Hello! We are Anna Brockway ’12 and Sam Blau ’12, and we’re about to embark on our first-ever conference experience, to the American Conference of Theoretical Chemistry (ACTC) in Telluride, Colorado. First, a little background. We’re both rising seniors and Chemistry majors working with Professor Joshua Schrier, who focuses on computational theoretical chemistry. This means that all of our work is done on computers, where we model chemical systems and perform both classical and quantum chemical calculations. Anna has worked with Josh on various projects since the summer after her freshman year, and Sam started working with Josh this year after a lot of experience doing Materials Science research with Professor Alex Norquist.
We’re excited about attending this conference because at this point in our undergraduate careers, we have enough of a knowledge base in theoretical chemistry that we’re well-equipped to approach new ideas and potentially integrate them into our own research and senior theses. Attending this conference and speaking to other scientists will also help us understand the range of research options available to us in graduate school. ACTC occurs only once every three years, so this is a unique opportunity that comes just at the right time for us. We will also each present a poster at the poster session on our work this summer, which is the beginning of each of our senior theses. This will be a valuable experience in teaching us how to communicate our work more effectively, and to showcase research done at Haverford to the larger scientific community.
So, on Sunday we’re flying to (what we hear is) beautiful and aptly named Telluride, Colorado, for ACTC. We will spend most of our days listening to scientists present the latest ideas in the field of theoretical chemistry, and we’ll hopefully get to meet and talk to some of them as well. We’re also hoping to check out some of the scenery and brew pubs that Telluride has to offer.