Messel Travel Bursary recipient, Alpa Pancholi, reports from the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition

24 November 2017

24 Nov 2017

Alpa Pancholi was awarded the Messel Travel Bursary to attend the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition, held in Washington DC between the 20-24 August 2017. Here, she tells us how attending the conference was an excellent opportunity to present her work on an international scale in front of PhDs, academics and senior experts from the industry.

'During the time I gave an oral presentation in the Heterocycles and Aromatics session of the Organic Chemistry division. The presentation was titled 'Synthesis of substituted azetidines and spirocyclic diazetidines', and showcased the recent research from my PhD, and the results obtained in this field to a wide audience of peers. Following the talk, the audience were very engaging and I was fortunate enough to receive feedback on my presentation as well as suggestions for other avenues to explore in this field of chemistry. This opportunity provided a platform to network with members of the audience and obtain firsthand experience of answering questions on my research in a public forum. As a result, this further enhanced my presentation and transferable skills, which are invaluable skills to learn.

'At the conference, multiple oral and poster sessions were held over the course of the five days with speakers ranging from PhD researchers to senior experts and Nobel Prize laureates. The ACS national conference attracts members from all over the world, thereby showcasing a diverse range of projects and levels of expertise in various fields of chemistry. I enjoyed attending and listening to several of these sessions, in particular the Tetrahedron Prize session in the division of Organic Chemistry, which brought together exceptional chemists who had conducted ground breaking research and achievements. It was inspiring to have been able to see these talks presented live. The keynote and plenary speaker sessions are worth a particular mention, which were both engaging and intellectually stimulating to attend. The poster sessions provided opportunities to network with a wide variety of people, and to get a snapshot of the current research being conducted in each division.

'Alongside these sessions, various other events were being hosted, such as the Sci-mix networking events conducted in the evening. This particular event was a great networking opportunity with other members of the division, and sparked interesting chemistry discussions amongst participants alike of the wider scientific community. Many of these members were also graduates who had attended several of the talks given by PhD students. It was interesting to discuss their perspective of the current research and understand individual avenues of research for projects, further increasing my knowledge of the area. The national exposition also provided many engaging sessions with various stalls across industry, each showcasing their advances and expertise in respective fields.

'The ACS conference has greatly enhanced my communication, presentation and networking skills, proving invaluable experiences, which will no doubt be applicable towards my future career. The vast breadth of presentations over the course of the conference has broadened my knowledge both in the organic chemistry sector which I was presenting in, and across other fields of chemistry as well, which will be useful for future career prospects. I would like to thank my PhD supervisor, Professor Michael Shipman for the opportunity to present my work at the ACS national conference, as well as SCI for awarding me the Messel Travel Bursary, and thereby providing the financial support to attend this conference. This experience has been a memorable one, and I would highly encourage others to take the opportunity to attend the conference.'

Alpa Pancholi
PhD Student
University of Warwick

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