I want to share how excited I was to be a part of the planning group for our 4th annual Kalamazoo American Chemical Society (KACS) networking event, co-sponsored by Kalamazoo College and KACS. Over the past several years, we gathered in person in the Hicks Banquet Rooms on campus. Given the enthusiasm of wanting to continue this type of program, we shifted to the virtual format and I am happy to report it was a success!
On January 26th, Dr. Blakely Tresca and Dr. Jeffrey Bartz led this award-winning program virtually using Zoom. Participants met in this virtual space to talk about their shared interests in the chemistry field. Zoom breakout rooms provided one-on-one meeting space for students to ask specific questions based on mentors’ career paths. Industry professionals served as mentors and talked about their professional pursuits.
“I started attending the yearly KACS Speed Networking event as a freshman and it was helpful in making meaningful connections and learning more about what I could do with my chemistry degree. Currently, as a senior, I am planning to attend chemistry graduate school in the fall, and being able to talk to Ph.D. scientists has given me a perspective of what I could do with a Ph.D. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to attend the speed networking events during my time at K and for the impact it has made to my career.” – Subi Thakali, K’21, Chemistry
“The KACS Speed Networking event was a great experience that helped me develop professional communication skills and provided me with the opportunity to make real connections with mentors throughout many different fields of chemistry. Additionally, the conversations I had with the mentors were fascinating and inspiring… these conversations made lasting connections that could be very helpful in the future.” – Marissa Dolorfino, K’23, Spanish and Chemistry
In between the student/mentor conversations, K Chemistry faculty, Ed Thomas (local American Chemical Society President, and Dr. Tricia Zelaya-Leon (our CCPD Director) made announcements and shared resources. Dr. Ben Maxey also spoke, highlighting Pfizer’s lead in the global development of the COVID vaccine.
Group planning members Dr. Tomasz Respondek (Principal Scientist, Zoetis Inc.) and Dr. Lucas Chadwick, K’95 (Sr. Scientist, Bell’s Brewery), lead outreach efforts.
We are hopeful that these area industry professional mentors and students will continue their conversations, well-beyond this event.
Jacqueline A. Srodes
Assistant Director, Center for Career and Professional Development