Skip navigation
1 2 3 4 Previous Next

WCC Newsletter

59 posts

2018-06_karen-mulfort.jpg

 

By Anne E. V. Gorden

 

Rising Star Award-winner Dr. Karen Mulfort is a chemist in the Solar Energy Conversion group at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois. Dr. Mulfort earned a dual degree in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. She then undertook her Ph.D. studies at Northwestern University working with Professor Joseph Hupp. While working on her research in materials chemistry and catalysis for her Ph.D., she had an opportunity to work as a graduate fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. On completing her Ph.D. in 2008, she was awarded a Director’s Postdoctoral fellowship to pursue postdoctoral research at Argonne, and was became a staff scientist as an assistant chemist in 2010. She was promoted to Chemist there in 2015. She has contributed to 5 patents and more than 40 papers.

 

Dr.  Mulfort has been recognized with a United States Department of Energy Early Career Research Program award for her work characterizing molecular interactions taking place within defined nanostructures in the hopes of better understanding the way molecules interact with light. This is one key step in understanding how to develop photocatalysts, light-harvesting molecules that could be used in artificial photosynthesis or new solar energy conversion materials. Dr. Mulfort says she originally became attracted to this area of materials chemistry because it not only is an exciting chance to create and explore new materials, but also “solar energy conversion will be critical for developing renewable, sustainable, clean energy for society.” In particular, she is interested in creative molecular designs that will allow the use of earth abundant metals in place of much more costly metals like iridium. This work has the potential to revolutionize how solar cells and solar collectors are made, making them less expensive, more durable, and, key to their broader acceptance, much more efficient. Dr. Mulfort enjoys the national laboratory setting as a unique place to work bringing together a larger multidisciplinary group under a larger collaborative umbrella. This allows her to do research in creative molecular and supramolecular design at the same time collaborating with experts in spectroscopy and chemical biology.

 

Her advice for other chemists and rising stars is something she learned in graduate school. She would encourage younger chemists to remember that science is a long game. It is a marathon not a sprint. Put in the time it takes to get that paper or that proposal, but always remember that there will be setbacks or days things do not quite work. Those
are the days to remember to keep trying and the rewards of achieving your goals.

Valerie Kuck.jpg

On Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 the WCC Luncheon featured guest speaker Valerie Kuck, winner of the 2018 Garvan-Olin medal.  After an introduction by former WCC Chair Dr. Amber Charlebois, Valerie presented her work, “Musings of an ACS Volunteer.” 

 

Val described how she began by volunteering for her local section. From the local section Val became active in the national Women Chemists Committee (WCC).  Val moved on from WCC to serve on the Committee on Meetings & Expositions (M&E).  During her time on M&E, Val had a crucial role in establishing the highly successful program now known as Sci-Mix.  In addition to Sci-Mix Val encouraged the society to offer very important timely programming at national meetings.  Val lead the efforts to include very large scale (arena-sized) panels on the urgent late-breaking topics such as high temperature superconductors and cold fusion. 

 

After her time on M&E, Val served the ACS on the Committee on Committees (ConC).  While serving on ConC, Val urged the committee to appoint more women, industrial chemists and minorities to committee positions.  Val also described her research on the composition of the faculty at Ph.D.-granting institutions. She asked, “Why are there so few women on the faculty?”  Val dug in deeply with her research efforts, including site visits an interviewed different stakeholders.  Val shared the results in publications in Chemical & Engineering News and an ACS symposium series book, “Are Women Achieving Equity in Chemistry?”.  Val concluded her talk by describing her work on the ACS Board of Directors to increase the number of women who receive ACS national technical awards.  While the numbers have seen an increase, Val encourages us all to continue to nominate the many talented women chemists we know for national technical awards!

 

Please join WCC in continuing to celebrate Valerie Kuck and her accomplishments for a special symposium on Monday, August 20th , 2018 at 1:30pm at the Boston Sheraton Hotel in the Independence East ballroom.

 

by Kim Woznack

Woznack_Web.jpg

 

Welcome to the Fall 2018 WCC Newsletter!  WCC has been busy during 2018 continuing to work towards our vision of “Empowering Women throughout the Chemical Enterprise”.  I’m happy to report some updates regarding our work.

 

During the Spring 2018 national meeting in Boston, the WCC implemented a new Project Portfolio-based committee structure.  Previously the WCC used a traditional subcommittee structure, populated by the appointed members and associate members of WCC.  One goal of implementing a new structure was to allow more input, involvement, and engagement from ACS members in carrying out the projects, programs and events.  Some of the projects that we are interested in getting help on include: planning events at the ACS national meetings (either social or technical events), publicizing WCC efforts (locally or nationally) and assisting us in the execution of WCC awards (recruiting applicants and potentially award reading).  If you are interested in helping out the WCC, please reach out to us at wcc@acs.org.  In your email please mention which of these WCC efforts you are volunteering to help with. 

 

One of the goals of the WCC is recognition of women chemists by publicly highlighting their accomplishments.  At the upcoming Boston national meeting, we will have two very special awards symposia.  On Sunday, August 19th at 8:25am, the WCC will celebrate the winners of the WCC Merck Research Award at the Westin Boston Waterfront, Marina Ballroom II.  We will also feature a symposium in honor of Valerie Kuck recipient of the 2018 Garvan-Olin Medal.  This symposium in Val’s honor will be on Monday, August 20th, starting at 1:30pm at the Boston Sheraton Hotel, in the Independence East ballroom. 

 

In a recent interview with The Harvard Gazette, successful fiction writer Lauren Groff is asked by interviewer Colleen Walsh, how she has produced three novels and two short-story collections in the span of 10 years, while also being the mother of two children.  https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/07/lauren-groff-on-florida-as-a-stat e-of-mind/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%2520G azette%252020180718

Groff replied that she respectfully declined to answer this question as long as male writers are not the same question. 

 

I found this answer to be fascinating.  This is a question that the contributing authors of the book “Mom the Chemistry Professor” chose to tackle head on.  The second edition of this book, an official project of the WCC, was just released.  This project is directly related to another one of the goals of the WCC, which is to increase the engagement and retention of women chemists.  In order to retain women chemists who might be interested in balancing an academic chemistry career with a family, the authors from a variety of background have chosen to share their experiences, including both the challenges they have faced and the strategies they have used to succeed and flourish.  A full-day symposium featuring a variety of authors will take place on Tuesday, August 21st, at the Boston Sheraton Hotel, Liberty C.  Following the symposium, the WCC will have its Open Meeting during its Just Cocktails social gathering. 

 

We hope that you’ll be able to join us in Boston to advocate for, recognize and celebrate women chemists. 

 

by Kimberly Woznack

 

NOLA 3.JPG

On Tuesday, March 20th, the WCC hosted the WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award Poster Session at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. The WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award provides funding for undergraduates, graduates, and post-doctoral fellows to present their research at a meeting. The Spring 2018 award winners were Alyssa Antropow (Massachesetts Institute of Technology), Karen Corbett (Florida State University), Caroline Franks (University of Virginia), Haley Irving (Portland State University), Aneta Jelowicki (University of California, Santa Barbara), Julia Jennings (University of California, Davis), Irene Kurtz (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Sara Martin (North Carolina State University), Grace McKenna (Stanford University), and Jessica Stewart (Wayne State University). Their research covered varied topics from chemical biology, organic, computational, inorganic, and polymer chemistry. The poster session was well attended by ACS governance and other conference attendees. Following the hour long poster session, the WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award winners were honored at the subsequent WCC luncheon. Additional information, including the deadline for submitting an application for the next WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award, can be found at the following url: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/funding-and-awards/awards/other/travel/wcctra velaward.html

 

By: Amy Balija

Rebecca Ruck Photos.jpg

 

The 2018 ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences sponsored by The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation was presented to Dr. Rebecca T. Ruck, director of Process Chemistry at Merck.  Becky, who broke the gender barrier playing Little League baseball in Colonia, NJ where she grew up, has been a strong champion of women in chemistry throughout her career.   While she has never had a female manager, she acknowledged the support her male mentors have given her over the years, particularly her PhD advisor Eric Jacobsen at Harvard and Kevin Campos, her current manager at Merck.  In her honor, a WCC symposium co-sponsored by ORGN, PROF and YCC and organized by Dr. Ed Sherer was held at the 255th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans.  Speakers included former and current colleagues of Dr. Ruck’s: Yi Ning Ji Chen (Merck), Laura L. Anderson (University of Illinois at Chicago), Teshik P. Yoon (University of Minnesota), Jaime McCabe Dunn (Merck), Ann E. Weber (Kallyope) and Vy M. Dong (University of California Irvine).  The symposium concluded with a presentation by Becky which reflected her love of science and her passion for promoting women in chemistry.  Becky highlighted the progress she has made in implementing a number of initiatives to support women, including the WCC Merck Research Award and the Women in Chemistry symposium at Merck.  She has expanded the latter to include symposia and drop in events at Princeton, MIT and Cambridge University.  Through the active role Becky has played in recruiting and, more importantly, retaining women in Process Chemistry at Merck, she has almost single-handedly changed the face of chemistry in her department.  What’s next?  Becky continues to sponsor broader diversity and inclusion initiatives at Merck which involve manager accountability, mentoring / sponsoring tools and resources, and leave of absence best practices.  “Receiving this award is tremendous recognition for me and for Merck for what we have been able to accomplish,” she noted. “That said, we still have a long way to go, and I entreat everyone to think about how she or he can make a difference.”

 

By Ann Weber

A symposium organized by Dr. Kim Woznack to launch the publication of the second edition of Mom the Chemistry Professor (Springer 2018) was held at the 25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Dr. Gail Webster and Dr. Renée Cole presided over two sessions where seven women told their unique stories of pursuing both a career in academia and their path to motherhood. One of the speakers, Dr. Megan Grunert Kowalske, presented results from a qualitative study that she conducted. Her talk addressed the safety concerns identified by women chemists in academic laboratories. Each of the speakers identified systemic policy issues that women chemists confront in academia including scheduling issues when confronting infertility treatments, lack of maternity leave, challenges in child care, and inflexible tenure clock stoppage. A panel discussion at the conclusion of each session allowed for a rich discussion between the audience and the speakers.

 

WCC-MomChemistryProessor.png

 

Mom the Chemistry Professor author, Dr. Sara Mason of the University of Iowa and her daughter (in matching periodic table outfits) presenting at BCCE 2018 (photo courtesy Debbie Mitchell)

 

The symposium was well attended by both women and men. At one point, there were thirty-eight people seated in the audience with additional onlookers standing in the hallway. The symposium generated interest on twitter, and many attendees expressed an interest in continuing programming regarding these issues at future conferences, including ACS regional meetings.

 

WCC-MomChemistryProf-SocialMediaShot.png

Twitter activity after the conference

 

Overall, the symposium provided a much needed venue to share stories and normalize the ways in which women can combine motherhood and the professoriate. 

 

By - Kimberly A. Woznack

Boston, Massachusetts

August 20, 2018, 7:30 AM - Ticketed Event

At the center of industrial, academic, government, and non-profit employers … is you! Making connections is part of the foundation to get to the next level.

The three main employers within the chemical enterprise, industry, academics, and government (including non-profits) comprise of very different groups. Each have different missions with unique management styles. What does it mean to work in these fields and how does one advance in these fields? The Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast will host women from each of these groups to discuss her career path and how she navigated the career ladder within her organization.

We were thrilled to have ACS Directors and ACS President-Elect, Bonnie Charpentier, as our guests for the New Orleans breakfast last March. Our guests sat at the tables with breakfast participants, answering questions. After 15 minutes, they moved to another table to ensure they interacted with as many participants as possible. Much of the feedback indicates the participants found the event worthwhile.

Due to the success of the New Orleans breakfast, we have decided to repeat the format. We have invited ACS Board members to sit with us to discuss their careers, the ACS, and employment and volunteer opportunities and challenges. We encourage you to attend and participate.

For over 20 years, the WCC has organized the Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast, a long-lasting program designed to initiate discussion on topics relevant to women in the chemical sciences. Join us in New Orleans for an opportunity to network with others and a discussion about the importance networking for your career.

By Ean Warren

Picture of Virtual Issue.JPG

By Amy Balija and Ana de Bettencourt-Dias

 

On Sunday, March 18th, a symposium celebrating the accomplishments of female scientists in the field of synthetic chemistry approaches towards energy and environmental challenges occurred at the 255th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. This symposium was held in conjunction with the recent publishing of a Virtual Issue highlighting female synthetic chemists.  

 

Professors Ana de Bettencourt-Dias, Amy Prieto and Louise Berben, co-editors of the Virtual Issue, identified 22 female colleagues, whose research recently had been published in Inorganic Chemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society, on topics related to synthetic chemistry addressing challenges in energy and the environment.

 

Simultaneously, the three co-editors organized a symposium at the 255th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The symposium, sponsored by the Division of Inorganic Chemistry, featured several principal investigators from the Virtual Issue and female scientists at primarily undergraduate institutions. The result was an amazingly vibrant all-day symposium, featuring 18 speakers, and the audience was treated to excellent presentations on a variety of approaches towards solving problems related to our environment and society.

 

As an excellent addition to the “Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water” theme of the 255th ACS National Meeting, the symposium provided a high attendance, much though-provoking discussion and hopefully will stimulate even more research progress towards addressing urgent issues in the environment and sustainability.

 

 

michelleomalley.jpg

 

Dr. Michelle O’Malley, 2018 Rising Star Award Winner, is an Associate Professor at UC Santa Barbara researching protein synthesis and manipulation of cellular behavior for biomedical and environmental applications. Michelle grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, fascinated with biology. She was curious about how biological systems worked and felt that to understand these systems, she would have to understand chemical engineering. Michelle received her bachelor degrees in both chemical engineering and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004 and received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Delaware in 2009.

Michelle’s lab at UC Santa Barbara (https://chemengr.ucsb.edu/people/michelle-omalley) has focused on genetic and cellular engineering of anaerobic gut fungi; synthetic anaerobic consortia for bioproduction and model development; engineering synthetic fungal cellulosomes and novel biocatalysts; developing membrane proteins for drug discovery, detection, and diagnostics; and new membrane proteins for synthetic biology (https://chemengr.ucsb.edu/people/michelle-omalley). The lab has identified over a thousand new enzymes with new functions by cultivating microbes from bovine gut and feces.

Michelle has received numerous awards and recognition for her work including the ACS Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Young Investigator Award, Henry & Camille Dreyfus Foundation Scholar the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2015 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award.

In her talk at the ACS meeting, Michelle mentioned a number of items to think about during your career. You should identify mentors and advocates. Know your strengths and where you can grow. You should keep a “feel good” folder with family pictures and notes. Give back to those who are up and coming. You shouldn’t feel the need to fall in line with the rest. Finally, blaze a new trail and have confidence!

Join WCC and Merck on Sunday August 19th from 8:25 - 12 PM at the Westin Boston Waterfront, Marina Ballroom II to celebrate 9 amazing women who are the 2018 WCC Merck Research Award. At the symposium each of the winners will present a talk on her research. If you would like to know more, check out this flyer for the symposium.

2018 WCC Merck Research Aware Symposium Flyer

Woznack_Web.jpg

Photo Credit: California University of Pennsylvania

 

Greeting from the Women Chemists Committee!  I am deeply honored to serve as the new chair of the WCC.  As this is my first newsletter message, I wanted to introduce myself briefly before I tell you about the fantastic programs and events WCC has to offer at the upcoming national meeting.

 

I first joined the Women Chemists Committee in 2011 after completing the Younger Chemist Committee (YCC) track at the Leadership Development Institute (in 2010).  My service to WCC was as Recording Secretary and member of the Programming & Events Subcommittee.  I became Program Chair in 2014 and thoroughly enjoyed helping to execute a wide range of national meeting technical programs until I became Chair of the Programming & Events subcommittee in 2017.  After participating in the 2017 WCC strategic planning retreat, I’m eager to dive in and begin implementing updates and new strategies to help WCC achieve its goals and mission.

 

I am a Professor of Chemistry at California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), which is one of the fourteen state system universities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  My activism and volunteering on behalf of women started in 2005, when I became involved with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Women’s Consortium.  Membership in this professional organization is open to faculty, staff and students at all fourteen state system universities.  The Consortium executes leadership institutes for each of their constituencies, in addition to running an annual conference.  I had the pleasure of serving as the Secretary, Treasurer, President-elect and President of this organization, completing my term as Immediate-Past President this year. 

 

Now, let me tell you about the exciting lineup of networking and social events WCC has planned for the upcoming national meeting in New Orleans, LA.  On Sunday, March 18th we will have the Women Chemists of Color (WCofC) Networking Event.  On Monday, the Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast (a ticketed event) will focus on networking and careers.  WCC is grateful to have eight female members of the Board of Directors, who have volunteered to network with breakfast attendees and discuss their own career paths.  On Tuesday of the national meeting WCC hosts a poster session showcasing the research of the Spring 2018 Eli Lilly travel award winners immediately before the WCC Luncheon (a ticketed event).  The luncheon keynote, “Musings of an ACS Volunteer” will be presented by 2018 Garvan-Olin medalist, Valerie Kuck.  On Tuesday, all chemists are welcome to attend the WCC Open meeting and “Just Cocktails” reception to network and hear more about the efforts of the WCC. 

 

On Monday, March 19th, WCC is sponsoring a full-day symposium titled, “Science of Sexual Harassment”.  The morning session is subtitled, “The psychology and sociology of sexual harassment” and the afternoon, “Working to Stop Sexual Harassment in Departments & at Meetings”. This symposium is a spin-off from the article, “Confronting sexual harassment in chemistry” published in the September 18th, 2017 issue of Chemical & Engineering News by Linda Wang and Andrea Widener.  (https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i37/Confronting-sexual-harassment-chemistry.html) WCC is extremely grateful for the financial support from C&EN, the Committee on Minority Affairs, the Diversity & Inclusion advisory board, the Younger Chemists Committee, and the division of Professional Relations.  In association with the symposium, WCC is hosting a workshop on Tuesday, “No Means No: How to Stop Sexual Harassment”, featuring Dr. Sherry Marts.   Seats are limited for this event and tickets are only $10. 

 

On Tuesday morning, we’ll celebrate the accomplishments of Merck research, Dr. Rebecca Ruck, who is the 2018 winner of the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.  Additionally WCC will feature the six accomplished winners of the 2018 WCC Rising Award on Tuesday afternoon.  Please see the WCC Roadmap for all of the specific time and location details. 

 

Once again, I am honored to serve the WCC, and I look forward to an incredible year of WCC programs, products and services.  I welcome your ideas and suggestions !

 

Kim Woznack

WCC Chair

Have you ever felt devalued or slighted at work? Do you sometimes witness other colleagues being devalued or slighted? Are these incidents related to individuals’ demographic membership? If yes, please consider participating in our study - all genders, races/ethnicities, disciplines welcome.

 

Funded by the NSF ADVANCE Program, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is conducting a national study to chronicle the experiences of faculty with microaggressions.  We are interested in microaggresions - both personally experienced and/or witnessed- and their relationship to employees’ job satisfaction and well-being.  Collecting daily data of participants’ workplace experiences will provide valid insights into how often microaggressions occur, how they are dealt with and their consequences. All information provided will remain confidential; any identifying information provided would be removed during data processing.

 

Participants will: 

  • Complete a 20-minute baseline questionnaire on the first day of participation
  • Complete a 2-4-minute daily survey for 30 consecutive days thereafter at an afternoon/evening time that works for you
  • Be asked to report personal and/or witnessed microaggressions related to your work environment
  • Will receive an Amazon gift card as a token of our appreciation for your time and effort; the amount is based on your level of participation, up to $50.

 

To participate, or learn more about this study, please visit our website (put in the name AND the hyperlink) UML MAKING WAVES Daily Bias Survey website. Inquires or concerns regarding your participation or this study in general, can be directed to the PI, Michelle Haynes-Baratz at Michelle_HaynesBaratz@uml.edu

 

Post written by: Lorena Tribe

WCC Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast

New Orleans, Louisiana

March 19, 2018, 7:30 AM (Ticketed Event)

 

networking.png

 

Written by: Ean Warren

 

At the center of industrial, academic, government, and non-profit employers … is you! Making connections is part of the foundation to get to the next level.

 

The three main employers within the chemical enterprise, industry, academics, and government (including non-profits) comprise of very different groups. Each have different missions with unique management styles. What does it mean to work in these fields and how does one advance in these fields? The Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast will host women from each of these groups to discuss her career path and how she navigated the career ladder within her organization.

 

For over 20 years, the WCC has organized the Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast, a long-lasting program designed to initiate discussion on topics relevant to women in the chemical sciences. Join us in New Orleans for an opportunity to network with others and a discussion about the importance networking for your career.

WCC Women in the Chemical Enterprise Breakfast - Washington, DC

August 21, 2017, 7:30AM

 

Carolyn Ribes web.jpg

Written by: Ean Warren

 

We were delighted to have Carolyn Ribes from Dow Chemical as the speaker for the Washington, DC Breakfast. Carolyn talked about her experiences abroad and working in a multicultural environment. Carolyn talked about the importance of understanding cultural aspects – those that can be observed as well as those that are hidden – in the workplace. Context, directness, facial expressions, and small talk are all important in business communications between people of different cultures. Carolyn also talked about different concepts of time, control, and operational authority. She ended with strategies for successful communications. The WCC would like to thank Carolyn for an interesting and informative talk!

Don't miss the full-day symposium on the Science of Sexual Harassment at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. The symposium takes place on Monday, March 19, and will feature speakers discussing the psychology and sociology of sexual harassment, as well as scientists talking about how to prevent harassment in departments and at scientific meetings. Visit the online technical program for speaker details for the morning and afternoon sessions.

 

On Tuesday, March 20, there will be a bystander training workshop, titled "No Means No: How to Stop Harassment," for those who want to learn how to identify and prevent sexual harassment. You can participate by purchasing a ticket to the workshop ($10) when you register for the meeting. If you've already registered, you can still purchase a ticket by e-mailing ACS@xpressreg.net.