Attending the ACS National Meeting was an incredible opportunity that I am glad I got to experience with the rest of the chemistry department before graduating this semester. I have been doing organic chemistry research in Dr. Boyce’s lab for two years with a focus on developing new reactions using molecules called cyclopropenones. While it may have been nerve wracking to think about presenting a poster of your own research at a conference with over 10,000 chemistry professionals in attendance, the actual presentation was anything but that. Professors and students would come to your poster to hear about your research and on occasion give you suggestions about different catalysts or conditions to try.
The best part was attending the talks given by different chemists in academia and in industry throughout the entirety of the conference. It is incredibly inspiring to attend talks of professors whose papers you may have read during your classes and research. We got to hear from Dr. Francis H. Arnold who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year and from Dr. K. Barry Sharpless who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001. Dr. Sharpless was kind enough to take a moment from signing autographs to take an amazing group photo with some of us in the chemistry department that I will treasure forever. I also got to meet some of my inspirations in chemistry like Dr. Phil Baran, Dr. Vy Dong, and Dr. David MacMillan. I gave my seminar presentation on some of the incredible photochemistry Dr. MacMillan’s lab works on so it was a little unreal to get to hear directly from him about his research and go up to chat with him after his talk! One thing that surprised me the most about the entire experience was that each chemist was extremely approachable. They were all willing to chat with the undergraduates after their talks and continue to inspire us. I am looking forward to the next National Meeting where I can hear from and meet some of the brilliant chemists I missed during this conference!
By- Brittany Klootwyk