Tuesday, March 6, 2012

*Undercover* chemists at the physics meeting

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a networking luncheon at the American Physical Society meeting in Boston at the suggestion of my Small Chemical Businesses Division of the American Chemical Society Program Chair, Joe Sabol. Since we are a Division we have members located across the country and whenever we can align ourselves with other ACS Divisions or in this case, another scientific society, we try to do it. 



The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CWSP) got the Forum on the Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP) to sponsor this luncheon and brought in 40 students and 40 members of industry.


The networking luncheon was at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel so I did not need to register for the conference which meant I wouldn't have a name badge like everyone else so I brought my own. I chose to bring my *ACS* name badge from my most recent trip to ACS HQ. Every interaction at the social part of this event began like this, Hi, my name is Jennifer Maclachlan, I am the PR Chair of the Small Chemical Businesses Division of the ACS and I own a small chemical business on Cape Cod. I talked about our affiliation with Suffolk University from cooperative projects with students (chemistry and physic students) and how at the recent dedication ceremony of the Suffolk University Nanotechnology Laboratory (that rivals that of even MIT) my father was given the credit as the inspiration to open such a laboratory with his alumni gift several years ago of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). 







During the lunch part of the event I was spotted by fellow ACS local section member (Northeastern ACS) Joel Abrahamson, PhD Candidate MIT-seeing the ACS badge and my name he remembered getting my emails about the Cape Cod Science Cafe series last year.




The event organizer, Deanna Ratnikova (a chemist by training-her husband, a chemist teases her that she "has gone to the dark side with a career in Physics"), put together a really eclectic speaker panel: 
  • Rachael Floyd, Janis Research-spoke primarily about her physics background and how she uses it in a sales function
  • Michelle Schulberg, NEXX Systems-spoke about her early work experience with government labs ending up in private industry (note: she is an ACS member-which she told me when she saw my badge)
  • Julia Tartaglia, Scientista Foundation-a recent biology major graduate from Harvard started this business which is applying for non-profit status to encourage college and graduate school women to pursue STEM careers
I was hoping to meet Phil Wyatt, the FIAP Chair and one of our panelists for SCHB programming in San Diego: Best Practices for Chemical Entrepreneurs-I saw him come into the room briefly while the panelists were speaking but it was impossible to socialize during the panel. Guess I'll have to wait until the San Diego meeting.

I have Linked-In with several folks that I met at this event. I even managed to jump in on the meeting twitterfeed (#APSmarch)  and tweet while I was at the event-picking up and receiving a few new Twitter followers. 

Definitely worth the trip over the bridge from Cape Cod to Boston to network with the chemists and physicists at the American Physical Society March meeting.


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