May 10 , 2005
Retired Merced College Professor Janan Hayes was presented with the prestigious ACS Volunteer Service Award by the American Chemical Society (ACS) during the “ChemLuminary” event at the ACS 2004 fall national meeting in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
Since joining ACS in 1969, Janan M. Hayes has constantly led ACS activities at the local and national level. A fellow chemist and ACS volunteer observed that she could not remember the first time she met Hayes because “she has always been there, that is, she has always been part of and involved in activities for ACS before I was even born!”
Hayes has played key roles in organizing regional and national meetings for the past two decades. A longtime ACS volunteer comments that Hayes is always concerned with making sure the meetings meet the needs of the average ACS member. “To my knowledge,” he says, “she has never refused to serve on the organizing committee.”
She served for more than 12 years on the Program Planning & Coordination Committee, a group that organizes ACS meetings. She took on the enormous task of changing the Western Regional Meeting not just last year but also in 1984.
“All of these volunteer activities have been at the core of my teaching career and of my personal satisfaction in the profession,” Hayes says to explain her generosity toward the society. “When I first became a councilor, the late Sister Agnes Ann Green mentored me and opened many opportunities for me, so I am trying to do the same for younger chemists.”
Hayes joined the society’s Sacramento Section in 1971, a section she has since chaired twice. In 1976, she joined the coordinating Committee of California Sections, where she has at various times since then served as chair, treasurer, and secretary.
A turning point for Hayes occurred in 1974 when she was elected to the ACS Council and started to involve herself in a broader range of ACS activities. She became the liaison to the committee that developed ACS’s position on the naming of transfermium elements. She has been reelected 10 times to the council since 1974, eventually being elected to the Council Policy Committee, the executive committee of the ACS Council.
Hayes is also acclaimed for being co-director of Project Inclusion for more than 10 years. Supported by the National Science Foundation and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Project Inclusion aims to encourage women and underrepresented groups to study chemistry by drawing attention to these minority groups’ contributions.
Hayes earned her B.S. and M.S. in science education and speech from Oregon State University in 1965. On graduation, she taught high school in Fortuna, California, before resuming her studies at Brigham Young University, where she was awarded her Ph.D. in inorganic-analytical chemistry in 1971. She then taught chemistry at the college level in Sacramento until 1981.
From 1981 to 1989, she was dean of science, mathematics, agriculture, and related technologies at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. She moved to Merced College in 1989 as dean and eventually vice president of instruction. In 1993, she joined the faculty of Merced as professor of chemistry and physical science. She still teaches there part time, although she formally retired last September.
“I now have the time to do all of the other things I had wanted to do, such as writing materials on multicultural topics for future middle school teachers,” she says.