Author Archive

Summer Board Member Awards and Accomplishments

We wish to extend our sincerest congratulations to all of our Board Members, as they continue to impress the community with their achievements and contributions!

Several of our Chemical Science Board Members have been recognized for outstanding contributions to their respective fields.

Many other Board Members across the US and Canada have been recognized for their accomplishments with a variety of awards, prizes, and appointments. 

  • Sarah Tolbert was appointed the Director of the new UCLA-led Synthetic Control Across Length-scales for Advancing Rechargeables, or SCALAR. Sarah is a professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Materials Science & Engineering and serves on the Editorial Board of Nanoscale Horizons and led the organizing committee of the 10th International Mesostructured Materials Symposium, IMMS10, which took place September 10-13, 2018 at UCLA.
  • Green Chemistry Associate Editor Chao-Jun Li was awarded a prestigious Killam Research Fellowship by the Canada Council for the Arts. CJ is the E.B. Eddy Chair Professor of Chemistry at McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Green/Organic Chemistry, and Director of the NSERC CREATE Center for Green Chemistry Training.
  • Professor Heather Maynard serves on the Editorial Board of Polymer Chemistry and was selected for the 2018 UCLA Faculty Student Development Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.
  • At this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Professor Geoffrey Coates was presented with the 2017 Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the for the best paper published in Science. Geoffrey serves on the Editorial Board of Organic Chemistry Frontiers.
  • Peter Vikesland has been named the Nick Prillaman Professor in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Peter is the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Science: Nano and a professor of the civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

Other North American Board Members were honored by the RSC with awards and medals for their contributions to advancing the chemical sciences.

  • Professor Bradley Moore, Editorial Board Chair of Natural Product Reports, was honored by the RSC with the Natural Product Award for his pioneering discoveries in the chemical biology, biosynthesis, genomics and engineering of marine natural products. 
  • Professor Warren Piers was recognized for his contributions to detailed mechanistic understanding of catalytic reactions with the 2018 Ludwig Mond Award. Warren is S. Robert Blair Chair in Polymerization Catalysts and Canada Research Chair in the Mechanisms of Homogeneous Catalysis and serves as an Associate Editor for Dalton Transactions.
  • Professor Yang Shao-Horn was honored by the RSC as the first woman to win the Faraday Medal for her work at the chemical/materials physics and physical/materials chemistry interfaces. Prof. Shao-Yang serves on the Editorial Board of Energy & Environmental Sciences 

See all of the 2018 winners of Royal Society of Chemistry Prizes & Awards, which include many of our Advisory Board Members, colleagues and friends from around the world.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Outstanding Student Profile: Caroline Rouget-Virbel

We introduced the Certificate of Excellence in 2017 and continued it in 2018 as a way for institutions to recognize students who have shown outstanding achievement in the chemical sciences; this year we want to showcase one of the recipients who embodies the spirit of the award and who inspires those around her to pursue their dreams while making a difference not only in their own communities but also those around the world. We are pleased to introduce you to Caroline Alice Rouget-Virbel, who will be starting her graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley this fall.

At Princeton’s Class Day ceremony for Chemistry seniors in the Class of 2018, Caroline was recognized for her academic performance and her contributions to the department. She earned Highest Honors in Chemistry, was elected to Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, and was awarded The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Certificate of Excellence. But Caroline was not the typical Princeton University undergraduate. She grew up in Pélissanne, a small town in the south of France, in what most would describe as a rural area. She attended a public school and then applied to an international boarding school, Ecole Internationale de Manosque (EIM) in the French Alps, for her high school education. There she obtained a British OIB (International Optional Baccalaureate) diploma, a joint educational degree between the French Department of Education and the University of Cambridge.

While in high school, Caroline developed interests in both science and foreign languages, which in turn got her excited about applying to foreign universities in the U.S. and England. To put this in context, Caroline grew up in a comprehensively working class environment and it was not typical and expected in her family to apply to college. To then take the step of applying outside of France for higher education was quite remarkable. She took a major leap of faith and applied to Princeton University. When she was offered admission along with a generous grant for financial aid, she simply could not turn down the opportunity. Needless to say, her acceptance of Princeton’s offer not only provided a highly constructive four-year experience for Caroline, but her contributions to the department and to the campus as a whole proved to be a plus for the University community.

During her first week on the Princeton campus, Caroline quickly identified a way to produce a steady income. Always determined to pay her own bills and add to her personal savings as much as possible, she held down a paid position as a Dining Services Student Manager, training new incoming workers and overseeing meal services for her dining hall and for special catered events. In fact, she continued to hold that job during all four years at Princeton. The summer after freshman year, she added another country to her growing list of travel experiences by serving as a volunteer at the Mahatma Gandhi Orphanage in Jaipur, India. While there, she assisted with childcare, global health initiatives, and infectious disease prevention efforts. And, of course, she explored the area and soaked in the culture.

Caroline hails from Pélissanne, a small town in rural France and is the first person in her family to apply for college, but by following her passion for science, foreign language, and community service, she has managed to expand her horizons and travel the globe.

During Caroline’s freshman and sophomore years, she began work with the campus mental health initiative. In addition, knowing how it felt to be an international student, she became involved with the University’s David International Center, taking on the responsibility of planning and leading events for incoming undergraduate and graduate students, as well as year-long community-building activities. This particular type of involvement helped not only others adjust, but also helped her as she took steps to find her place within the University, so much so that she continued to contribute to this program until she graduated. During the spring of her sophomore year, Caroline gathered information about the various science departments at the University and, after much deliberation, elected to major in chemistry. With that plan in place, she lost no time laying out her “What Next?” The summer of 2016 offered her yet another opportunity to live abroad. Caroline traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to pursue research at the National Children’s Research Center. She studied the underlying patho-mechanisms of the dysregulation of the NOX-1 and -4 genes in Hirschsprung’s-Associated Enterocolitis. Her work gave her the opportunity to add skills in protein expression and PCR analysis, gel electrophoresis, and immunofluorescence microscopy to her research “toolbox.”

As a first semester junior, Caroline decided to join a research lab a full term earlier than her peers. That plan led to a round of investigations to identify a lab that would be the right fit with her interests and her style of learning. By the second month of the term, she was hard at work in the lab of Professor David W. MacMillan, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry. While 12 to 14 hours of original research per week is the expectation for young chemists, Caroline spent as much time on her project as the demands of her coursework and extracurricular commitments permitted. That dedication spoke volumes since the junior year for chemistry majors is extremely demanding with regard to reading assignments, papers to write, problem sets to complete, discussion groups to attend, and the time commitment need to complete the required experimental laboratory course. She also took on the role of undergraduate preceptor in our newly restructured organic chemistry sequence. Preceptors assist instructors of auxiliary class sessions that work on learning material and practicing skills outside of the lecture period. Caroline was one of the preceptors instrumental in developing and running review sessions prior to exams. She also spent many hours tutoring students one-on-one, providing not only academic guidance, but also a “Can Do” attitude for her students who were concerned about doing well in mastering a difficult subject.

During that same period, Caroline elected to plan for a semester of study abroad with the goal of completing her Spring 2017 term in Australia. The opportunity to explore another country and live in yet another culture proved irresistible. Within no time at all, plans were put in place for her to study at the University of Melbourne. Adjusting to a program with courses that involved no periodic evaluation until the final exam, blending into a different culture, completing an original research project in a new chemistry laboratory, and pursuing opportunities to explore Australia formed the perfect combination for this intellectually curious student. And, as luck would have it, her sister was pursuing a program in Southeast Asia, so they were able to meet up and travel together, exploring the beautiful landscape of New Zealand, spending two full weeks road-tripping and camping around the South island. Caroline’s world was expanding rapidly from the rural area of France into a global viewpoint.

The summer prior to the start of her senior year was spent on the Princeton campus in order to focus on her senior thesis research. During those months, she was the senior class catalyst, bringing all of the summer researchers together for meals and other activities to create a sense of community. In her senior year, the craving for travel led her to plan a trip to the Caribbean for yet another cultural experience, which she hopes will be her next voyage into unfamiliar lands. In September of senior year, Caroline was off and running, returning to her role as a preceptor and tutor for undergraduate organic chemistry courses. Her dedication has yet to be matched. She developed a reputation for patience and careful instruction. As side projects, she designed a senior class t-shirt that included a structure from each of the senior chemistry theses and organized various get-togethers for her classmates. She also served as a Peer Academic Advisor, shepherding first and second year undergraduates as they settled into University life. All the while, Caroline was tackling her own demanding academic schedule, which included graduate level coursework, and was spending innumerable hours on her laboratory research project. The culmination of Caroline’s research was the submission of her senior thesis entitled “Application of Dual Nickel-Photoredox Catalysis to the Synthesis of Unnatural Amino Acids.”

To quote her faculty mentor, Professor MacMillan, “Caroline is one of the best undergraduates that I have ever worked with in 20 years of being an independent academic. She is smart, driven, funny, creative, and a team player. She is beloved by my research group and she can hold her own with any current graduate student in terms of her research drive.” Caroline has been accepted into the chemistry PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley. We have no doubts whatsoever that Caroline will continue to be an outstanding student and researcher as she works towards her graduate degree.

Special thank you to Kirsten M. Arentzen, Undergraduate Administrator for the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University, for contributing the majority of the content for this article, for continuously supporting the student body, and encouraging the recognition of outstanding undergraduates. 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Certified Excellent: Congratulations Winners!

We are happy to announce the recipients of the 2018 Certificate of Excellence! Back for its second year, this special program was developed to recognize outstanding students who have shown special achievement in the chemical sciences. Join us in congratulating these stellar students who are being honored by their departments for their achievements. We first introduced the Certificate of Excellence in 2017 as a way to recognize the younger generation of students who have shown interest and curiosity and a passion for learning in the chemical sciences. If you’re interested in getting your department involved in future Certificate of Excellence programs, please contact us at americas-editorial@rsc.org.

 

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Chemistry Education: All Fun and Games

Besides publishing high-quality research from around the globe, the RSC’s activities support chemistry education and lifelong learning. During Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) we celebrated the launch of Professional Development of Chemistry Teachers: Theory and Practice, the first book in the RSC Advances in Chemistry Education series. We reflected on all the educators who are making a difference for those studying chemical sciences and wanted to showcase one of the outstanding young educators we’ve met who are making an impact in the North America chemistry community.  At the 3rd annual University of California Chemical Symposium, Zachary Thammavongsy from the Yang Group at UC Irvine (UCI) won the coveted “Social Media Prize” for generating the most buzz around the meeting, but what really made Zach stand out was his game company, d-Orbital Games. Attendees like Chemical Science Deputy Editor, Jeremy Allen, had so much fun playing that they may not have even realized they were learning. Since many graduate students with a passion for teaching are often torn between their roles as a researcher and an educator, we caught up with Zach during Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) to learn more about his accomplishments while in graduate school, what he has in store for the future, and what advice he would give to others who are inspired to teach. Zach, who won the 2017-2018 UCI Most Promising Future Faculty Award, has found a unique way to manage both research and teaching and even start his own business. Read on to learn more about Zach’s story and how teaching and learning really can can be fun and games.

Chemical Science Deputy Editor Jeremy Allen plays SeArCH with UC grad students and postdocs at the 3rd annual UCCS

“A game can be many things, but, at its core, a game is a defined set of parameters that allow a player or players to compete. This is a very structured answer, but these predefined parameters make games fun to play (either alone or against other players). A game should be fun, challenging, thought-provoking, foster a sense of competition, and ultimately provide a tangible way to accomplish one’s goals (winning). These concepts are easy to translate into simplified science topics. When playing a new game one must become familiar with the rules; I just make those rules simple to understand while teaching players about science!

“Growing up, I had amazing teachers. My source of inspiration for how to teach effectively has always been my high school teachers. They put maximum effort into their curriculum and I felt that they genuinely loved interacting with students. Now as a teaching assistant (TA), I take the same approach to teaching my lab sections and discussion courses. I don’t think I have a skill that others don’t possess in teaching, but I do believe I have the desire and the drive to pursue teaching as a career that I admire in other teachers. This is why I improve my teaching ability by taking advantage of the education classes offered at UC-Irvine and I attend teaching conferences. I am fascinated by the teaching techniques and learning strategies utilized in the subject of chemistry, and I hope to pursue conceptual learning as a research topic in the near future.

“I am a pedagogical fellow at UCI through the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI). The fellowship is highly competitive as it is open to every graduate student at UCI. I learned of the fellowship through a former pedagogical fellow in the chemistry department. I submitted a sixty minute video of my teaching, collected student evaluations and underwent a formal interview process. The fellowship provided invaluable opportunities, like taking a year-long seminar on teaching techniques with pedagogical fellows from other departments and leading a two-day teaching workshop to prepare incoming graduate students in  chemistry for teaching responsibilities. Preparation for the workshop was rigorous; I now fully appreciate the time commitment instructors invest into preparing lecture notes.

“Initially, I was apprehensive about revealing my  games to my advisor. I didn’t know how she would receive the news since research is a graduate student’s top priority.”

Zach’s company d-Orbital Games uses simple but clever games to teach chemistry concepts while making education fun.

“As a pedagogical fellow, I crafted a few chemistry flash cards with some paper, pen and scissors to make a simple game to play with my colleagues. The game was so popular with those who did not have a chemistry background, that I used it as the basis of the first d-Orbital game, SeArCH! I launched a Kickstarter soon after, where I converted the seed money from the funded campaign to make more science-based card games and built a brand! The name d-Orbital Games (dOG) was brainstormed one late night in lab with an undergraduate researcher, Wyeth Gibson. It was only fitting that as an inorganic chemist, the chemistry card game company would be named after the transition metal electron orbitals (d-orbitals). I also love the acronym “dOG” since I love dogs and my parents have a shiba inu – which is the company mascot featured in our logo wearing a lab coat and goggles.

Initially, I was apprehensive about revealing my games to my advisor. I didn’t know how she would receive the news since research is a graduate student’s top priority. I finally told my PI four months after launching the d-Orbital game website and she was absolutely supportive and encouraging. I am not quite sure why I initially felt that my PI would not be receptive to the idea, as she is a very supportive mentor to her students and their scientific goals, even if it isn’t strictly research. My PI has even retweeted things posted on d-Orbital game’s Twitter. If she is reading this, Jenny, you are the best!

“I wandered often while navigating my way into starting a company. I gathered the courage to approach all types of people, not just academics. I asked business owners who started their own companies and shared my business platform at entrepreneurial meet-ups sponsored through UCI. One of my biggest challenges was approaching domestic or international manufacturers to make my games for the lowest price. The best advice I received thus far is from Catherine Croft, Ph.D., the CEO of Catlilli Games, who advised me to submit my games to award shows and attend conferences to showcase d-Orbital Games. It is amazing how many doors open by starting a conversation with people you barely know. I was happy to receive such a warm welcome at UCCS. I went to the symposium unsure how chemistry graduate students from other UCs would react to d-Orbital Games. I had one of the best moments this year watching other graduate students take interest in the education games my team developed. Specifically, I enjoy seeing the smiles and laughter that “Slap Count” brought to the table when a collective group of graduate students were competing to show off their skills in counting d-electrons! The UCCS Chair, Andrea Coleman from UC-Davis, was the star player that night, by bringing the energy to the game table.

“It is amazing how many doors open by starting a conversation with people you barely know.”

My current team is made up of lab members and childhood friends who possess skills that are unique and vital to the success of d-Orbital Games. They provide critical feedback on every detail, allowing us to provide the most accurate and fun chemistry games. Also, it is nice working with your friends! They don’t hold back on their opinions and I appreciate that a lot. The game designers can be anyone on the team, but usually Bianca and Wyeth help come up with initial concepts and game mechanics. The two editors Kim and Brian are extremely critical of spelling and grammatical errors. Ali and Mike are hometown friends that have helped me get through some of the computing and business side of the company. They are a big help from far away. Fortunately, the game designers are my lab mates. I see them every day. Since we are all busy researching, we don’t normally set a schedule for designing games. The game design happens over at the pub or during our group bonding time. We choose a chemistry topic to tackle and share how certain game mechanics can be incorporated into highlighting a difficult chemistry concept. We try to simplify our games as much as possible, so that students can quickly pick up the game in a one-hour classroom setting. From there, I talk to my editing team about the overall look of the game. I make a lot of grammatical errors, and I am so lucky to have editors that can spot all of my mistakes. The most exciting game that my team is currently working on is a proton NMR game. We try to focus primarily on games that can be implemented in the college level classroom. The proton NMR game will be our first game with a gameboard! I even had students from my organic chemistry course play test the game several times. I am exciting to be presenting the results from the proton NMR game at this summer’s ACS Biennial Conference on Chemical Education! Please come check it out if you are attending the conference!

“I had one of the best moments this year watching other graduate students take interest in the education games my team developed.”

Zach Thammavongsy (right), founder of d-Orbital Games with Connor Easley (left), Chair of the next UCCS where Zach’s games will be featured during the 2019 meeting.

“I envision some universities giving d-Orbital Games a try, if not in their classroom then hopefully in their office hours. We hope our games will assist students in their chemistry learning. Eventually, we hope to tackle every topic in general, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. We want teachers to be able to pull one of our games off the shelf and seamlessly incorporate them into their lesson plan. We can provide the tools and detail all the new techniques for an educator to be great, but if we don’t get educators to buy in to how teaching can be beneficial to them as much as it will be for the students then that is when students suffer. From my experience, the skills I think graduate students gain from teaching are improved communication skills and professionalism. Every day is a chance for graduate teaching assistants (TA) to practice these skills so that they can be perfected for job interviews or handling difficult workplace situations in the future. Not everyone has to have the passion for teaching, but if everyone knows the benefits from getting the opportunity to teach then perhaps we can start to improve the teaching mindset of our graduate TAs and many other educators.”

We were impressed by Zach’s story and hope it will inspire other young people who are passionate about teaching and the 2019 UCCS is planning to incorporate some of Zach’s games into the program for attendees to play. The biggest lesson that Zach has learned through this experience:

Continue through the tough times. Even when your ideas don’t work out the first, or second or third time – very similar to research – talk to as many people that are willing to listen and play your game and do what makes you happy.”

We appreciate Zach sharing his story with us and hope you join us in thanking all the teachers who are making a difference;  follow Zach & d-Orbital Games and the Yang Group on Twitter to keep up with the latest happenings in both teaching and research. Educators looking for additional teaching tools can explore Learn Chemistry, the RSCs educational resource and teacher support publishing program. In addition to the magazine Education in Chemistry which covers all areas of chemistry education, our peer-reviewed journal Chemical Education Research and Practice is free to access for all, thanks to sponsorship by the RSC’s Chemistry Education Division.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

2018 Prize Winners at 3rd Annual UC Chemical Symposium

 

Research Presentation Prize winners from the Cohen group at UC San Diego. Left to right: Jessica Moreton, Chemical Science Oral Research Presentation Prize; Joey Palomba, Dalton Transactions Poster Prize; Kyle Bentz, Materials Horizons Poster Prize; Christine Morrison, Analyst Poster Prize.

Several RSC journals supported the 3rd annual University of California Chemical Symposium by sponsoring poster and  presentation prizes. Chemical Science, our flagship journal, sponsored oral Research Presentation Prizes in each of the six subject areas and our core subject-area journals sponsored poster prizes.

 

An impressive showing came from the Cohen group from UC San Diego with three poster prizes and an oral presentation prize. Jessica Moreton was awarded a Chemical Science prize for her talk on MOFs in mixed-matrix membrane systems in the Materials/Nano category. In addition to Jessica’s talk, three posters from the Cohen group won poster prizes. Joey Palomba won the Dalton Transactions Poster Prize for Inorganic Chemistry for his work on high-throughput screening methods for MOFs for nerve agent degradation. Christine Morrison won the Biochemistry category ChemComm Poster Prize for her work on drug discovery methods using metallofragments. Kyle Bentz won the Materials category with a Materials Horizons Poster Prize for his work on hollow amphiphilic crosslinked nanocapsules; Kyle is also serving as Vice-chair of the 2019 UCCS. The group’s leader, Seth Cohen, helped found the UCCS and is surely pleased to see such a strong performance from his group. 



Netz Arroyo from UC Santa Barbara is presented a Chemical Science Research Presentation Prize by Professor Carrie Partch.

The Chemical Science Prizes were presented by keynote speaker, Prof. Carrie Partch from UC Santa Cruz and were also awarded for oral presentations in each of five other categories. Sean Nguyen from Jenn Prescher’s research group and Bryan Ellis in the Vanderwal Group took home prizes for UC Irvine. Sean’s talk on the development of orthogonal reactions for multicomponent labeling in biological systems earned him the Chemical Science Prize in Chemical Biology/Biochemistry and Bryan’s presentation on the development of an oxetane-based polyketide synthase substrate mimic won in the Organic category. In the Analytical category, the prize went to Netz Arroyo, a postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Kevin W Plaxco’s group at UC Santa Barbara. Netz presented his work on coupling electrochemical, aptamer-based sensors with closed-loop control algorithms. The goal is to achieve continuous real-time measurement of specific molecules in living things and ultimately feedback-controlled delivery of therapeutic drugs, which would be valuable in a clinical setting for any number of diseases. Also from UC Santa Barbara, Andrew Cook from the research group of Trevor Hayton was recognized in the Inorganic category for his talk on catalytically active nanoclusters. These acetylide-stabilized copper and thiolate-stabilized cobalt nanoclusters can also be immobilized on silica and would be valuable for nanostructured materials. Will Hollingsworth, who also served on the organizing committee for the 2018 UCCS from the Ayzner Group at UC Santa Cruz was awarded the prize for his talk in the Physical category on electronic energy transfer dynamics in conjugated polyelectrolytes, which would be especially useful for artificial photosynthesis when oppositely-charged donor-acceptor pairs are used. Will used a variety of time-resolved techniques as well as steady-state measurements to study these complex systems. 



Chad Cruz from UC Riverside with his prize-winning poster on charge-separated S-bridged chromophores at the 2018 UCCS poster session.

The remaining posters were claimed by UC Riverside. The PCCP Poster Prize for best poster in the Physical Chemistry category went to Chad Cruz, a graduate student at UC Riverside jointly in the Chronister group and the Bardeen research lab. Chad presented on studies using anthracene in sulfur-bridged chromophore systems and examining the effects of changing the S oxidation state. His work shows significant insights into ways to tune excited-state properties in these bridged systems that could be used for optoelectronic devices due to their potential for forming long-lived charge-separated states. 

Bill Weigel from UC Riverside with his prize-winning organic poster on anacardic acid derivatives for enzyme-inhibition studies.

 

 

The Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry Poster Prize in the Organic Chemistry category went to Bill Weigel, a graduate student in the research group of Dave Martin at UC Riverside, which focuses on the design and synthesis of bioactive molecules; Bill presented his work on the use of computational docking studies to design anacardic acid derivatives, which he then synthesizes in order to study structure-activity relationships with enzymes. Specifically, they are examining the inhibition of the enzyme SUMO E1, which is known to be involved in oncogenesis, by these rationally-designed substrates.

 

The next UCCS will take place March 24-27th 2019 in Lake Arrowhead, California where we expect to see more exciting research and recognize the hard work of the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows behind it.  

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The Royal Society of Chemistry Certificate of Excellence Returns for 2018

Last year we introduced the Royal Society of Chemistry Certificate of Excellence – an award program to recognize outstanding undergraduate students across the United States. The Certificate is our modern reinvention of the well-known Merck Index® Award, which we have been working to transform since the RSC took over publishing of the classic text a few years ago. In the inaugural cycle, we asked institutions to select exemplary students from their department who have shown special achievement in the chemical sciences. We awarded almost 100 Certificates to students like Nancy Song (pictured,center, with Department Chair and Van Zandt Williams, Jr. Class of ’65 Professor of Chemistry, Prof. Tom W. Muir, at left, and Director of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Robert P. L’Esperance,at right), who graduated with Highest Honors from Princeton University, where she did her thesis work with Chemical Science Associate Editor, Prof. Haw Yang.)

 

Nancy Song, (center) recipient of a 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Certificate of Excellence, pictured with Department Chair and Van Zandt Williams, Jr. Class of ’65 Professor of Chemistry, Prof. Tom W. Muir (at left) and Director of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Robert P. L’Esperance (at right). Nancy graduated with Highest Honors from Princeton University, where she did her thesis work with Chemical Science Associate Editor, Prof. Haw Yang. Photo: Frank Wojciechowski

The students chose from one of two prize options – either a hard copy of the classic reference text, The Merck Index® now in its Fifteenth Edition or a 6-month digital subscription to Chemistry World magazine. Since its first publication in 1889, The Merck Index® has become an essential reference for all scholarly and professional chemists, biochemists, pharmacists and toxicologists, of interest to students, teachers, libraries, researchers, information professionals, solicitors, journalists and government agencies – it has been the leading source of information on chemical compounds for generations of scientists and professionals. Recognized as a badge of achievement and dedication on the bookshelves of chemists worldwide, this formidable title continues to serve as the symbol of an early scholarly and professional milestone. For many of these outstanding undergraduates, receiving the text represents the closing of one chapter in their education, and the beginning of the next phase of their scientific careers. 


 


This year, we’re happy to announce that the program will continue for 2018 and invitations to nominate exceptional undergraduates will be sent to select institutions at the beginning of February. We’re working to expand the program in the future and look forward to recognizing more deserving students. For any questions or comments about the Certificate of Excellence, contact us at americas-editorial@rsc.org.

*The name THE MERCK INDEX is owned by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A., and is licensed to The Royal Society of Chemistry for use in the U.S.A. and Canada.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Northwestern University: Spotlight on Women in Science & Modern Career Paths

Women in Science Career Panel, from left to right: Dr. Stacey Tobin, Dr. Sadie Wignall, Dr. Stephanie Knezz, Dr. Dimitra Georganopoulou, and Dr. Jen Griffiths.

We recently visited the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University, where we hosted a day of educational activities for graduate students and postdocs, including a career panel of women in science who chose to follow a range of traditional and alternative career paths.  Dr. Jen Griffiths from our Washington, DC office shared insights into the world of scholarly publishing and was joined by Northwestern alumni in traditional and non-traditional careers. During this engaging, informal session, attendees were able to ask questions, learn about challenges and opportunities the representatives had encountered, and hear some great advice and tips from successful women in science.


“I realized fairly early on that an academic career wasn’t for me, and I started seeking out seminars and roundtables on ‘alternative careers.’ “


Dr. Stacey Tobin noticed that unlike a lot of her peers, she really enjoyed writing as a graduate student. “I realized fairly early on that an academic career wasn’t for me, and I started seeking out seminars and roundtables on ‘alternative careers,'” she said. “One focused specifically on science writing, and the entire panel was made up of PhDs who found careers in various types of science writing—from journalism to regulatory writing, continuing medical education to advertising.” She also joined professional organizations as a student member, including the American Medical Writers Association and the Council for Science Editors, to take advantage of their educational programs and sought outside opportunities to write. “I contributed articles to the department newsletter, and took any opportunity I could to write and edit.”  Stacey built up her reputation as a skilled writer and knowledgeable scientist before starting her own firm, The Tobin Touch.


“When I discovered that I wanted my career to focus on teaching, I found my campus program that focuses on STEM teaching opportunities for graduate students and post-docs.” 


One common thread of the discussion was the importance of pursuing opportunities outside the lab to both discover interests and talents, as well as to gain practical experience. Dr. Stephanie Knezz, Assistant Professor of Instruction and Co-Director of General Chemistry Laboratory at Northwestern University says, “When I discovered that I wanted my career to focus on teaching, I found my campus program that focuses on STEM teaching opportunities for graduate students and post-docs. I was able to implement a project at a local community college “flipping” a traditional chemistry class and working on the corresponding curriculum development for a few lessons in the course.” She says that the experience not only gave her a better idea of the duties of an instructor and but also inspired a renewed motivation to continue her degree now that she could focus on a specific career goal.


“I’ve found that networking can be a great way to learn about career possibilities, and that informational interviews can be very helpful for learning about day-to-day aspects of a career.”


Dr. Sarah Kamper now oversees intellectual property protection for various chemistry and materials technologies as Invention Manager at the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) at Northwestern. “I learned about IP law through attending a career panel focused on careers outside of academia or industry.” she says. “It sounded like a great way to stay connected to science while transitioning into more translational aspects away from the bench.”  Sarah also realized the power of networking by talking with former members of her lab who worked at law firms in tech transfer. “I’ve found that networking can be a great way to learn about career possibilities, and that informational interviews can be very helpful for learning about day-to-day aspects of a career.” Sarah also suggests looking to campus groups as a way to begin networking: “If anyone is unsure of where to start, some organizations have student or young professional networking events where you can efficiently meet many people in a few hours!”


“My best piece of advice is to figure out what aspect of your science you are most passionate about, find opportunities where you can get first-hand experience delving into that aspect, and use careful time management to make it work with your research.” 


We also asked the panelists what actions they recommend students take or what was especially helpful to focus on for graduate students and postdocs. Stephanie suggested spending some time and effort to uncover your interests and finding ways to take advantage of related opportunities. “My best piece of advice is to figure out what aspect of your science you are most passionate about, find opportunities where you can get first-hand experience delving into that aspect, and use careful time management to make it work with your research.” And she added, “If you are doing something you love (even if it’s not at the bench), you will almost definitely be more efficient in the lab than if you’re coming to lab everyday with the primary goal of just ‘getting through it.’ ”

 

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

New Program: Meet the Editor

Recently, we have reformatted our Roadshows to focus more on our Editorial Boards. We have now held several “Meet the Editor” events with our Board Members, and are planning more:

 

These interactive presentations are geared primarily towards graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, but are also valuable to early career faculty and even to seasoned publishing veterans. During the event, a staff member from our office leads the discussion with tips on publishing, all the way from elements of a good cover letter to guidelines for revising your article. But the most important part is having our Editors there to give personal advice and share their experiences around making editorial decisions and common mistakes submitting authors might make. The workshops provide a transparent view into the life-cycle of a manuscript and real insights and tips from our experienced Associate Editors. In most cases, our Editors also give scientific talks in the department we are visiting.

The McGill event featured Jean-Francois Masson, Associate Editor of Analyst, and Professor Davit Zargarian,  Associate Editor of New Journal of Chemistry, and was included as part of a full Scholarly Communication Day. The program took place during Open Access Week, and highlighted the ins-and-outs of the open science movement and included other workshops to help foster and facilitate open communication and collaboration. These included workshops on “Scientific Storytelling” and “Crafting Your Elevator Pitch” as well as a casual “Networking Lunch” where attendees from 5 different Montreal-area schools had a chance to practice their networking skills and meet local peers.

 

Dr. Jenny Lee gives an interactive presentation on publishing in high-quality journals with Prof. Jean-Francois Masson and Prof. Davit Zargarian at McGill University in October 2017.

 

During the Columbia event, we were delighted to have Professor James McCusker, Associate Editor of Chemical Science share his helpful insights from his editorial experience. Professor Sanat Kumar, Associate Editor for Soft Matter and Professor Alissa Park, who serves on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy & Fuels as well as an Associate Editor of the ACS journal, Energy & Fuels, also chimed in to give a diverse range of editorial viewpoints. Professor McCusker also gave a scientific talk and we presented an overview of careers in publishing during this visit.

We are already planning several upcoming Meet the Editor events around North America and hope to have even more to come. If your department is planning to host an RSC Associate Editor and would like to include these activities, let us and the Editor know you would like to add a time for us to give a talk or informal lunch discussion with tips on publishing! Contact our Americas team (americas-editorial@rsc.org) for more information.

 

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)