Local woman wins top award

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Trimble graduate Ruth Woodall (third from left) receives the American Chemical Society's Helen Free Award for Public Outreach. Woodall serves as the associate vice president of Education and Workforce Development for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry/Tennessee Manufacturing Association. Pictured from left, David Gottfried, Dr. Helen Free, Woodall, and ACS President Miranda Wu.

Ruth (Page) Woodall, 1971 graduate of Trimble High School and 1977 graduate of Union University recently received one of the American Chemical Society's most prestigious awards, the Helen Free Award for Public Outreach. This award is named after Dr. Helen Free, past ACS president, who with her husband dedicated her life to discovering the test for diabetes and doing public outreach, teaching others about chemistry. Woodall is the daughter of Sue Clark of Trimble and the late Billy Page of Newbern.

Woodall graduated from Union University and spent most of her life teaching high school chemistry and math. One year of her career was at Dyer County High School as a math teacher. It was while she was teaching chemistry that she became active in the ACS as the public outreach chair. For the past 21 years Ruth has given more than 2,100 volunteer hours representing Union and chemistry by teaching others in the public about the benefits of chemistry in everyday life.

Woodall is currently the associate vice president of Education and Workforce Development for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry/Tennessee Manufacturing Association. Her main career focus is the implementation and sustainability of the Tennessee Scholars Program. This program is a statewide, business-led, motivational program that encourages high school students to prepare early for post-secondary and the work force. These students are encouraged to take more math and science and other advanced courses so they will be better prepared for college. All West Tennessee students can now choose to graduate as a Tennessee Scholar. Union University and all Tennessee Technical Colleges support Tennessee Scholars by offering scholarships for these students. Learn more about Tennessee Scholars at www.tennesseescholars.org.

In her career, Woodall has been awarded several honors, one of which was the Union University Chemistry Departments Alumni of the Year 2004. She was also awarded the TEA Tennessee Distinguished Teacher of the Year (1994), Volunteer of the Year for the South East Regional ACS (2009), Volunteer of the Year for the Nashville Section of the ACS (2012), and Distinguished Science Teacher of the year in (1994). She has served the ACS on committees, PR chair, chair of her section, on task forces, as councilor for nine years, and currently as the chair of the Tennessee Government Affairs the ACS. Woodall has served as Tennessee Science Teachers president and is currently serving as liaison to the board.