Moy Recognized for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences

ACS Honors UH’s Longest-Serving Professor

Mamie Moy
Moy receives the award from Dr. Nancy Jackson, ACS President (left), and Dr. JoAnne Stubbe, Novartis Professor of Chemistry at MIT (right).
Chemistry Professor Mamie Moy is on a career-long mission to make science fun.

Throughout her 56 years at University of Houston, her determination to encourage students, especially young women, to pursue careers in the physical sciences has never diminished. Her dedication was recently recognized by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.

Moy received the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences during the organization’s annual meeting. The award plaque singled out Moy “for limitless passion and dedication for sharing the art of chemistry with teachers and students alike, for always striving to encourage women in the sciences, and for courage in promoting diversity.”

The award, sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., includes a $10,000 grant. Moy plans to use the money to hold a mini-conference for girls in grades K-12 and female undergraduates as well as graduate and postdoctoral fellows.

“I’m always looking for better ways for students to learn about the physical sciences,” Moy said.

Over the years, her passion for engaging students of all ages led to numerous innovative science outreach programs. She founded the SMART (Science & Mathematics Applied Resources for Teachers) Center to train pre-college math and science teachers. As a regional director of the Associated Chemistry Teachers of Texas, she is part of that organization’s efforts to improve the quality of chemical education and to help teachers accumulate an arsenal of creative and effective teaching activities.

Her ongoing involvement with the Robert Welch Foundation Summer Scholars program brings bright high school students to UH for a hands-on research experience. She also finds time to mentor local high school girls through a program sponsored by the Texas Executive Women.

Knowing that it is never too early to engage a student’s interest in science, Moy also looks for opportunities to impact elementary education.

“Kids are like sponges. They have fun, they ask questions, and you let them find out the answers,” Moy said. “It’s all about inquiry and discovery.”

One of the early programs she orchestrated, “3..2..1...Blastoff,” brought 500 elementary students to UH. “I focused on underserved communities that had little or no access to science as a whole,” she said.

Among her lifetime of honors, Moy earned national recognition as part of the 2010 class of American Chemical Society fellows, one of the field’s highest distinctions. Moy and the 190 inductees from around the country were honored for their outstanding contributions to science and the chemistry profession. In 2008, she was honored for work as an advocate and trailblazer for women scientists and was named a “Texas Woman of Distinction” by the American Association of University Women of Texas. She received the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Distinguished Service to Science Education Award in 2003 at the NSTA national convention.

- Angie Shortt and Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics