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Mary K. Moore, Class of 1991, Outstanding Alumni Award Winner for 2011

mary mooreA near perfect chemistry seemed to develop when Mary Moore enrolled at Northeast State Community College. As a result, Moore now adds the College's Outstanding Alumna Award to her impressive resume.

She recalled the intimate feeling of learning in a small class with faculty members and industry professionals.

“Northeast State provides such a strong community atmosphere,” said Moore, of Kingsport. “You feel like you are a family teaching each other.”

Moore went on to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in chemical technology in 1991. While developing her professional contacts during her college work, she became president of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Technician Affiliates Group. She also won the College’s program award as Outstanding Chemical Technology Student.

Today, Moore applies the art of science to chemistry as a principal technologist in the Chemistry Research Laboratory at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport. Her responsibilities include direction and support of projects that will provide new technology and/or support current technology being developed by the international chemical maker.

“I am happy where I’m at in my career,” said Moore. “In research you never know what your next project is and if that project can turn out an awesome new product.”

Moore found her niche when she joined the Separation Processes Research Team at Eastman. Working in the company’s Chemical Synthesis Research Laboratory gave Moore the opportunity to work with chemists and engineers who design the company’s newest products. New technologies produced in the industry require the invention and innovation of professionals like Moore. Being assigned to research and development gave her extensive experience in designing, constructing, and operating lab, bench, and pilot scale units for separation processes, organic synthesis, organic metallic chemistry and experimental scale-up.

“My associate degree at Northeast State was my first stepping stone, and that gave me a start into my professional life,” she said. “Your career is what you make it.”

Moore has received numerous recognitions throughout her profession, including being named in the inaugural class of ACS Fellows in 2009 for outstanding technical contributions to chemistry and her involvement in the American Chemical Society. She can’t help but smile when she tells you she was the only ACS Fellow in the inaugural class who holds an associate degree from a two-year college.

“I was the only one among a group of Ph.D.s,” she said.

Moore received the Northeast Tennessee Society (NETS) ACS Speaker Award, as well as the ACS Division of Chemical Technicians Distinguished Service and Salutes to Excellence awards. She also was the recipient of the NETS-ACS Chemical Technician Award in 1997 and the ACS Division of Chemical Technicians, National Chemical Technician Award in 1998.

Moore is the 2011 Chair of the Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society and she has been a member of the executive team for the NETS-ACS Committee on Technician Affairs. She also is passionate about guiding and mentoring tomorrow’s science professionals at Northeast State. She is a member of the Leadership Team for the Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) project and the Girls Raised in Tennessee Science organization.

Moore has been an ACS Career Consultant since 2007, assisting fellow professionals with their resumes and mentoring them with their interviewing skills. She is an ACS certified instructor conducting presentations and Webinars directed towards resume writing, job search strategies, and industrial interviewing skills. In addition she has been a consultant and mentor to many colleges for several years to help prepare the future generations of chemistry professionals.

“I do what I do because it is the right thing to do,” said Moore. “I want to help the next generation coming up to succeed.”

Moore attributes her success at Northeast State to the collaborative learning environment. Her associate degree gave her the opportunity not to merely get a job but establish a career that continues to evolve with every new day.

“You never stop learning throughout your career or life,” she said. “It is a start, not an ending.”