Technical sessions start on Sunday of any national ACS meeting but governance goes along but not as many meetings are held. Some governance meetings can't be held until all the other meetings have been held because they deal with what happened in those meetings. I am speaking of the Committee on Committees and the Council Policy Committee. Yes the ACS has a Committee on Committees (ConC). Our own Les McQuire is currently the chair of this committee. This is an elected committee that sends it's members out to all the committees to check up on the activity of those committees and the functioning of the leadership and members. They take note of the participation of the members especially of the associate members who may be considered for full membership. I went to this committee's open meeting to discuss the policy about councilor's ability to attend any open executive session of a committee as an observer. This was because the information written in the ACS program was not clear as to the definition of participation in the meeting, which I term being able to actively contribute to the meeting and just observation which I term just being in the room and seeing what goes on in the committee. When I became a councilor years ago, we were told that councilors are welcome to observe the executive sessions of a committee, so long as it was not a closed meeting, and that would be a method of becoming a member of the committee. ConC is going to clarify this information for chairs and I guess councilors.
My day started with the WCC Women in Industry Breakfast which is not only for women in industry. We are encouraging all women, and students to attend this breakfast and there was talk of changing the name of this event. At this breakfast we engaged in a networking session, in which professionals sat on one side of a long table and students on the other side. Each was given about two minutes to give their elevator speech. This exercise is benefical especially to the students as they get to know some professionals and find out about how they got their jobs. On the other hand the professionals get to coach the students in how to find a job or whatever else is going on with them at the time. In my career I got two of my jobs by networking so this is a very important skill to learn.
After breakfast I took a break until the Committee on Minority Affairs Luncheon. Actually I caught up on my blogging at that time. The Keynote speaker at this luncheon was Dr. Lakeeshia J. Taite a professor of chemical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. She gave her talk about her educational background and experience in being a minority in most of her educational experience. Then she talked about her goals and research. She felt that since she was a loner most of her life that she would not be a good medical doctor, but she did want to make a difference so she went into the field of biomedical engineering. She is working on materials for cardiovacular diseases and sickel cell anemia etc, she calls it bench to bedside research! This is one of the reasons for encouraging minorities into becoming a scientist as they will work on projects that will benefit their community that maybe other researchers would not touch.
She gave some guidance to the ACS Scholars who were in the room and other students as to what she would have done differently if she were in college. I have paraphrased them:
-Prepare for international careers, by taking advantage of overseas educational opportunities
-Embrace undergraduate research opportunities
-Remember that college is for training and education much of which you will do yourself.
-Take advantage of co-op or internship opportunities
-Use your electives to expand your horizons (Note: I would suggest taking some cultural electives such as music and art and literature.)
-Strengthen their communication skills. (Note: this is very important that you do not neglect your written and verbal skills because they are needed in any job.)
I hope I have captured the essence of what she said. I will be interviewing for my book project.
That evening I went to the Leadership reception. The ACS has started a series of Leadership Courses and this reception was to launch the courses that had only been piolt courses before and congratualate the ACS members who had been trained to facilitate these courses. This reception was full of food an drinks which means I used it for supper. If you work it right you never have to pay for a dinner at an ACS meeting because there are always receptions that have food. I also noted at this reception a large number of African American chemists. This reception competed with a Diversity reception at another hotel in which you expect to see a large number of minority chemists, but they were at this reception, which I think is a good thing. Maybe the ACS striving for diversity in all things is working.
In the evening was the Sci-Mix poster session which I did not attend. This was the session invented by our own Val Kuck in which people can present posters in different divisions and there is free beer and popcorn. In the fall the Project SEED student present their work at Sci-Mix. It is a good way for undergraduates and BS and MS professional to present their work in a easy way.