.

Dr. Marge Rakowsky, was also recognized for her service as the secretary for the Colorado Section of the ACS and has been a powerhouse for almost 20 years. One of the projects she has championed is the celebration of senior COACS members (45 years and more) by hosting two luncheons each year, for both the northern and southern COACS members.

Team Salutes to Excellence

There were two teams recognized with Salutes to Excellence. One led by Dr. James Blakemore, University of Kansas, and Dr. Debbie Crans, Colorado State University, and assisted by Kelly Hassell and Dr. Carlos Olivo-Delgado of CSU organized and held a very successful two-day symposium, “Young Talent in Colorado and Beyond.”  The symposium had untenured professors, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate student presenters and was attended by approximately 110 people.

The second team, led by Elnore Grow, Horizon High School, and Greta Glugoski-Sharp, St. Mary’s Academy, were recognized for the annual awards presentation of celebrate the top high school chemistry student at each high school in Colorado.   Dr. Sue Schelble and Dr. Connie Gabel, both of Metro State University, were also recognized for their great support to this program.  These awards are unique to ACS and have been recognizing excellence in our high school students since the 1970’s!


This evening of celebration was made even more special with live music provided by Yusef Farah, Ph.D. student, CSU Chemistry, on his classical guitar. The COACS plans to make celebrating their volunteers an annual event!

COACS is the local section of ACS for Colorado. The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the leading sources of authoritative scientific information.  ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and is the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers, and other related professionals. To learn more about COACS, please visit their website.

Dr. Marge Rakowsky, Dr. Karen Knaus, Helen Gerhard, Greta Glugoski-Sharp, Elnore Grow,

Dr. Debbie Crans, Dr. James Blakemore, Kelly Hassell, and Dr. Carlos Olivo-Delgado

(Award Recipients are listed left to right)