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  BISO Home > USNC/IUPAC Homepage > IUPAC Young Observer Program

IUPAC Young Observer Program    
Established by the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1977 to foster interactions with internationally acclaimed scientists in various fields, the IUPAC Young Observer Program strives to introduce the work of IUPAC to a new generation of distinguished researchers and to provide them with an opportunity to address international science policy issues.

The USNC sends U.S. Observers (citizens or permanent residents) under the age of 45 from industry, academia, and national laboratories to the IUPAC World Chemistry Congress and General Assembly, held every two years. To date, the program has supported more than 230 scientists, many of whom have continued to serve on IUPAC activities and contribute at the international level.  View a complete list of upcoming IUPAC conferences.

In collaboration with the American Chemical Society, the USNC/IUPAC held a webinar about the Young Observer Program in December 2016. To learn more about the  Young Observer program, you may access the recorded webinar and slides at

2019 Young Observer Program

2019 will be an important year for IUPAC and for the Chemistry Community. It is the 100th anniversary of the founding of IUPAC. 2019 has also been proclaimed the International Year of the Periodic Table by the United Nations in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Periodic System by Dmitry Mendeleev in 1869. Both of these will be celebrated at the 50th IUPAC General Assembly and 47th World Chemistry Congress in Paris, France, July 5-12, 2019.

The USNC/IUPAC has selected 12 recipients for this year's Young Observer Program:
  • Blair Brettmann (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Raychelle Burks (St. Edward’s University)
  • Christine Dunne (Cooley LLP)
  • Wesley Farrell (United States Naval Academy)
  • Jillian Goldfarb (Cornell University)
  • Julissa González-Villegas (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras)
  • Danniebelle Haase (Dow Chemical Company)
  • Adam Kiefer (Mercer University)
  • Natalie LaFranzo (Cofactor Genomics, Inc.)
  • Markita Landry (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Melissa Pasquinelli (North Carolina State University)
  • Elisa Tomat (University of Arizona)

2017 Young Observer Program
In 2017, seven U.S. IUPAC Young Observers participated in the General Assembly and World Chemistry Congress held July 8-14 in São Paulo, Brazil. They shared their experiences on the American Chemical Society's Axial blog: They were:

  • Jens Breffke, Boston Electronics Corp.
  • Raychelle Burks, St. Edward's University, Austin, Texas
  • John Matson, Virginia Tech
  • Brandon Presley, NMS Labs, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
  • Dean Tantillo, University of California, Davis
  • Javier Vela, Iowa State University
  • Yu (Frank) Yang, University of Nevada, Reno
IUPAC 2017 YOs

2015 Young Observer Program
The selected U.S. Young Observers for the 48th General Assembly and 45th Congress of IUPAC, August 6-14, 2015, in Busan, South Korea, were:

  • Craig Aspinwall, University of Arizona
  • Shelley Claridge, Purdue University
  • Ilia Guzei, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Danniebelle Haase, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Suri Iyer, Georgia State University
  • Elisabeth Mansfield, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Maricris Mayes, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Bradley Miller, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Sarah Schmidtke Sobeck, The College of Wooster
  • Nicolay Tsarevsky, Southern Methodist University
  • Claudio Verani, Wayne State University
  • Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, University of Utah

2013 Young Observer Program
The U.S. National Committee for IUPAC sent 11 Young Observers to the 44th IUPAC World Chemistry Congress and 47th IUPAC General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey. 2013 Young Observers posted a video of their experiences on YouTube.

The 2013 U.S. Young Observers were:

  • Deborah Aruguette, National Science Foundation
  • Ronald Castellano, University of Florida
  • Markus Etzkorn, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Ilia Guzei, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Malika Jeffries-El, Iowa State University
  • Wibe Albe de Jong, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Brian Korgel, University of Texas at Austin
  • Robin Macaluso, University of Northern Colorado
  • Christine Straut, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Izabela Tworowska, RadioMedix Inc.
  • Lewis Whitehead, Novartis Institutes for Medical Research
PR20112011 Young Observer Program
The 2011 U.S. Young Observer program was held during the 46th IUPAC General Assembly and 43rd Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 28-August 5. The U.S. National Committee sent ten outstanding U.S. chemists to participate in the program this year. 

The 2011 Young Observers were:
  • Leif Abrell, University of Arizona
  • Catherine Faler, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering
  • Mick Hurrey, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Anatoly Kolomeisky, Rice University
  • LaShanda Korley, Case Western University
  • Mahesh Mahanthappa, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Bradley Miller, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Michele Ostraat, RTI International
  • W. Justin Youngblood, University of North Texas
  • Ilya Zharov, University of Utah

2009 Young Observer Program
Glasgow, Scotland hosted the 45th IUPAC General Assembly and 42nd Congress from July 31-August 7. The U.S. Young Observers attended an orientation and welcome session with international Young Observers from countries including Bangladesh, Canada, China, India, Israel, Italy, Pakistan, Poland, and Thailand. They actively participated in the scientific sessions of the Congress. In addition, they had the opportunity to attend business meetings of the IUPAC Divisions and Standing Committees in their areas of interest, to familiarize themselves with IUPAC activities and projects. U.S. Young Observers, members of the U.S. delegation, and special guests also enjoyed an informal dinner to share and reflect on their individual experiences.

The 2009 Young Observers were:

YO Orientation Glasgow
Angela Wilson addresses 2009 YO orientation session
  • Christopher W. Bielawski, University of Texas at Austin
  • Stefanie B. Bumpus, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Heather A. Colburn, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • William B. Connick, University of Cincinnati
  • Ram Mohan, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Sherine O. Obare, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Daniel Rabinovich, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Michelle Rogers, The Lubrizol Corporation
  • Jon M. Schwantes, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • E. Charles H. Sykes, Tufts University
  • Ilya Zharov, University of Utah

2007 Young Observers Program
The Mole Antonelliana, Turin, ItalySelected by IUPAC and the National Adhering Organizations of Canada, the United States, and United Kingdom, the Young Observers attending the IUPAC General Assembly and Congress in Torino, Italy in August 2007 included 17 chemists, representing various disciplines in both academia and industry. The U.S. Young Observers joined participants from six other countries: Canada, Poland, Romania, Mauritius, Russia and the United Kingdom.

The Young Observers who attended an orientation and welcome reception prior to the General Assembly gained insight into IUPAC’s structure and various divisions. Several presented posters or gave presentations during the Congress. As in the past, the Young Observers were encouraged to participate in both the General Assembly and Congress sessions related to their professional interests. Prior to the General Assembly’s closing ceremony, the Young Observers were encouraged to attend a final feedback session, which was an opportunity for them to share and reflect on their individual experiences.

2007 Young Observers attend feedback session
2007 Young Observers attend feedback session in Torino, Italy 

Young Observer History
For a historical perspective of the Young Observer program, see the article Young Observer Programs: Getting New Experts Involved in IUPAC, by Ed Przybylowicz, a former USNC/IUPAC Chair.
Download the 2002 Chemistry International article (28 KB PDF) .

For more information on the U.S. Young Observer program, contact

Young Observer Brochure

Download the 2019 Young Observer Flyer (PDF)

Past U.S. Young Observers of Note

  • Ahmed H. Zewail (1981)
    (deceased 8/2/16)
    1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Marye Anne Fox (1981)
    Chancellor Emerita, University of California, San Diego
    2009 National Medal of Science
  • Geraldine Richmond (1987 & 1989)
    University of Oregon
    Past USNC member 
    2013 National Medal of Science
  • Mark Cesa (1997)
    INEOS (ret.)
    IUPAC President (2014-2015)
    Former USNC Chair
  • Angela Wilson (2003 & 2005)
    Michigan State University
    Former Director, NSF Chemistry Division
    Former USNC Chair
    Past President, IUPAC Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division
  • Daniel Rabinovich (2005 & 2009)
    University of North Carolina, Charlotte
    USNC Vice Chair



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants  0342208, 0650065, 0962529, 1321388,and 1450496. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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