An Association President’s Homecoming

The problem

Dr. Eli Pierce, President of the American Chemical Society, was asked to speak as part of an annual lecture series to an audience of high school and college chemistry students at Brooklyn College. An alum of the college, Dr. Pierce was addressing a very ethnically diverse audience that was much younger than he. He also had to find a way to hold the attention of an audience of teenagers for an hour.

The solution

Working closely together, Dr. Pierce and Jeff Porro developed a strong theme: the basic similarities that lay behind the apparent differences between speaker and audience. Like many in his audience, Dr. Pierce was the son of immigrant parents, the first in his family to go to college, the first to speak English as his first language, and so on. The speech also used the framework “A Chemist’s Journey: From Brooklyn to Brooklyn” to create a compelling 60 minute narrative.

The result

The students loved the speech, as did the older members of the audience.

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