September 20, 2012
Communications and Marketing
15,000 attendees. 8,500 papers. 790 seminars. Six Saint Anselm College students. Like measurements for an experiment, these numbers produced the perfect results for the group of chemistry majors who traveled to the 244th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia August 18-22.
Led by assistant professors of chemistry Lisa Bonner and Nicole Eyet, the students--Jen Pace '13, Dan Martin '12, Tim Cooke '14, Katherine Lunny '14, Julie Cristello '12, and Ethan Sylvain '14--presented the results of individual research projects they conducted over the last several months. They also gave a presentation, entitled "Benzene and Benedictines", on the ACS-accredited Saint Anselm Chemistry Club.
The experience of attending a major conference was something Dr. Bonner wanted to pass on to her students. "I went to Orlando for a conference as a student and it's one of the things I remember most," she says. "I wanted to pay that forward."
She says that they had been "planning for the conference for a couple years, and we had the engaged students that allowed us to go."
The students were some of the few undergraduates at the conference, and the opportunity to meet graduate school representatives and current students was one of the biggest takeaways from the trip.
"It was just really cool to be at a conference out of my comfort zone, and to talk to people that don't know about my research at all and don't know who I am, and that they were so impressed with everything that I've done," says Jen Pace, who presented a poster on her research on dopamine transport inhibitors. Pace plans on attending graduate school next fall and was excited to be able to exchange contact information with several school representatives.
Tim Cooke, who helped present the Saint Anselm Chemistry Club poster, experienced the same value of participating in a larger-than-life venue. "The majority of people there were Ph.D.'s who were out practicing chemistry or working for high-level research companies. To be around that level of achievement was a little unsettling but exciting all the same," he says.
The conference is just the starting point for the students. "It showed us the things we could end up doing in our future," says Tim. "One way to describe it would be like the Dr. Seuss book ‘Oh, the Places You'll Go!'. The biggest insight was just that the sky's the limit and it's up to our generation to push beyond even the wildest dreams of technology today to see what we can do for tomorrow."
The group even had some spare moments to explore Philadelphia and conduct perhaps the most important test of all: which restaurant has the best Philly cheesesteak. Says Jen, "We got one from Geno's Steaks and one from Pat's King of Steaks and compared them. I only had Pat's, but it was good."
Image (clockwise): Katherine Lunny '14, Dan Martin '12, Tim Cooke '14, Julie Cristello '12, and Jen Pace '13
Story by Samantha Glavin '14