Posted By Maureen Rouhi on Oct 25, 2010 |I cannot praise enough the Younger Chemists Committee of the ACS Wisconsin Local Section for organizing the superb career symposium they hosted on mole day, Oct. 23, in the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The event attracted 138 participants, enough to fill the seminar room of the chemistry building. They came not only from Madison, but also from other institutions in Wisconsin and neighboring states Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. The participants were postdocs, Ph.D. students, and undergrads, and I’m told that one participant was a high school student. Those coming from locations that were at least a 6-hour-drive away received financial aid for two nights’ accommodations and those traveling for 4 hours received one night's accommodation, enabling them to stay through the full length of the symposium, which started with breakfast at 8 AM and concluded with a networking dinner at 5 PM. The accomodation, meals, financial aid, and other arrangements were made possible by an innovative program grant from the ACS committee on Local Section Activities and sponsorships from the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry, ACS Publications, ACS Insurance Plans, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literary. These sponsors should be very pleased with how the organizers used the funds they supplied. The participants heard from a mix of speakers who brought perspectives from industry, academia, government labs, and alternative careers: Emily Wixson, senior academic librarian of UW-Madison Department of Chemistry Steven Sobek, laboratory director of the Bureau of Laboratory Services, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection Maureen Rouhi, deputy editor-in-chief, Chemical & Engineering News Albert Kruger, group leader for process chemistry, Abbott Laboratories Victoria Sutton, intellectual property associate, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Jennifer Schomaker, assistant professor, UW-Madison Department of Chemistry Brittland DeKorver, chemistry outreach specialist, UW-Madison Department of Chemistry John Hottle, assistant program manager, Air Force Office of Scientific Research Mark Heininger, R&D analysis lab manager, Virent Energy Systems Thomas Neuser, advanced chemist, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene Jeffrey Hirsch, chief scientist, Thermo Fisher Scientific Michelle Rogers, chemist, Lubrizol The organizers—UW-Madison chemistry graduate students Benjamin Bratton, Michelle Cooperrider, Christine McInnis, Danielle Stacy, Eugenia Turov, and Gene Wong—ran the show like pros, keeping the speakers and everyone on schedule. Evidence of the event’s resounding success is that participants lingered well after dinner in discussions with some of the speakers. Many of the students I spoke with said they appreciated hearing about the many ways chemists work and that the different perspectives they heard will help them figure out the next step in their education. I, too, learned a lot from the experiences of my fellow speakers. This career symposium is the best I’ve attended so far. Thank you YCC Wisconsin Local Section for a mole day well spent in Madison.