Ashley Donovan

Day 3: Baltimore to Cockeysville

Blog Post created by Ashley Donovan on Aug 9, 2016

After a good night's sleep, I started Day 3 of running with some company. Prof. Rigoberto Hernandez and I ran from downtown Baltimore up to the campus of Johns Hopkins University, where he recently accepted a faculty appointment in the Department of Chemistry. Prof. Hernandez showed me around his new campus and shared some advice on preparing for ACS National Meetings. Being a member of the Board of Directors and active in both research and outreach activities, Prof. Hernandez typically has a packed schedule from 08:00-22:00 every day of the National Meeting. To create a manageable agenda, he suggests first adding in any 'required' events. Then, remember that it's impossible to do everything in one meeting, so try to focus on key events that are unique to that meeting. If you want to have short meet-ups, tell people where you'll be before and after a certain time-you might be able to arrange a meeting, especially if your interests naturally overlap. Prof. Hernandez even makes time to exercise, which likely helps keep energy up! For more tips, check out one of his meeting-focused blogs.

I had hoped to meet with Prof. Tyrell McQueen, a Princeton Chemistry alumnus, but unfortunately wasn't able to track him down. I did, however, meet a graduate student who mentioned that he was impressed with Prof. McQueen's gifts as a mentor, especially for female graduate students. I was delighted to hear this, as mentoring is a subject that has been on my faculty development radar since day 1 of arriving at ACS.

I ran up Charles St. on my way to Towson University and enjoyed considerably easier and safer running than on Monday, thanks to extensive sidewalks. I arrived at Smith Hall and had a great time chatting with Prof. Keith Reber-yet another fellow Princeton Chemistry graduate! Prof. Reber, long interested in undergraduate education and teaching, was drawn to Towson as a primarily undergraduate institution with excellent instrumention/equipment, and especially likes the cordial attitude of the faculty. I learned that there are approximately 300 chemistry majors who fall into one of three 'tracks': forensic chemistry, secondary education, and professional. For students interested in graduate or professional schools (e.g., medical school), the professional track offers a 'cohort' program, where students concurrently enroll in organic and analytical chemistry, the latter being identified as a 'gatekeeper' course. It was interesting to hear about the transition from research-intensive schools to Towson and having to 'adjust expectations' for research (which, as a faculty member, entails thinking about shorter-term projects that are manageable for undergraduate students who a) face a natural learning curve in the lab and b) will spend less time on a project than a graduate student). That said, Prof. Reber and one of his students presented at ACS in San Diego, and the same student will be giving a talk on Sunday in Philadelphia.

My route north along York Road was more or less consistent undulating hills-but with sidewalks, it was pleasant. I tacked on a couple of extra miles since tomorrow the weather will turn hotter and possibly stormy. I will spend the next two days on the NCR Trail, which looks like it will be a genuine treat! For now, I am looking forward to meeting my colleague Dr. Margaret Grow-Sadler and her husband for dinner. I may even ride in something called a 'vehicle'?