Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Publishing, Presenting, and Peer Review: Helping Showcase Brazilian Chemistry through the RSC Science Connect Program

Work hard and you will succeed. Getting the research ball rolling to publish frequently is a matter of working hard, and also knowing better what publishers expect. Research is a global “business” and we will only progress scientifically in every corner of the world if we connect. As a scientist, there are many components to the game of your career. You have to teach, get students, make reports, sustain your lab, progress in the career, get involved with global problems, solve bureaucratic issues and make yourself knowledgeable. How to do all of that? We can improve various aspects when you publish and make the world recognize what you are doing. Then you will connect globally, you will have greater ideas and see the world that is full of opportunities, where openness is key.

The Royal Society of Chemistry wants to help every researcher in the world get a better understanding of our publishing process. Having this in mind, we have collaborated with the British Council in Brazil since 2015 to add inside information from a publisher point-of-view into their Researcher Connect program, sponsored by Newton Fund Brazil. We wanted to unlock the door to publishing for Brazilian researchers: the strategy involves me, Dr. Beth Magalhães, Manager of Publishing in Brazil based in São Paulo, and Dr. Jen Griffiths, the Editorial Development Manager for the Americas from the RSC’s Washington, DC office, traveling together around this big country and getting to know the different cultures and facilities that carry on the nation’s high-quality research.  This year especially, we included our tour in the Brazil-UK Year of Science and Innovation agenda. “Science is GREAT is a motto for the year, and this aligns with the idea behind what we proposed: spending a whole day giving a series of four totally hands-on workshops for up-and-coming researchers to improve their publishing, presenting, and reviewing skills as scientists. We named it Science Connect, because more than just publishing numbers and volume, we want people to engage across their community and internationally.

On February 7th, we headed to Alfenas, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, and to the Universidade Federal de Alfenas (UNIFAL). UNIFAL received us with a full house of chemists and pharmacists. We had professors, post-docs, MSc and PhD students all present. Minas has a unique and vibrant atmosphere, being well known for the good food and especially, the coffee and pão de queijo, a popular signature dish of bite-sized cheese-balls. We had the support of Prof. Dr. Vanessa Boralli and we were happy that the audience was really involved and talkative throughout.

Group photo at UNIFAL with RSC trainers.

Then we flew to Teresina, and what a surprise: we were received by Prof. Francisco Guedes, the President of Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Piauí (FAPEPI), which is the Piauí State Funding Agency that highlighted our program in their newsletter. Prof. Beatriz Rodrigues, head of the international office of Universidade Federal do Piauí (UFPI) gave us a warm welcome to the campus, where on February 11th, we held an exciting workshop; together with a varied group of attendees, people were able to talk with us in a relaxed and casual setting. Teresina is located in the far Northeast, and having someone from abroad garnered attention from the locals, who are warm and highly curious about anything. The Serra da Capivara National Park nearby is quite famous for its prehistoric rock paintings which have inspired the local art craft. The weather is hot and humid, and we could feel how proud the locals are of their home, histories and of course the lunch break. By lunchtime it was making total sense why most people stop anything they are doing between 12 and 2 pm, in order to get away from the heat. 

Group photo at UFPI with RSC trainers.

Finally, on February 14th, we went from Teresina to Curitiba, heading then to Ponta Grossa. This region is full of soya farms, making the region very attractive for work opportunities. The Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa organized a nice event inside their Astronomy building. Prof. Dr. Jarem Garcia from the Chemistry department put together a nice mix of students and professors to mingle with us and one another. We were surrounded by the beautiful nature of Vila Velha Park and couldn’t resist sampling the local churrasco, giving us the opportunity to experience the renowned barbecue meat that fills the region.

Group photo at UEPG with RSC trainers.

The workshop was filled with opportunities for attendees to talk about their work and gain presenting experience to improve their oral communication skills. They also trained, in a hands-on mode, in identifying a good abstract and title and to improve and optimize their own, and how important is to formulate a cover letter to call attention to your work. Towards the end of the day, posters were discussed in a more informal way, especially to explore how keeping it simple is typically better; attendees also had the opportunity to self-critique and constructively critique peers .

Communicating science through writing, talking, and displaying while increasing personal impact have to be straightforward and thoughtful. Preparation is essential, training is important and persisting is even more crucial. With these keys, we are sure to be rewarded for our hard work; even if the voyage to be taken will be very long, we are willing to pay the price as we did, covering more than 6,700 km, not only for science but also the joys of cheese balls, geology signs and churrasco that come with the journey!

  

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An Intense Year of Chemical Science Activities in Brazil

 

After the winter break in the Southern Hemisphere, Brazil’s position as a leader of science research was showcased, with several chemistry-related meetings happening all over the country. The focus areas ranged from CO2 storage and utilization at the International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization (ICCDU), molecular magnetism at the International Conference on Molecular-based Magnetism (ICMM), new and advanced analytical science at National Meeting on Analytical Chemistry (ENQA) and diverse aspects of inorganic chemistry at the Brazilian Meeting on Inorganic Chemistry (BMIC). These concentrated activities coincide with the Northern hemisphere summer break, making it possible for international speakers to come over and bring the right international flavor. Several engaged RSC authors and editors came and we were able to foster future collaborations. For the RSC, we are happy that the local community now easily recognizes our journals and we can show our commitment to increasing the submission and publication of high-quality work from the region.


The International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization

UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation network reception at the British Council residence in Rio.

The ICCDU had partnered with the UK-Brazil Year of Science and Innovation, and so a UK delegation was deeply involved in several activities (Profs Michael North, Peter Styring, Katy Armstrong) as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Green Chemistry, Prof Philip Jessop. The event was included on the Year calendar web site. Above is a photo of the main networking event during the meeting, which brought together Brazilians and international researchers.

Poster prize winners at the 2018 ICCDU; pictured from left to right: Adriano H Braga (USP-Brazil), Juan Arturo Mendoza-Nieto (UNAM-Mexico) and Mathias Smialkowski (Ruhr-Universität Bochum-Germany)

The RSC offered several poster prizes on behalf of our sustainability and energy journals, and wish to take the opportunity here to congratulate the winners: Adriano H. Braga from the University of São Paulo in Brazil won the Sustainable Energy & Fuels prizethe Energy & Environmental Science prize went to Juan Arturo Mendoza-Nieto from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM/Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México); and the Green Chemistry prize was awarded to Mathias Smialkowski from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany.     


The International Conference on Molecule-based Magnetism

ICMM is a joint community gathering that brings together chemists and physicists, together with biologists and materials scientists for deep and focused discussions on different topics in the field of molecule-based magnets, including metal organic frameworks, modelling and theory of electronic structure, magneto-chiral and frustrated systems, bio-magnetic phenomena, and magneto-optic and magneto-caloric nanomaterials. 

Left to right: Jonathan J Marbey (Florida State University) receiving his prize from JMC C Advisory Board Member, Prof Roberta Sessoli; Luca M Carrella (Univ Mainz-Germany) centre, receiving his prize from Profs Miguel Novak (conference chair) and Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers Editor-in-Chief, Song Gao; Marcus J Giansiracusa (Univ Manchester-UK) centre, receiving his prize from Dalton Transactions Advisory Board Member, Prof Masahiro Yamashita and the conference Chair, Prof Miguel Novak.

RSC offered poster prizes and we wish to take the opportunity here to congratulate the winners. Jonathan J. Marbey from Florida State University won the Journal of Material Chemistry C prize, which was presented by one of the journal’s Advisory Board Members, Prof Roberta Sessoli from the University of Florence in Italy; Luca M. Carrella won the prize from Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers, which was presented by the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Prof Song Gao and conference chair Prof Miguel Novak; and Marcus J. Giansiracusa received the Dalton Transactions prize, which was presented by the conference chair and one of the journal’s Advisory Board Members, Prof Masahiro Yamashita. What an honor for all of us.


Encontro Nacional de Química Analítica: The National Meeting on Analytical Chemistry

The Meet the Editor session at ENQA; pictured from left to right: Prof Dion Dionysiou, Prof Jailson B de Andrade, Prof Susan Lunte, RSC Editorial Development Manager Beth Magalhaes, and Prof Carlos Garcia.

ENQA was something else! With more than 1200 attendees, the meeting was a celebration of their achievements and the internationalization that is clear. Prof Wendell Coltro of Universidade Federal de Goiás (the Federal University of Goiás) did a fantastic job helping us organize a Meet the Editor session; he brought along Prof Carlos Garcia, who serves as an Associate Editor for RSC Advances, to join efforts with Prof Susan Lunte and Prof Jailson B de Andrade, who serve on the Advisory Board and Editorial Board of Analytical Methods, respectively.  Prof Dion Dionysiou from the University of Cincinnati, an engaged author and Editor of the new Chemistry in the Environment books series, was also present to give some tips.

Prof Marcia Mesko, JAAS Lectureship awardee from Univ Pelotas-Brazil, was also honored during the event.

Tayane A. Freitas (UFSCar-Brazil) receiving her RSC Advances prize from Prof Carlos Garcia.

We just could not compete with the parallel section on Women in Chemistry, which goes to show how the Analytical community are discussing diversity and inclusion. Related to that, Prof Marcia Mesko from Universidade Federal de Pelotas was also honored for her recent achievements. She was awarded the JAAS Lectureship in 2018 and was selected for both the 100 Women in Chemistry and Young Analytical Scientists web collections, which include her recent paper from JAAS. She is now an Advisory Board Member for JAAS; she also currently serves as the Analytical Division President at SBQ, the Brazilian Chemical Society, and will be organizing the next ENQA. 

Analyst/Analytical Methods and RSC Advances offered poster prizes and we wish to congratulate the winners. The Analyst/Analytical Methods prize was given to Bernardo F. Braz Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. The RSC Advances prize was awarded to Tayane A. Freitas from Universidade Federal de São Carlos and we took took the opportunity to have Prof Garcia present it.

 

 


The Brazilian Meeting on Inorganic Chemistry

BMIC has a long-lasting relationship with the RSC and its Inorganic Division. This time the event went to Fortaleza, the Brazilian capital closest to Europe that is also easy to reach from North America. Perhaps lured by the lovely sightseeing and beautiful beach, the event brought renowned academics from around the world to Brazil. Americans including Prof Thomas Meyer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Associate Editor for New Journal of Chemistry Prof Debbie Crans from Colorado State Universityand ChemComm Associate Ediot Prof T. Don Tilley from the University of California, Berkeley, joined international attendees like Prof Peter Junk , also an Associate Editor for New Journal of Chemistryfrom James Cook University in the UK, Prof Osamu Ishitani from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, Frank T. Edelmann from Magdeburg University in Germany, Cedric Fischmeister from Université Rennes 1 in France, and Brazilians like  Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences Editorial Board Member, Prof Mauricio Baptista from the University of São Paulo.

Left to right: Poster prize winners Isabela Moreira Soares Diógenis (UNICAMP , Brazil); Santiago Rostan (UdelaR, Uruguay); Victor Eulogio Lopez Guerrero (UNAM, México) with Peter Junk and Don Tilley.

Our journals Nanoscale, ChemComm and Nanoscale Advances awarded poster prizes and we would like to say congratulations to the winners: Isabela Moreira Soares Diógenis from Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil, Santiago Rostan from Universidad de la República(UdelaR) in Uruguay, and Victor Eulogio Lopez Guerrero from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico. The winners received their prizes from Profs Peter Junk and Don Tilley.


Chemistry for Everyone

As a final message, we would like to encourage the Brazilian community to continue its engagement with the RSC. There are many ways to engage with us, such as using social media to participate in online discussion forums and promote events, by tagging our twitter account @RoySocChem to start a conversation with us, and taking advantage of relevant hashtags; researchers can explore our grants opportunities, dig into our events page, explore and read our portfolio of journals, magazines (ChemistryWorld and Education-in-Chemistry) and databases, and approaching us with ideas.  We understand that the success of our community depends on our ability to encourage and nurture the talent of the best people, regardless of who they are or their background.

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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. 

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