Grant Recipients

May 2019: Anna Ponomarenko, EMBO Protein Quality Control: From Mechanisms to Disease

The support from the WIC Professional Development Grant helped me to attend the 2019 EMBO Protein Quality Control: From Mechanisms to Disease workshop in Mallorca, Spain.

Proteostasis – the focus of the workshop – is central to my graduate research, and the workshop gathered professionals in the field from all over the world. I was very excited and honored to present my work in a short talk in front of the renowned international audience. The scope of the meeting keeps rapidly expanding, spanning from fundamentals to therapeutic implications. This year more than 100 scientists visited the workshop and exchanged knowledge from the cutting edge research in the proteostasis field. All oral presentations and posters were on the highest level with presenters ranging from graduate students to well-known professors. I greatly
enjoyed a lot of talks on topics that are not immediately related to my own work, but cover the current state of the field and outline the possible future directions.
This greatly organized meeting included a lot of opportunities for informal communication and networking. I approached a lot of bright scientists from different countries and exchanged impressions on the research presented at the workshop and got valuable feedback on my own work. Participation in this workshop drastically expanded my current perception of the field and helped me further develop my communication skills.

I would like to thank the WIC Professional Development committee for their generous support that allowed me to participate in this exciting workshop.


February 2019: Nicole Moody, Analyzing Risk: Principles, Concepts, and Applications

I’m so thankful that I was able to attend the Analyzing Risk: Principles, Concepts, and Applications program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School for Public Health thanks to support from the WIC Professional Development Grant. The program introduced me to a wide variety of analysis techniques that will help me perform an accurate and comprehensive risk assessment for lead-based emerging thin film photovoltaic technologies, which will make up a significant portion of my thesis. It also had tremendous networking opportunities. I was able to connect with scientists employed in the private sector, public sector, and academia, and learn about many non-traditional career paths for PhD graduates. The program pushed me outside my comfort zone: making me learn about new fields, helping me to expand my professional network, and pushing me to think critically about the implications of my research. I’m so grateful that WIC gave me this opportunity!


September 2018: Jennifer Hu, 27th tRNA Conference: tRNA at the Crossroad, Strasbourg,
Thanks to the generous support of WIC at MIT, I was able to attend the 27th tRNA
conference in Strasbourg, France in September 2018. Shortly after I registered for the
conference, I found out that my abstract was selected for an oral presentation. This gave me
a valuable opportunity to promote my work within the tRNA community as the conference
attracts tRNA researchers from all over the world and only happens once every two years.

Although the conference had just under 300 participants, listening to the 60+ talks and
browsing the 150+ posters over the course of four days helped me appreciate the diverse
problems that people are studying in the field of tRNA biology. The posters and talks
spanned topics as diverse as tRNA biogenesis to translation to tRNA fragments. My project
involves developing a new tRNA sequencing method so hearing what others are working on
gave me ideas and insights into applications of my method that I had not thought of. After
my talk where I presented my method, I received lots of interest and questions from people
who wanted to try using it for their particular biological question. Everyone I spoke with was
congenial and engaging. I even met people who were working on competing methods yet
were willing to share their experiences with a particularly problematic step.
Presenting in front of a crowd of ~300 people was a new experience for me and I was quite
busy preparing and practicing my slides in the weeks leading up to the conference, not to
mention very nervous on the day of my talk. I was really happy that all the preparation paid
off when I was selected for one of the three best oral presentation awards during the
awards ceremony on the last night.

In addition to providing a platform for me to communicate my work, the conference was an
amazing place to connect with people I had previously only known through papers. Coffee
breaks provided the perfect opportunity to ask questions and meet speakers in between
talks. Lunches and dinners were also held at the conference venue and offered further
chances for discussion and mingling. On one of the days, there was an excursion to a historic
castle followed by a traditional dinner in the Alsatian countryside which was a nice way to
explore this region of France and have fun with the colleagues I had just met.
In summary, the conference provided a wonderful opportunity to learn about the breadth
of research in my field, to develop my communication skills, and to expand my professional
network. I’m extremely grateful to WIC for sponsoring my attendance at this event.

June 2018: Corey Kaminsky, The 3 rd International Conference on Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer.

I am thankful for the opportunity to attend the 3 rd International Conference on Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer (PCET2018) that the WIC Professional development grant afforded me. The conference provided a forum for professors, post-doctoral researchers, graduate students and industry
representatives from diverse scientific backgrounds to present their work in the context of the unifying theme of proton coupled electron transfers. This simple reaction scheme underlies important transformations across fields including biochemistry, theory, organic synthesis, coordination chemistry
and electrocatalysis, the field of my graduate research. This conference brought experts across all these fields together. Attending was an amazing experience for me to explore how the theory I have seen applied to my own research can be applied to other processes.

PCET2018 was my first conference and was a great experience for my development as a
graduate student. At the conference I presented a poster entitled “Graphitic Carbon Conjugated Porphyrin Active Sites for Oxygen Reduction” and received a lot of feedback. Through discussions with other scientists during the poster presentation and during informal conversations at the conference I received valuable feedback on my project that I will incorporate as my project continues. Further, through these informal connections, I was able to start building a professional network. Because
PCET2018 was a small but intense conference, I was afforded many chances to talk with other attendees. I am very thankful for this opportunity that WIC has provided for me.


June 2018: Lea Nienhaus,7th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion

I would like to thank MIT WIC for their support, which in part helped me attend the 7th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC7), held in Waikoloa Village, HI in June 2018. The WCPEC is an international conference which combines three of the largest photovoltaic engineering conferences worldwide, and as such was a great opportunity to find researchers in related fields and start a discussion about possible collaborations. As this was the last conference I would be attending as an MIT postdoc prior to beginning my independent career, networking was one of the main objectives of attending the conference. I was able to reconnect with professors and postdocs and make new connections throughout the world in a very relaxed environment and got advice and insight on the path forward as a junior faculty member. The main highlight of the week in Waikoloa Village was going night snorkeling to see manta rays up close with other conference attendees.

On the research side, I was particularly interested in the advances in the area of perovskite solar cells, since these have shown an explosive growth and improvement in their performance, as well as fundamental advances in solar energy conversion. I presented a talk titled “Solid-state infrared-to-visible upconversion for sub-bandgap sensitization of photovoltaics” which was well received and followed with many interesting questions. My personal highlight of the conference was judging the perovskite poster session on day 1, which gave me an opportunity to speak to several postdocs and students in depth+ about their work.

June 2018- Rose Hadley, Bioinorganic Workshop and Symposium in Molecular Biology at Pennsylvania State University

The WIC professional development grant helped me attend the Bioinorganic Workshop
and Symposium in Molecular Biology at Pennsylvania State University in June 2018. The
Bioinorganic Workshop provides a series of lectures in specific techniques relevant to
bioinorganic chemistry followed by a number of hands-on workshops where you learn about setting up various experiments and analyzing the resulting data. The conference is relatively small and allows for valuable scientific discussions with others in the bioinorganic community. The workshop provided me with a useful introduction to many techniques in my field such that I’m now more aware of the research methods available and how they can be utilized to solve problems. For instance, I learned about EPR and freeze quench methods that are applicable to my research project. The workshop was an excellent experience and I learned a lot. The symposium portion of the conference consisted of several days of research talks organized around themes in bioinorganic chemistry. It was very interesting to learn about what other research groups are working on and to see how the different methods we learned about in the
workshop were being applied in different research areas.

Throughout the workshop and symposium, there were many opportunities to network
with my graduate student peers as well as professionals both during the conference and also at informal social gatherings. Furthermore, there were three poster sessions where I presented my work and received valuable comments and feedback in addition to having interesting discussions. The poster sessions also allowed me to talk with my peers about their work and learn about many different types of research going on in the community that I wasn’t previously aware of. Overall, attending both the workshop and the symposium were rewarding experiences that helped me to broaden my understanding of the bioinorganic field and make valuable connections. In addition, this experience has helped me to evaluate what my next step will be after obtaining my PhD. I am very grateful for the generous support from WIC for attending this conference!


January 2018: R. Soyoung Kim, Electrochemistry Gordon Research Conference – Advances in Fundamental Electrochemistry Applied to Catalysis, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Energy

The WIC travel Grant helped me attend the Electrochemistry Gordon Research Seminar and Conference, which was held in Ventura, CA in January 2018. As the Gordon conference is a special small-scale venue for cutting-edge research and intensive personal interaction among participants, I greatly benefited both professionally and personally.

Research-wise, I was exposed to the broad and comprehensive field of electrochemistry that I rarely experience at home, where electrochemistry is mostly presented in the context of electrocatalysis. For example, I was impressed by the state-of-the-art scanning electrochemical microscopy, with which heterogeneous surfaces could be scanned in the nanometer scale in the actual electrochemical reaction environment or soft matter like living cells could be probed with minimal perturbation. For the burgeoning field of electrochemical organic synthesis, I am thankful for the passionate talks by leaders in the field, because they helped me understand the key idea and the insight behind their success. From talks about energy-related applications such as Li-ion battery and redox flow battery, I gained new appreciation of the importance of the solution environment and consideration of the system as a whole. It was also valuable to learn how people creatively apply physical principles to solve problems, e.g. mobilizing ionic currents with magnetic field, measuring kinetics with bubbles, and rupturing cells with high electric fields in nanopores.

While the lecture program was intense, there was also a plenty of time for informal interaction with other participants that I truly enjoyed. The students, postdocs, and professors all casually mingled with each other and it was very encouraging to listen to their personal stories, and sometimes just plain fun to chat about scientific and non-scientific topics. The conference also offered formal opportunities such as a career panel and mentorship hour, which were quite helpful. I feel that getting to know the people makes me more passionate about the field. Many people also willingly stopped by my poster about electrochemical methane functionalization and provided positive feedback.

I am therefore very grateful for the generous support by WIC, and would like to continue to grow as an effective member of the scientific community.


August 2017: Bing Yan, 2017 Annual Meeting of International Society of Electrochemistry, Providence RI

I would like to take this opportunity to thank MIT WIC for their generous financial support, which made it possible for me to participate in the 68th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry in Providence, RI. Under the theme of “Electrochemistry without borders”, the 2017 ISE meeting covered all of the frontier fields of electrochemistry, spanning from the fundamental electron transfer to electrocatalysis in renewable energy, from the bio-sensing to pollution treatment. I appreciated the chance to give a short oral presentation on some of my previously published research to the experts around the world. I received insightful comments and feedbacks. I was also able to attend a few talks outside of my research, such as the session featuring electrochemical technology for solving 21th century challenges, which inspired me of my future research directions.


Additionally, I am grateful for the professional networking opportunities that ISE Annual Meeting presented. I talked with many students and professors, especially meeting with my computation collaborator from Carnegie Mellon University, and several professors from China. The experiences at 68th ISE Annual Meeting are indispensable for me as a fourth-year graduate student starting to think about and prepare for the next steps in my career. I want to thank WIC again for this valuable opportunity.

August 2017: Mette Ishoey, Benzon Symposium 63 – New Paradigms of Protein Engineering – Applications in Modern Medicine

The Women in Chemistry Professional Development Grant I received enabled me to attend the 63rd Benzon Symposium ‘New Paradigms of Protein Engineering – Applications in Modern Medicine,’ in August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark. The Benzon Symposia are international conferences on front line research in medical, pharmaceutical and related sciences funded by the Danish Alfred Benzon Foundation. Topics of this year’s symposium covered a range of sessions on post-translational protein modifications, through expansion of the genetic code to peptide and
protein therapeutics. The symposium was attended by internationally renowned faculty, as well as postdocs and graduate students from all over the world, and I got to give a presentation on my research in front of the 100+ audience.
I presented my work on evaluating the efficiency of different E3 ligase-recruiting ligands for their ability to promote degradation of a target protein, and I got very valuable feedback from the audience helping me shape the future directions of my project. The symposium was a unique opportunity to get updated on current active areas of research within protein and peptide-based therapeutics, and the ample time for scientific discussions was very enlightening. The symposium was very well-organized, and provided the most favorable setting for interacting with a variety of researchers working in my field of interest – both at poster sessions, during
breaks and at the more informal welcome reception and symposium banquet. Most importantly, I got the opportunity to establish important connections within the scientific community in Denmark, which will be valuable for pursuing an independent research career there.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the WIC Professional Development committee for enabling me to attend the 63rd Benzon Symposium – an experience I will benefit from in the years to come, both professionally and personally.

July 2017: Amanda Stubbs, Organometallic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference – Organometallics in Catalysis, Materials Chemistry, Energy and More

I would like to express my gratitude for the WIC Professional Development Grant that helped me attend the Organometallic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference hosted at Salve Regina University in July 2017. At this conference I presented a poster on my work titled “Selective Catalytic Olefin Epoxidation with MnII-Exchanged MOF-5.” In the two poster sessions I presented at I received a lot of helpful feedback; as a metal organic framework (MOF) chemist working on catalysis problems it was very helpful for me to gain the perspective of a group of scientists who are trained solving problems with molecular complexes (how I like to approach catalysis and mechanistic studies in my materials) rather than in the solid state as is typical in the MOF field. It was informative to attend seminars in the various branches of organometallic chemistry and I learned a lot about chemistry that I was previously unfamiliar with. As my first formal conference presentation since starting graduate school, the intimate setting that is characteristic of Gordon Conferences provided me with an environment that was very welcoming and supportive in helping me further my chemistry. Additionally, this GRC was an excellent networking opportunity for me as I am entering my fourth year of my

Additionally, this GRC was an excellent networking opportunity for me as I am entering my fourth year of my PhD studies. Throughout the week I made connections with other graduate students, post docs, faculty, and industry professionals. It was very helpful for me to speak with chemists who have followed different career paths and gain insight into the pros and cons of a given position. Not only will these conversations be helpful when deciding which career path is right for me, but I also made connections that may be valuable as I join the professional world after obtaining my PhD.


July 2017: Lisa Cunden, Cell Biology of Metals Gordon Research Conference, West Dover, VT (awarded CEHS funds)

The WIC travel grant I received made it possible for me to attend the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on the Cell Biology of Metals, in Vermont. The conference was attended by faculty, as well as graduate students and postdocs with interest in the field of metals in biology. The GRS was my first major conference as a graduate student, and it was an incredibly intellectually rewarding experience. I got to present a poster on my research, and give a talk in front of an audience of 40+ people.

My research focuses on the human host-defense protein, S100A7 (psoriasin) which is
expressed by skin cells and has antimicrobial properties. I am interested in investigating its Zinc-binding and redox properties; the protein contains two Zinc binding sites, as well as two redox active cysteines, which we postulate modulate the role of the protein at physiological conditions. From the conference, I got valuable feedback on my results, which helped me think
more critically about my research. I came out of this conference also having learned a lot about what others in my field of research are doing, what are the current “hot topics”, and most importantly it was a good introduction to other labs since I am considering doing a postdoc in this field. The conference was very laid back, with a lot of interesting and thought-provoking questions asked, a good atmosphere, and good mentors and presenters.

I would like to thank WIC for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to using the skills and connections gained during this conference to help me become a better scientist.

July 2017: Katherine Emily Shulenberger, Nanoscience with Nanocrystals (NaNaX), Braga, Portugal

I am incredibly grateful to the Women in Chemistry (WIC) professional development committee for aiding in enabling my attendance at the NaNaX8 conference in July, 2017. Nanoscience with Nanocrystals (NaNaX) is a biennial conference which focuses on light emitting and catalytic colloidal semiconductor and metallic nanoparticles. Topics ranged from synthesis of novel materials through theoretical research and modelling. My work very closely aligns with the topics presented in this conference, and many of the invited speakers laid the foundational work upon which my project builds.

I was able to attend many talks which helped me get a broader picture of what the field of colloidal nanoscience is pursuing and, in particular, which topics are active areas. Of particular interest to me were studies of various heterostructures of CdSe nanoplatelets, spectroscopic studies of perovskite nanomaterials, and investigation and modeling of controlling factors behind Auger recombination in nanomaterials.

I presented a poster on my current work investigating both biexciton and triexciton dynamics in CdSe/CdS core/shell spherical nanoparticles. This project is in the final stages before publication, and being able to present the work to many others in the field allowed me to confirm my methods and analysis hold up to careful scrutiny. Additionally, I was able to share an exciting new perspective on a decades old question as to the origin of triexciton emission.

Conversations with other members of the field during the two poster sessions as well as during breaks between presentation sessions allowed me to make extensive connections in the broader nanoscience field. This is of added importance to me since I am starting to consider my path after graduation, and many of the research groups represented at the conference are potential postdoctoral destinations for me. I was also able to make connections for future collaborations with other research groups, providing opportunities for my work to expand beyond the capabilities available in my research group alone.

Again I want to express my deepest thanks to WIC for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to utilizing the knowledge and connections gained throughout the conference to further both my work at MIT as well as my career beyond MIT.

June 2017: Kathleen White, 13th International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems (F-π 13), Hong Kong

The WIC Professional Development Grant made it possible for me to attend the 13th International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems (F-π 13) in Hong Kong from June 5-9th, 2017. The conference was attended by researchers from all over the world who work with polymers, organic materials, and other π-conjugated systems. I presented a poster on my work toward the synthesis of 2D-conjugated polymers and received invaluable feedback and suggestions for future research directions from conference attendees. Having previously attended only large, general chemistry conferences (ACS annual meetings), attending a specialized international conference was a highly useful learning experience that enabled me to interact with a variety of researchers working directly in my area of interest. As an added perk, the conference was held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), which is beautifully situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. HKUST also arranged an evening boat cruise of the Hong Kong harbor for conference attendees, a great way to experience the lights of the island city skyline at night. Overall, I had an awesome experience at the conference, and I greatly appreciate WIC’s generosity in helping to fund my attendance!

August 2016: Zhou Lin, 2016 Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry, Seattle WA.

It was a great honor to be supported by the Women in Chemistry (WIC) travel grant to attend the 2016 Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry (TACC) that was held in Seattle, Washington. The quadrennial TACC conference highlights interdisciplinary topics in which cutting-edge computational chemistry theory is developed and applied. The speakers are world-famous scientists invited from all relevant fields of science and technology. Attending the speeches broadened my knowledge across different fields of computational chemistry so that I was able to jump out from my narrow field of quantum chemistry. In addition, I volunteered, along with two graduate students, to compose a “viewpoints” paper that will be published in a later issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

As a postdoctoral research associate studying electronic structure theory for organic semiconductors in MIT, I presented a poster about my research on the singlet fission mechanism in the polyacenes aggregates using density functional theory. I discussed two aspects of this project, the development of new density functionals that are appropriate for the polyacenes materials, and the applications of these functionals in the evaluation of their energy levels that are involved in the fission mechanism. I was impressed by the attention to my research from peer scientists. The discussions about my project are fruitful in terms of the theory behind density functional theory and singlet fission.

Besides the communications in science, I was able to make friends with other computational chemists, senior and junior, from all over the world. We shared our experience in academic and personal life, learned about the cultural difference from each other, and explored the downtown of Seattle together. This broad network is beyond the faculty position search and I believe I will benefit from it for the rest of my life.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank WIC again for this support, which has made my precious experience possible!

April 2016: Madeline Wong, Protein Homeostasis in Health & Disease, Cold Spring Harbor NY (awarded CEHS funds)

I would like to thank the WIC Travel Grant Program and the CEHS for allowing me to attend the recent Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on Protein Homeostasis in Health and Disease. The conference featured a broad range of talks, many of which helped me to learn more about the field and consider my project from different angles (for instance, I am actively exploring alternate methods for analyzing my data based on an approach presented at the meeting). I was also able to obtain constructive feedback at the poster session from both graduate students and faculty members. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the conference, though, was the daily faculty lunches. It was particularly inspiring to see conference organizers, keynote speakers, and senior faculty members invite graduate students and postdocs to discuss anything from research-related questions to advice about deciding when to publish or which projects to pursue. Having the opportunity not only to hear female faculty members present their research in the formal setting of the meeting, but also share informally about their career paths at these lunches, has renewed my interest in pursuing an academic career (as well as identified several labs to consider applying to for postdoctoral positions in a few years). I am very glad to have attended this meeting and look forward to seeing its impact on the rest of my time in graduate school. Thank you again!

April 2016: Qing Zhe Ni, Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference, Pittsburg PA

I would like to thank Women In Chemistry (WIC) travel committee for their financial support towards my attending the 57th Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference (ENC) in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The conference focused on researches being done using different methods of NMR: solution NMR, solid state NMR and Dynamic Nuclear Polarization in conjunction with NMR. Coming from a DNP/NMR group at MIT, it was exciting to see how the field has blossomed and to hear all the latest research that is being done from all around the world. Likewise, it was a wonderful opportunity to present my works on: Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Enhanced Solid-State NMR Investigations of Pharmaceutical Formulations. The poster sessions were extremely valuable; I was able to gain knowledge on different subject by conversing with others about their research in details as well as receiving suggestions and feedbacks about my own research.

At ENC, I was also awarded with the JinShan Research Excellence Award of OCMRS. I am both humbled and honored to receive this award. From the gathering, I met many other members of the OCMR community and build new friendships.

The conference also provided me with ample opportunities to meet different people, including senior scientists whom gave me some pointers in research and also in life. I met scientists whom I only knew their names on publications before this. It was a comfortable environment to seek out potential post doctorial positions. Overall, the conference was a wonderful experience. I thank the WIC travel grant for the support.

March 2016: Markrete Krikorian, ACS National Meeting, San Diego CA (awarded CEHS funds)

I had a very fulfilling experience at the conference, not only did I receive useful questions at the Q&A session of my talk, I also was able to speak with multiple ACS volunteers and people at the various career booths. I did two resume reviews and two mock interviews and greatly improved my resume and submitted it to two of the companies before I left the meeting. My sincerest thanks for CEHS for funding my travel to this conference. It was important for me to present my work on behalf of my lab and in order to show that we are moving towards understanding the environmental sensing mechanism of our lab’s compounds for better and better devices.

September 2015: Sandra King, Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, Hong Kong

I was one of the 45 finalists for the Reaxys PhD Prize, and one of 42 that attended the symposium in Hong Kong Sept. 7-8, 2015. On the first night of the conference I presented a poster detailing my PhD work. The next day included research presentations from other finalists, presentations from the Reaxys advisory board, introduction to the Reaxys PhD Prize Club, and keynote speakers. The conference concluded with an awards dinner where the 3 prize winners were announced.

The main focus of the conference was networking with the other finalists, the Reaxys Advisory Board, and the Reaxys and Elsevier Team Members. There were ample formal and informal networking opportunities (ie coffee breaks, meals, afternoon breaks). As Americans were ~20% of the applicant pool, one of the highlights for me was meeting other finalists from Europe and Asia. Additionally, I made new connections with the members of the Advisory Board and the Reaxys Team. I intend to become part of the “Reaxys Guidance Team,” which is comprised of former Reaxys PhD Prize finalists and helps steer the future of this and other Reaxys events for graduate students and postdocs.

August 2015: Sophie Liu, ACS National Meeting, Boston MA (awarded CEHS funds)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank MIT WIC and CEHS for their generous financial support, which allowed me to participate in the 250th national meeting of the American Chemical Society on our home turf in Boston, MA. An ACS national meeting has the clout to attract leading researchers in not just one but in all chemical disciplines from all around the world, which was an exciting opportunity for someone like myself with highly interdisciplinary research interests. I appreciated the chance to practice my presentation skills to a diverse audience by giving a short oral presentation on some of my previously published research. After my presentation, I was able to attend several other talks in inorganic, organic, polymer, and materials chemistry and to hear first-hand about some of the state-of-the-art developments in these fields. I found attending poster sessions to be particularly valuable; I had the good fortune to meet chemists whose work had directly influenced my own and was able to discuss with them our mutual future directions.

Above all, I am grateful for the professional networking opportunities that ACS Boston presented. I am currently actively seeking industrial job opportunities, so I am very grateful that as a registered meeting participant, I was given the opportunity to participate in the on-site career fair, where I had the chance to learn about job opportunities and made new contacts with industrial representatives. Additionally, because of the meeting’s proximity, many of my colleagues were also able to attend and to introduce me to their colleagues from former institutions. I expect that I will find my experiences at ACS Boston to be indispensable as I prepare to take the next steps in my career, and I want to thank WIC and CEHS again for this opportunity.

June 2015: Angela Phillips, Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Mechanisms of Evolution, Easton MA (awarded CEHS funds)

I was awarded the Women in Chemistry Travel Grant funded by CEHS to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Mechanisms of Evolution. I want to thank CEHS for their generosity in funding this award; I would not have been able to attend this meeting without their support. This meeting provided me with the unique opportunity of speaking at a Gordon Research Conference. As a second year graduate student, this was my first time giving a formal talk at a conference and it enabled me to make several connections and establish productive collaborations. My lab is new to the evolution and population genetics fields, so attending this meeting was extremely important for me to become acquainted with experts in the field and to make other groups aware of my work. In particular, I met several groups doing similar work and we are now in contact comparing our findings to extract useful information. This would not have been possible without attending the meeting, as most of the work presented was unpublished. Many of the discussions I had with conferees have informed the future directions of my project and I am greatly appreciative of the financial support!

May 2015: Haritha Reddy Chileveru, Gordon Research Seminar and Conference on Antimicrobial peptides, Italy (awarded CEHS funds)

I was supported by the Women In Chemistry (WIC) travel grant to attend the prestigious Gordon research seminar (GRS) and the Gordon research conference (GRC) on Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), held in Italy. The conference focused on understanding the mechanisms of action of various antimicrobial peptides and the roles of these peptides in immune system regulation. The conference was a great platform for presenting my study on the “Visualizing the Effect of the Antimicrobial Peptide Human Defensin 5 (HD5) on Escherichia coli”. I was given the opportunity to present a research talk during the GRS and a poster during GRC.

The conference highlighted cutting edge science on various topics including the role of AMPs in wound healing, fertility and during infection and inflammation. Another major aspect of the conference was focused on extending the knowledge from AMPs to the synthetic peptides and peptidomimetics; and further emphasized on the development translational aspects of these peptides. It was an enriching experience to communicate and share my science with the stalwarts of the antimicrobial peptide field, and get their feedback and suggestions. Through this meeting, I had the privilege to meet the scientists from various backgrounds such as microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, chemistry, medicine, animal and plant biology, who brought broad insights into the AMP field.

During this conference I was also able to meet many of my peers working in the AMP field. The conference was a wonderful experience for me where I built great friendships, where we could share both research as well as life experiences. I am extremely grateful for the WIC travel grant for providing the support to attend this meeting.

March 2015: Michelle Macleod, ACS National Meeting, Denver CO

I would first like to thank WIC for financially assisting my participation in ACS Denver.

This was my first conference and it was not what I expected. I had a great time attending the lectures and chatting with a few graduate students after their talks. That being said, I have a new appreciation for schedules. For instance some sections were more than twenty minutes, a whole lecture, behind which means I attended a variety of talks, some more intentional than others. In one session two speakers had withdrawn and two professors were so excited to discuss their research that they gave impromptu lectures. It was really great to see the passion and pride they had for their research.

I learned a lot about presentation styles by attending the lectures from professors and graduate students alike. My presentation was improved by being more aware of the presentation styles I enjoyed. Although I was nervous, it was really fun to speak about my research. Attendees asked thought provoking questions and one person even asked for my slides (although I did not share).

I do wish that there was more time was allotted for session discussions or more events were held for social networking through the end of the meeting rather than just on the first few days. Overall, participating in this conference, although it may seem corny, was motivating. It is always nice to have unbiased interest in my research from individuals who are knowledgeable enough to understand the effort and the potential. I’m glad I attended the conference and I had fun exploring downtown Denver.

October 2014: Kara Manke, ScienceWriters2014, Columbus OH

First, I want to thank WIC for supporting my trip to Columbus for the ScienceWriters2014! I had an amazing time.

I had three main goals in attending this conference: first, to learn more about the craft of science writing and various careers in science writing; second, to network with science writers from all over the world; and third, to see how we might integrate ComSciCon programming (a science communication conference for STEM graduate students, into ScienceWriters2015, which will be held next October at MIT. I believe I accomplished all three goals, and had a great time as well!

The ScienceWriters meeting is the largest gathering of science writers and science journalists in the country, and occurred in two parts. The first part, which was held on Friday October 17th and Saturday October 18th, featured workshops on various aspects of science writing and reporting. The second part, which was held on Sunday and Monday, features presentations by scientists on recent major developments in different scientific fields.

I attended four of the workshops on Saturday, including “Building a Roadmap for Your Freelance Career”, “Making Passion Projects Happen”, “Hot Button Science Writing: Diving into Controversy & Politics” and “Pitch Slam: Get Feedback from Editors in Real Time.” They included many important tips on writing, but also some great ideas on leadership and managing any type of creative life. For example, the first two sessions explored how we can identify what really motivates us, and choose projects and careers that help us achieve those goals. These strategies will come in handy as I finish up my thesis, search for jobs, and ultimately navigate my career.

One of the highlights of the conference was interacting with so many amazing science writers! I got the chance to meet established journalists whose work I admire, as well as other early career science writers who I could identify with. I also reconnected with two of my editors and mentors from my summer at NPR, who were nice enough to introduce me to their friends at the Wall Street Journal and Science Magazine! Finally, I had the chance to tell a number of science writers about ComSciCon ( a science communication workshop for graduate students that I help organize, and many were interested in being involved.

The other highlight of the conference was serving as a student reporter for the New Horizons Newsroom. As a student reporter, I was given a mentor and assigned two talks from the New Horizons meeting to cover for the CASW website, one in short form and one in a longer form. My mentor was Glennda Chui, a science writer for SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), and I was really excited to meet her because I would love to write for a scientific institution someday. She was great to talk to and had some had very helpful thoughts on science writing and careers. I also got the chance to interview one of the speakers, Alán Aspuru-Guzik, for my longer piece, and he was very interesting. As part of the newsroom, I interacted with the other student reporters (science and journalism students) and their mentors, and received valuable editing and feedback on my work from Charles Petit and A’ndrea Messer, prominent science writers from Science News and Penn State respectively.

My short piece is now up on the CASW website: