There are plenty of conference opportunities for undergraduates—but one anticipated by the chemistry community like no other is the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting. ACS will host their Spring National Meeting & Expo in Orlando, Florida from Mar. 31 through Apr. 4, 2019. New College chemistry students and professors will join chemists from around the world to see new research presented, participate in professional development opportunities and present research being done in the Heiser Natural Sciences Building to the larger chemistry community.
Professor of Physical Chemistry Steve Shipman is one of the professors who will present at the meeting.
“ACS National Meetings are some of the biggest meetings of any professional society in the U.S.,” Shipman said in an email interview. “They are where a lot of interesting research is presented (often before it finds its way into papers), and so there are a lot of good opportunities to learn about what other people are thinking and working on.”
Several of Shipman’s students will present at the ACS National Meeting this year, including four thesis students and a third-year doing independent research.
“For my students who are presenting, I hope that the feedback they get will help them to strengthen their thesis work, maybe help them to solve some problems with their projects that have been making it harder than we would want to do the work and also help them to see how their work is more broadly connected to other topics in chemistry as a whole,” Shipman said.
Thesis student Erika Johnson is among the thesis students presenting from Shipman’s lab. Johnson’s research is on the rotational spectrum of 1,2-epoxybutane.
“Because this is part of my thesis data set, it’s beneficial to be able to have practice presenting part of my thesis data set before I do my baccalaureate exam,” Johnson said in an email interview. “I’m so happy we are given the opportunity to see different research happening in chemistry right now, as well as be a part of it. This is also my first time doing a poster presentation, so it’s cool knowing I’ll be able to develop those skills as an undergraduate.”
Professor of Chemistry Rebecca Black will also be attending the ACS National Meeting.
“National ACS conferences are incredible because there are hundreds of different talks going on at any given time during the day,” Black said in an email interview. “There are five different talks at every 20-minute time slot that I’d love to go to on Monday morning of the conference.”
Shipman stressed the other benefits that stem from attending these large professional conferences.
“For students in particular, it can be really eye-opening to see all the different kinds of projects that people are working on and it’s also a way for them to meet people at other schools, like if there are people presenting from a place where they are interested in applying to graduate school,” Shipman said.
Black believes that interacting with other chemists can be one of the most important parts of attending the ACS National Meetings.
“These conferences aren’t just about going to hear about cool chemistry in a vacuum,” Black said. “They are meant to be a starting point for new collaborations and to freely exchange ideas.”
With all the posters, presentations and symposiums that will be presented in Orlando, New College students and professors will have myriad opportunities to discover exciting new ideas that they can bring back to their research and the New College community.