Michelle Rogers

ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences Symposium in Honor of Rebecca Ruck

Blog Post created by Michelle Rogers on Aug 10, 2018

Rebecca Ruck Photos.jpg


The 2018 ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences sponsored by The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation was presented to Dr. Rebecca T. Ruck, director of Process Chemistry at Merck.  Becky, who broke the gender barrier playing Little League baseball in Colonia, NJ where she grew up, has been a strong champion of women in chemistry throughout her career.   While she has never had a female manager, she acknowledged the support her male mentors have given her over the years, particularly her PhD advisor Eric Jacobsen at Harvard and Kevin Campos, her current manager at Merck.  In her honor, a WCC symposium co-sponsored by ORGN, PROF and YCC and organized by Dr. Ed Sherer was held at the 255th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans.  Speakers included former and current colleagues of Dr. Ruck’s: Yi Ning Ji Chen (Merck), Laura L. Anderson (University of Illinois at Chicago), Teshik P. Yoon (University of Minnesota), Jaime McCabe Dunn (Merck), Ann E. Weber (Kallyope) and Vy M. Dong (University of California Irvine).  The symposium concluded with a presentation by Becky which reflected her love of science and her passion for promoting women in chemistry.  Becky highlighted the progress she has made in implementing a number of initiatives to support women, including the WCC Merck Research Award and the Women in Chemistry symposium at Merck.  She has expanded the latter to include symposia and drop in events at Princeton, MIT and Cambridge University.  Through the active role Becky has played in recruiting and, more importantly, retaining women in Process Chemistry at Merck, she has almost single-handedly changed the face of chemistry in her department.  What’s next?  Becky continues to sponsor broader diversity and inclusion initiatives at Merck which involve manager accountability, mentoring / sponsoring tools and resources, and leave of absence best practices.  “Receiving this award is tremendous recognition for me and for Merck for what we have been able to accomplish,” she noted. “That said, we still have a long way to go, and I entreat everyone to think about how she or he can make a difference.”


By Ann Weber