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US Government's top chemist

from Chemical & Engineering News


This week C&EN News featured NIST Director, Dr. Willie May as he told his story of how of becoming the Nation’s top chemist.

View that story here.

Dr. May’s story is one of perseverance and determination. Born in the then segregated south, Dr. May discovered his passion for chemistry during high school. Stating that the rigor and challenge of his high school experience prepared him for college, Dr. May attests that he was not “intimidated” by college chemistry as he matriculated at Knoxville College. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1967, Dr. May briefly worked for the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant before accepting an internship at the then, National Bureau of Standards in Maryland. While working in the analytical division, he acquired a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Maryland. Since that initial internship in 1971, Dr. May has worked his way up through the ranks of NIST; acting as the deputy director of the Material Management Laboratory prior to becoming NIST director.

Both a leader and mentor, Dr. May has been crucial to the development of both the American Chemical Society Scholars Program and the NIST-University of Maryland Scholarship. In addition, he has close ties to NOBBChE. In the C&EN article former NOBCChE President, NIST Manager and current Morgan State University professor, Victor R. McCrary states that he first met May at a NOBCChE conference as a graduate student and was impressed with his charge for scientists to take risks in research.

In September, Dr. May was honored at the 2015 Annual NOBCChE Conference during the NIST sponsored symposia Setting the Standards for Research and Innovation. Below he is photographed with NOBCChE President Talitha Hampton and Vice President Kemal Catalan.

NOBCChE salutes Dr. May as a trailblazer
in chemistry and a mentor to many!
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