The 2018 American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans
From March 18 to 21, 2018, I attended the American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans. Although I already attended last year´s National Meeting in San Francisco, I was still impressed by the size of the conference with 13,000 attendees, 7,000 presentations, and 250 exhibitors. Being a student at a small liberal arts college with only a handful of students majoring in chemistry, it was truly inspiring to be surrounded by so many people that share the same interest and passion. I particularly enjoyed getting to know the people behind a research project who are usually only visible through their names on the author list of a journal article. Furthermore, attending talks about research on nanomaterials gave me new input and ideas for future research in graduate school.
The conference allowed me to meet with my collaborators which was the perfect opportunity to discuss my thesis as well as their current research progress with them. Apart from the conference, I had a great time reconnecting with students, post-docs, and professors from other institutions I worked with last summer. In my free time, I was able to do some sightseeing in New Orleans and learn more about the Creole culture. I was particularly fascinated by the French Quarter and its rich history. Overall, attending
Attending the 255th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans gave me the opportunity to present my research to a broader chemistry audience. While I have already gained experience sharing my research with other people through several poster showcases, this represented my first time giving an oral presentation to a chemistry audience including well-known experts in the field of polymer chemistry. As I spent a sufficient amount of time preparing for my presentation, I was not overly nervous and everything went well. I really enjoyed answering challenging question from the audience. In particular, I was able to help a person who was referred to me by my collaborator with questions he had asked at his talk earlier that day.
I really appreciated that the professor I worked for last summer attended my talk. He provided valuable feedback on my presentation skills and gave me helpful tips for graduate school. In my opinion, attending a conference of this size is the perfect opportunity to learn what makes a good presentation. Observing several poster and oral presentations helped me to identify the characteristics of a good presenter and successful presentation. In particular, I was fascinated by Prof. Jeremiah Johnson´s Nobel Laureate Signature Graduate Education Award address. He was able to display his authentic enthusiasm for his research and chemistry through his presentation style. I am confident that this experience helped me improve my presentation skills as well as communicate my research more efficiently.
Rollins College crew at American Chemical Society National Meeting in NOLA
Attending and presenting at conferences provides not only the opportunity to show other in your field your research, but also the opportunity to network and make important connections. During the poster session, I had random graduate students approach me, with various backgrounds, which gave me the opportunity to practice how I would present to someone with a chemical engineering background, versus someone with an organometallic background like me. The graduate student with the organometallic background, Ryan, performed similar research as me with N-heterocyclic carbene ligands in undergrad. I was able to have a truly in-depth discussion with him and he offered valuable advice that I have been putting to use! I also ran into numerous students I met during my graduate school visits (for instance, I met the male student in the photo at UIUC). I attempted to attend the presentations of or just meet up with the various graduate students from the labs I was interested in at the graduate schools I visited, but unfortunately most of those labs were not presenting until after I left the conference. I was able to meet with a graduate student from UT Austin during his poster session which was very informative. I was also able to catch up with some of my lab mates from Georgia tech and fellow summer intern, Katie (in photo), whom I have not seen since the summer. I highly suggest taking advantage of all the networking opportunities at conferences! If applying to graduate school, this is an excellent opportunity to scope out specific lab groups to figure out where to apply.
Alyssia DeLucia presenting her poster at American Chemical Society National Meeting in NOLA
Over spring break, I presented a poster at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans. A few classmates, Phil and Julian, and two professors, Dr. Park and Dr. Patrone, also attended the conference. My poster was a culmination of the research I conducted over the summer at the Georgia Tech Research Experience for Undergraduates program and am currently conducting at Rollins for my senior thesis. Both my thesis and summer research focus on developing sustainable organometallic catalysts for important industrial reactions that currently use catalysts made from precious metals. The conference gave me the opportunity to meet leading scientists in my field and engage in discussion over my research. Spring break was a very hectic week for me, full of traveling from visiting graduate schools, so unfortunately, by the end of the break got laryngitis. Luckily, my voice lasted through the poster session! I was still able to try some world famous New Orleans cuisine, meet up with people, and explore the conference. I had my first (and probably the best I will ever have) bread pudding from Mother’s and then ate a lot of shrimp gumbo to soothe my throat. I had the best nurses (Dr. Patrone and Dr. Park) caring for me. I attended some talks regarding solid state chemistry to see if it would be a field I am interested in. I am thoroughly looking forward to presenting and attending another conference, but this time with my voice!
Julie Sparks and other members of the Gender History Panel at the 2018 Regional Phi Alpha Theta conference
Phi Alpha Theta is a nationwide historical society for undergraduate and graduate History students. The society is used to facilitate connections within the history field and encourage historical research. As a member of Phi Alpha Theta and history major at Rollins College, I was able to apply to present historical research at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference. This conference included universities from across Florida and convened at Palm Beach Atlantic University. At the conference, history researchers are placed in panels of discussions throughout the day depending on their specific research. I was able to sit on the Gender History Panel with the lovely ladies in the image below. This allowed for us to speak about similar themes and issues across American, French, and Chinese perceptions of women throughout the centuries. Specifically, I presented the shifting of gender stereotypes in the American Civil War South and how this was weaponized by Union forces. The Union targeted Southern masculinity as a total war tactic which led to a return of domestication in the postwar period. Other research followed medieval France and Wu Zetian from the Tang dynasty. Following presentations, we engaged in dynamic discussions on parallels and the context of each periods aided by our moderator. This experience allowed me to engage with others who conducted historical research and developed unique perspectives on historical events. I developed further as an individual and liberal arts student by being immersed in the Phi Alpha Theta conference and fellow researchers.
Jordyn Marlin, keynote speaker at the 2018 Regional Phi Alpha Theta conference
During the Regional Phi Alpha Theta 2018 conference, I was able to see historical PhD first hand, via our keynote Jordyn Marlin. This presentation was from an archaeological and city planning focus to address the Dalriadic Scots possible migration patterns into Argyll. Her research spanned into direct artifacts and early construction pattern analysis. While the undergraduate research is mostly literary based, Jordyn gave a new possibility and perspective to the approach of more rigorous research. Pictured above, she explained the historical bias of each side of the current migration debate due to deep cultural ties between the Scottish and Irish people. I also heard specific limitations to her bias and the validity of physical artifacts due to geographical proximity. This furthers my understanding of historical investigation and consideration of studies at the graduate level. Being around peers of undergraduate students gave me the experience of presenting and discussing my own research at a conference; however, the ability to sit in on graduate research gave me additional perspectives on how it is conducted and various methods. I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity, during my History of American Sexuality class, to develop topics and themes into well supported arguments. I still have two large research focused history courses to finish the major and I look forward to using that opportunity to incorporate lessons that I learned from my peers and graduate level students.
2018 Regional Phi Alpha Theta Conference
Rollins College Crew traveling to the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Conference
I had never been to any kind of professional conference before going to the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Conference this year, and it was a really cool experience to be able to see all of the research being done currently, especially the things being done by other undergraduates. I spent most of my time at the conference going to poster sessions where lots students and professors were presenting their studies. At the poster session I presented at I was unfortunately limited to seeing the posters in my immediate area although it was really great to be able to discuss what I had learned in my research and in turn find out what my peers had found in theirs. I also found that the discussions I had about my study were extremely useful in helping me think more deeply about the meaning behind my results and I received some great feedback about the strengths and weakness of my research and had some new questions to ponder at the end. When looking at other peoples research I was amazed at how much of it had to do with the 2016 presidential election but beyond that I loved hearing how passionate people got when explaining their research and how well they knew the subject they were studying. There is a huge difference between reading a journal article and having the person who conducted the study explain it to you in person. While I am very happy that I am going to be able to put this on my resume this experience really showed me what it was like to be a serious academic researcher and made me even more passionate not only about my own study but psychology research in general.
John Williams and Dr. Queen at the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference
My first morning, Thursday, March 8th, 2018, was my first time at the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference and I was both nervous and excited to present my research in front of my peers and professionals in the field at the undergraduate poster session. My first chance to share my research actually came when I struck up a conversation with the person presenting on the board next to mine. He had failed to follow the size limitations the conference had set and his poster was too big for his board. Despite this he was excited to present and we exchanged the details of our projects. I found that it was much easier to explain my research than I thought it would be and I was very excited not only to be able to share my research but also to learn about the studies that other students were doing. As people started to file into the room they began to look at each poster and sometimes stop and ask questions. The first few times I explained my research to people I stuttered a little and made a few mistakes in my prepared speech but the more people I talked to the more confident I became and I was able to have some very interesting conversations with people who had done research in similar areas. One woman in particular specialized in locus of control research, which was a trait I was looking at and she said found my results interesting. She suggested that I should take a look at how cultural differences affected it. Meeting these people who were so knowledgeable and getting feedback from them was both humbling and extremely valuable in terms of getting a new perspective on my own research.