Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

SBQ-RSC: Celebrating UK-Brazil collaborations

   

Brazil has been the research centre of South America since the beginning of the 21st century and is responsible for more than 50% of chemistry papers published in Latin America. The Royal Society of Chemistry has been committed to fostering international collaborations for at least as long. Ties between UK and Brazilian researchers have become common, and it was a natural result to sign our first Memorandum of Understanding with the Brazilian Chemical Society (SBQ) in 2007, promoting and fostering collaborations. The MoU was renewed in 2012, and this May, the RSC and SBQ are signing an updated MoU that will incentivize UK and Brazilian researchers to participate in SBQ or RSC meetings, encourage inclusion and diversity and seek out joint third party activities.

In honour of this event, we have organized a special virtual issue highlighting collaborations between UK and Brazilian researchers. Articles from authors from 34 institutions in Brazil and 41 in the UK were selected, resulting in more than sixty articles on topics such as electroanalytical techniques, nanomaterials, catalysis, synthetic pathways and theoretical calculations, among others.

 

The close ties and friendship between the SBQ and the Royal Society of Chemistry has helped foster many scientific collaborations and has brought scientists together to promote and share knowledge and ideas. Some of the results of these collaborations are now showcased in this web collection and we are immensely proud that these researchers chose to publish their work in our journals.” said Emma Wilson, Director of Publishing, RSC

 

I’m very satisfied to renew the SBQ/RSC partnership signing a new Memorandum of Understanding during the SBQ Annual Meeting in Foz do Iguaçu, as an official activity of the UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation. To celebrate, the editors of both RSC journals portfolio and the Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society-JBCS decided to create themed issues. Each society selected scientific papers by authors from Brazil and UK. This is a great initiative, and the success is guaranteed. Congratulations to all the people engaged in actions to approximate SBQ and RSC much more, hence the Brazilian and the UK sciences. said Prof Aldo J G Zarbin, SBQ President

 

Our future collaborations include a themed issue in the Royal Society of Chemistry journals portfolio and the JBCS of selected scientific papers shared by authors from Brazil and UK. I am also very much looking forward to formally renewing our partnership and friendship by signing our Memorandum of Understanding –  a welcome commitment between our two countries to collaborate further in the future for the benefit of chemistry and humanity. said Professor Dominic Tildesley Past President, Royal Society of Chemistry

 

This themed issue will also celebrate the UK-BRAZIL Year of Science and Innovation 2018-2019, organized by the Science and Innovation Network Brazil (SIN). This initiative recognizes the significant increase in collaborations between the two countries and their resulting publications.

 

The UK-Brazil Year of Science & Innovation is a celebration of current and new world class collaborations in global challenges including in energy, climate, biodiversity, agriculture and health & linked to our Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Grand Challenge. I am thrilled that the Royal Society of Chemistry and Brazilian Chemical Society are a strong part of this Year said Dr Julia Knights, Director of Science & Innovation at the British Embassy in Brasilia. Check the provisional UK-BR YoS&I program here.

 

We invite you to browse the collection to see what’s been happening between Brazil and the UK since 2016.

 
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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.

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Meet the Royal Society of Chemistry at ACS National Meetings

We always enjoy meeting new people and catching up with familiar faces at ACS National Meetings, most recently in New Orleans.  We packed our schedules with talks during the day, learning about the latest and exciting developments across the chemical sciences.  Many of us attended sessions related to the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water theme, which also aligns with the global challenges the RSC aims to support.

It was a good opportunity to congratulate Chemical Science Associate Editors Professors Kit Cummins and Mircea Dinca at MIT in person as they received ACS awards for their achievements.  Editor-in-chief Professor Daniel Nocera, Executive Editor Dr. May Copsey, and many other Chemical Science Board members discussed some exciting developments for our flagship journal – stay tuned for updates on the website and learn more about the Associate Editors!

Booth, ACS, RSC, Chemical Science, Environmental Science journals, New Orleans

Dr. May Copsey, Executive Editor for Chemical Science, Dr. Sam Keltie, Executive Editor for the Environmental Science journals, and Dr. Jenny Lee, Assistant Editorial Development Manager, meeting attendees at the RSC booth during opening night of the Expo.

While it’s challenging to keep up with the conference programming, we wanted to spend some time to meet conference attendees at the booth and organize separate gatherings.  Larger conferences are great since colleagues travel from our Cambridge, UK office.  The Meet the Editor event involving Executive Editor Dr. Sam Keltie and the Editor-in-chiefs for the three sister Environmental Science journals was a nice chance to talk about publishing, and to also continue the conversation with the environmental chemical sciences community during happy hour.

RSC, ACS, Environmental Science: Nano, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, ESN, ESW, ESPI, Meet the Editor, Booth, Sam Keltie, New Orleans

Meet the Editor event with Dr. Sam Keltie, Executive Editor of the Environmental Science journals, Prof. Kris McNeill, Editor-in-chief of Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Prof. Peter Vikesland, Editor-in-chief of Environmental Science: Nano, and Prof. David Cwiertny, Editor-in-chief of Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.

We also were glad to connect with a few RSC Advances Associate Editors, Editorial Board member Professor James Batteas, and Executive Editor Dr. Andrew Shore where we discussed ideas to continue developing the latest Gold Open Access option within the RSC journals.  While these are only a few highlights of all the events we organized throughout the conference, we appreciated the many opportunities to hear everyone’s thoughts to guide our future activities.

RSC, ACS, RSC Members' Reception, New Orleans

RSC Members’ Reception with Dr. Guy Jones, Executive Editor for Data, pictured in the foreground.

We’d love to meet you at a future ACS National Meeting – you can usually catch most of us at the booth on the opening night of the Expo so we hope to see you soon!

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Science Connect: helping Brazilian scientists communicate their research

The British Council is an organization in the UK that promotes cultural relations and educational opportunities in countries around the world. Three years ago, the RSC began collaborating with them on their Researcher Connect program. Researcher Connect brings workshops on communication skills to universities around the world, including Brazil. For our part of the program, we conduct 1-day, science communication focused workshops, which we call Science Connect. If you think your university in Brazil might be interested, the British Council will be putting out a new call for Researcher Connect applications starting April 2 2018 here. We will be selecting a few institutions chosen for the main Researcher Connect 2018 program to also host an extra day for Science Connect.

This year, we held our Science Connect workshops at three universities: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), Universidade de Brasília (UnB) and Universidade de São Paulo (USP). We had students, postdocs and professors from not only chemistry departments, but also related fields such as materials science, molecular biology and environmental science.

First, Elizabeth Magalhaes from our São Paulo office gave a presentation about the publishing process, with tips from our Editors about all stages of the process, from submission to revision. She also covered best practices for reviewing articles and ethics. The participants told us they found it really useful with lots of tips and good advice on how the publishing process works from the Editors’ perspective.

presentation, publishing

Elizabeth Magalhaes presenting on how to publish at USP

Then, our first hands-on module started with students reading the text of an RSC Advances article from which we’d removed the title and abstract. After giving them some instruction on the essential components of abstracts and titles, we asked them to work in groups to first write an abstract for the article and then a title. Some of the students found this challenging because it was outside of their field, but many of their results included elements that could have improved the real abstract!

Students at UnB collaborate to write an abstract for the RSC Advances article.

The second module focused on communicating your research orally. We went over how important body language and manner of speaking can be. We looked at a real example and asked them to critique the speaker based on what they’d learned. The second half of this module focused on elevator pitches, which are generally unfamiliar to Brazilian researchers. With a worksheet as guidance, we walked them through the elements of a good pitch and asked them to take a stab at writing their own. Several of the students said they found this really useful because they hadn’t really sat down and thought about what they do and why it’s valuable to others.

And finally, and most fun, we looked at the elements of great poster design. We showed some real life examples and asked the students to point out the good and bad elements. We emphasized that communicating your science in a logical way is the most important aspect of posters – they don’t always have to follow the same format as a paper. We encouraged them to get creative (but not too creative!) in thinking about the best way to visually communicate their science. Then some brave students allowed us to look at their real posters for friendly critique.

Elizabeth Magalhaes shows students at UFES an example of a fabric poster.

We had a lot of great feedback from the attendees and really enjoyed helping them better communicate their research. “The partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry has flourished greatly over the past few years and, the feedback we got from universities’ representatives is nothing but really positive,” says Camila Almeida, Newton Fund Project Manager with the British Council. “We have now delivered eight Science Connect workshops in various Brazilian states, and we have observed an increasing interest from the institutions each year. We are very pleased with the results and looking forward to the forthcoming workshops in 2018!”

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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.

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Royal Society of Chemistry Membership – Featuring the USA East Coast Section

Members are a vibrant part of the chemical sciences community and our office enjoys all our interactions. There are over 54,000 RSC members around the world, from students through distinguished Fellows.

The USA East Coast Local Section aims to support members and extend the professional experience. Towards this goal, they actively organize opportunities related to the practice of chemistry so members can connect throughout the year.

At a recent November meeting, Professor Roger Barth visited from West Chester University to give a talk entitled “Fermentation and the Origin of Biochemistry.” He described the historical aspects of biochemistry and related glycolysis to alcoholic fermentation, which he elaborated in his book, The Chemistry of Beer: The Science in the Suds. Everyone enjoyed the evening mix of science and dinner with a chance to catch up with friends and expand networks.

RSC USA East Coast Membership Section with Roger Barth, Section Past-President Les McQuire, Section President Kishore Bagga in New York City

Dinner in New York City with speaker Dr. Roger Barth, Mrs. Barth, Section Past-President Dr. Les McQuire, Harrison Bagga, and Section President Dr. Kishore Bagga (L to R).

Kishore Bagga, PhD, MRSC, President of the USA East Coast Section, enthusiastically presented the section’s initiatives, welcoming ideas and collaboration with other scientific professional bodies. He took time to share some of his personal experiences as an RSC member with us.

Q: Why did you decide to become an RSC member?

A: When I recall back to my undergraduate years, I enjoyed meeting other people who were interested in chemistry. I saw joining the RSC as an opportunity to network with others in the field, to present my work, as a social and career platform, and career advice to name a few reasons. I really liked the idea to belong to a learned professional society as a way to start my career. It gave me a chance to hear from other scientists for example by attending the local section meetings.

I did not know that I would enjoy attending meetings and serve, so much that one day I would have the opportunity to be the first Indian American to serve as President of the US Section.  At this stage, I like to give some of my time back to my society so that others can benefit as much if not more than I do. The current meetings which we hold also allow for a social aspect besides the scientific presentation, allowing for friends to meet again for the evening. In a way, joining when I did lets me see how big a family I belong to, the RSC.

“Joining when I did lets me see how
big a family I belong to, the RSC”

— Kishore Bagga, President of the RSC USA East Coast Membership Section —

Q: What is your favorite part about being involved in the East Coast Section?

A: Holding meetings and allowing for a venue where members can meet and spend time with each other over dinner, and listen to a presentation, as well as the social aspect-excellent food in grand wonderful settings. A large number of our members came from abroad by themselves, just like myself, so the RSC allows for us to gather as a family of say British ex-patriots, amongst others from other countries which adds to the international nature of our society.

To learn more, read Kishore Bagga’s article in Chemistry World, find upcoming events on the Facebook page, or visit the RSC membership website. We hope to see you at a future event!

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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.’ ”

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Congratulations to Dow WesTEC RSC award winners

Last year, our Analytical Methods Editorial Board member Jim Luong invited us to contribute a congratulatory letter for the program book of WesTEC, an internal Dow Canada conference. Last year was the 25th Jubilee celebration of the conference, and the RSC President Robert Parker co-signed a letter with the President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry that appeared in the front of the program, alongside letters from Dow VIPs.

We were thrilled to be invited by Jim again to contribute a congratulatory letter in 2017, and we also sponsored Best Poster and Best Lecture prizes. The conference took place on October 19th and we wanted to say congratulations to the two winners, Ms Morgan Tien (Best Lecture) and Ms Karina Singh (Best Poster)!

Best Lecture prize winner Morgan Tien with Billy Bardin, Dow Global Tech Center Director

Karina Singh, Wayde Konze, Dow WesTEC

Best Poster prize winner Karina Singh with Wayde Konze, Dow Director of Analytical Sciences

We should also say congratulations to the Canadian Society for Chemistry on the 100th anniversary of their conference this year, and of course to Canada itself on its 150th anniversary! In honor of these two milestones, we compiled a special collection to celebrate Canadian science. Enjoy!

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UC Chemical Symposium: “by students, for students”

The University of California Chemical Symposium (UCCS) is a three-day conference that brings together graduate students and postdocs from all ten UC campuses for a weekend of poster presentations and talks, career and professional development, and social activities. It is organized by students, for students. Our North American office has been proud to support this event from its foundation through our community development and leadership training initiatives for students and postdocs.

Seth Cohen, UCCSProfessor Seth Cohen from the University of California, San Diego, is the founder and faculty mentor for UCCS, as well as a member of the Editorial Board of our journal ChemSocRev. We talked to Seth to learn more about how the UCCS came about and where it’s going.

Q: This is going to be the third annual UC Chemical Symposium – what prompted or inspired the start of the UCCS program?

A: The program was inspired by two events.  The first was the beginning of a series of annual meetings for the Chairs of the Chemistry Departments across the UC system (which itself was inspired by a conversation with Prof. Bill Tolman, who told me about similar Chairs’ meetings at Big-10 schools).  I found these Chairs’ meetings useful and it sparked the idea of a student/postdoc symposium.  The second event, was a conversation with Katie Dryden-Holt of the RSC.  She was looking to enhance membership in the US, and the UC symposium seemed like a good opportunity for her to recruit RSC members across the UC campuses.

Q: What is your role in the program and how has it changed over time?

A: I initiated the idea and recruited the first organizing committee (with substantial help from the RSC).  These days, I am more just the institutional knowledge (from year-to-year) and faculty mentor to bounce ideas off of.  The organizing committee really does the heavy lifting.  In the future, I hope the symposium becomes largely self-sufficient, to the point I am not really needed anymore.  I really want this to be something that the students own and sustain.

Q: Did you have anything like this when you were a grad student or postdoc?

A: No.  The closest was the GRS:  Bioinorganic Chemistry.  This was one of the first GRS meetings and it was my favorite meeting.  I made many close friends and I loved that it was student run and organized.  That was a large part of the inspiration for the structure of the UCCS.

Q: The low registration fee of $259 covers all of the program activities, meals, accommodations and more. How is the organizing team able to make the cost so affordable?

Fundraising.  The one thing about this conference I was fairly confident in was that we would be able to initiate a robust fundraising effort.  Organizations love to support students.  The mission of UC is to support students.  I reasoned that most UC Chemistry Departments, Dean’s offices, and other organizations could each give some support, which collectively, would result in a lot of funds to make the symposium quite inexpensive.  Additional support from the RSC, ACS, publishers, and most recently the NSF has further helped make this symposium readily accessible to all students and postdocs.

Q: What is the most challenging part of having ten campuses involved?

A: Making sure all campuses are represented on the organizing committee and that all committee members remain engaged.  With only 1-2 representatives per campus, if just 1 or 2 people don’t to their job it can result in an entire campus being excluded – not deliberately, but because of a lack of information being communicated to that campus.  Conference calls can be hard to schedule with that many people as well

Q: As an Editorial Board member for ChemSocRev, you also initiated the Primer collection of tutorial reviews to help new grad students get up to speed with all the most exciting research and help figure out their own research interests for graduate school. Why is education and training the next generation so important to you?

A: The future success of the chemical sciences and the solutions it will bring to society in the fields of energy, the environment, health, and technology are in the hands of the next generation.  It is important to me that the young scientists I work with feel motivated, supported, and excited to pursue cutting-edge research in the chemical sciences or whatever field their career takes them.

Q: Would other regions benefit from having a program like this, or is it unique to UC?

A: Absolutely!  I’d love to see the idea come full circle, back to the Big-10 (where Bill Tolman is) and see them do something similar.  I think this could be done regionally all over the country and the world.

Q: What do you see, or hope to see, the future holding for UCCS?

A: I think the autonomy is key.  I love being involved, but to make it in the long term, it needs to become fully independent of me as a single faculty mentor.  Personally, I think the size and the format are really good.  I’d like to see it spread to other universities.  For the UCCS specifically, I’d like to see it alternate between a SoCal and NorCal location (we’ve looked at Lake Tahoe), to make it more equitable travel-wise for the NorCal UC campuses.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the UCCS?

That it brings the students together.  I think that is so important – to meet your peers from across the state and share experiences.



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