In the 1990s, as a member of AIChE’s National Capital Section, David proposed a program to familarize pre-college students with engineering concepts. He focused on a solid waste recycle program near his home in Maryland’s Montgomery County. He identified a school in his neighborhood (Parkland Middle School) and recruited colleagues to help teach a weekly after-school program called “Chemcycle.” The program related societal and environmental issues to recycling, and taught students about the engineering concepts and techniques needed to address those issues. The program was implemented in the fall of 2000, and was a hit with school administrators, the students, and parents.
Encouraged by the success of “Chemcycle,” Richman recruited colleagues from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and its group Senior Scientists and Engineers (SSE), to expand the program to more schools in the region.
In 2004, the Montgomery County school system asked David to work on an AAAS initiative to help all citizens better understand the role of science and technology in society. David recruited more SSE volunteers to expand the program — which is now known as AAAS/SSE/STEM.
Today, more than 50 retired and working scientists and engineers are volunteering in the program, which now reaches more than 7,500 students each year. AAAS leaders are now interested in expanding the program nationally.
David’s concern for the public good extends to his long-time leadership as a district coordinator for AARP of Maryland, and with the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, and the nonprofit Grass Roots Organization for the Well-Being of Seniors — where he advocated for the needs of older, retired County residents in the areas of income security, affordable services, health care, and aging-in-place with dignity, safety, and respect.
David’s efforts to join with others in shared collaboration have promoted the common good for young and old alike.