While Shelby and I are no longer in Denver now, we both had a lot of fun at our first American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition! We both had the opportunity to present our senior research, go to technical sessions, and network ourselves to exhaustion, as well as sampling (a great deal of) local beer from the beautiful state of Colorado. If you follow the lab twitter at all, you may recognize some of the next few photos. The Colorado Convention Center features a gigantic statue of a blue bear outside peering in. Naturally, I asked Shelby to pose next to it:
The opening of the exposition on Sunday was incredibly full of free merchandise, and I think the final pen count is over 30. That’s not even mentioning the free bags, t-shirts, candy, gangrene-as-a-plush-toy, bottle openers, molecular model kits (no, they weren’t giving out the buckyball ones for free), and (here’s the kicker) selfie sticks:
We also have a lovely photo of the two of us with “Professor Molenium,” the ACS mascot:
The technical sessions for the Environmental Chemistry Division were extremely informative, with dozens of talks on hydraulic fracturing, the hot topic of the meeting. Personally, my favorite session was from the History of Chemistry Division, which discussed past research and ethics of chemical warfare (a heavy day, but well worth it!). However, it was not all such hard work going to talks and collecting give-aways: the point of the meeting was obviously to network. ACS invests a lot of effort in integrating undergraduates into the chemical community and one of their events was called “Rock Stars of Chemistry,” at which ACS’s newest members can network with some of the most successful members ranging from Executive Director Tom Connelly to President Elect Donna Nelson to various Nobel Laureates:
ACS as a society really cares about nurturing its undergraduate students and teaching them how to network within the science community. This support almost entirely disappears when that status changes to graduate student, so definitely go to ACS as an undergraduate if you have the chance! It’s even better if you have research to present the way Shelby and I did:
I highly recommend submitting a poster for SciMix because I got to meet a lot of people I might not have had the opportunity to speak with otherwise. Cross-division conversations really do happen (how much of that should be attributed to the free alcohol is something I don’t know), and ACS is a fabulous community in which every member has a story:
I won’t see you in Boston for the 250th ACS conference, but maybe at a future meeting! Until then, there are grad school decisions to be made, senior theses to finish, and a stylish cap+gown combination to wear… Cheers, all!