Our southeast neighborhoods are filled with talented people. Anne Bentley, a resident of the Reed neighborhood for twelve years, and a Lewis & Clark College chemistry professor, is one of them.
In September of last year Bentley was selected for a "Rising Star Award" from the American Chemical Society. Each year the ACS recognizes up to ten women scientists in mid-career for outstanding contributions in their field.
The award includes a $1,000 stipend to cover travel expenses to the spring national meeting. In late March, Bentley will be using that money to travel to Philadelphia and receive the award at the Women Chemists Committee's annual symposium, held at the ACS national meeting. Award recipients make presentations informing scientists about their research and teaching.
Bentley moved from Lafayette, Indiana, in 2007, to Portland to teach at Lewis & Clark. One of four women chemistry professors at Lewis & Clark, she is an Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, and also serves as Chair of the Chemistry Department.
Referring to the Rising Star Award, she says, "I applied for the award when the Lewis & Clark administration told me about it, and I learned that recipients had to be no more than fifteen years past receiving their PhD. This was the last year I could apply."
The Rising Star Award is given to scientists who do an outstanding job of integrating research into teaching, mentoring students, and emphasizing overall leadership.
Bentley is obviously passionate about chemistry education. "I especially like getting to know students well enough to be able to support them in whatever they are becoming excited about, and connecting them with people in those fields", she tells THE BEE.
At Lewis & Clark she is also an advisor to a club for gender minorities in science, and has participated in Lewis & Clark's annual gender studies symposium. "Lewis & Clark has a good, strong number of women majoring in science," says Bentley. She reports that she enjoys getting together with Reed College and Lewis & Clark women who teach science and live in Southeast Portland.
Before going to graduate school, Bentley spent two years in the Peace Corps in Namibia (formerly South West Africa), teaching 11th and 12th grade science – including biology, and a chemistry/physics class.
Bentley grew up loving math, and took her first chemistry class in high school. "Chemistry was a way to apply and use math. I liked working in the lab. And, as a child, I did a lot of cooking and baking using math.
"The three things that attracted me to chemistry were math, labwork, and color. Water-based solutions of small gold particles (nanoparticles) are dark red, and small silver particles in water are bright yellow." Bentley's research focuses on understanding the possible fate of these nanoparticles if they were to be released into the natural water supply.
The Rising Star Award is an honor not only for herself, and her chemistry department, but also for Lewis & Clark College. Bentley is the only person at a small college to be included in this year's group of winners.
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