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ACS CEPA and How It Can Benefit Members
by: Allen Clauss
As one of your recently elected councilors (2017-2019 term), I represent this Local Section at the national level. Since I have recently been appointed to CEPA, the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs, I thought an update on the work of that committee would be timely.
As a standing committee of the ACS Council, CEPA’s mission is to support ACS members in their professional lives, with the vision that members have successful and fulfilling professional lives. These are strategic goals of the committee and its subcommittees:
- Marketing, Research and Volunteers: Identify, support, deliver, evaluate, relevant programs
- Policy & Ethics: Improve, update, develop, curate, and disseminate relevant policies and codes of conduct
- Events and Employment Programming: Recommend, develop, and evaluate critical resources and services to support member careers
I have a personal interest in CEPA: I specifically requested to serve on this committee because over the course of my professional career in chemistry I have benefited from its services. I believe that these services are among the most valuable of all ACS services to our broader membership, particularly those in non-academic enterprises. These services include the annual salary survey and other employment-related surveys; Career Navigator online resources; career consultants, career fairs, career workshops; among others.
During my professional career in chemistry I have made several major transitions, from R&D at a large multinational company (Procter & Gamble) to teaching and research in the UW-Madison Chemistry Department, to leading the R&D at a small nanotechnology start-up that was a spin-off from discoveries at UW, to currently running my own consulting company. During these transitions I found that CEPA’s career development and management resources were particularly valuable. That’s why I strongly recommend getting familiar with and then taking advantage of the committee’s offerings. I look forward to keeping members up to date on CEPA’s activities. Local Section members with specific questions are welcome to contact me.
Increasing Collaboration and Communication Between Industry and Academia
by: Nick Rossi
At the recent ACS Leadership Institute, there seemed to be a distinct theme running through discussions between several midwest members. The theme centered on the issues of how to increase collaborations and communications between local industries and academia; in particular, how to better engage industry within their local sections. My hope before going to the conference was to find out how we might encourage students (undergrad, grad, and post-docs) to learn more about the varied industrial options that may be open to them once they leave University with a Chemistry-related degree. From my own experiences, and that of students that have undertaken internships with me at Mirus Bio LLC, I believe the more interactions and involvement a student has with industry during their undergraduate and graduate career, the less daunting and muddied their future will seem.
I have been extremely lucky to have several contacts at UW who have helped me find good student interns who have worked with me either part time during the school year or full-time during the summer months. There are many mutually beneficial initiatives we can take as a local section to foster strong relationships between academia and industry; only a handful of which are outlined below:
- Facilitate co-sponsored events (involving the ACS local section and local companies) such as science cafes.
- Invite local scientists from a variety of industrial and governmental organizations to speak and have panel discussions to help inform and motivate students who are thinking about careers outside of academia.
- Learn from technical colleges in terms of how they engage local industry and prepare students for entry-level positions
- Encourage industrial ACS members to become mentors to our local section students
- Use the local section website to help connect local industry with students
- At all the above events, industry would also have an opportunity to discuss and advertise internships and entry-level positions
The benefits to industry would include having more visibility and access to some of the best chemistry undergrad, graduate and post-doctoral scientists in our section. I will endeavor to contact and encourage local organizations to send representatives to our events.
Other local sections in the Great Lakes Region are also discussing how best to foster useful and lasting relationships with industry and government. It was proposed that a special symposium highlighting our efforts over the next year or so be held at the Great Lakes Regional Meeting in May, 2019 (co-hosts Chicago and Joliet). I look forward to working with the local sections in Wisconsin and across the U.S. on these topics and more.
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