Monday, October 22, 2012

Chem Coach Carnival, Day One

It's a gorgeous Fall day outside, a perfect way to kick off National Chemistry Week 2012. We've had a few bites on the #ChemCoach carnival already, so let's cut to the chase.

1. Julie, Associate Faculty. Julie blogs at The Stoichiometric Equivalent. She's a new mom, currently teaching one class. Julie teaches labs, lectures, grads, and maintains Blackboard for her class. She was hired in a most unusual way (as chemistry profs go) - by playing a flute concert. Way to be first, Julie!

2. Azmanam, O-Chem Lecturer. Adam blogs at Chemistry Blog. He's psyched to be doing exactly what he always wanted to do - teach chemistry - and has a bunch of really fun stories about on-the-fly analogies, 'suctration,' and Peyton Manning.

3. Laura, President and COO, Quintessence Bioscience. Laura blogs at The Next Element. She wears a lot of hats. She was Employee #1 at a small start-up biotech, and has optimistically slogged through 22 Wisconsin winters.

4. Stephen, Assoc. Prof. and Department Chair. Stephen blogs at The Simple Candle. Instead of a traditional postdoc, Stephen returned home to Oklahoma City to found a new charter high school. He knows a hydrogen bond when he sees one, and students have called him "1% man, 99% science!"

5. David, UK Undergraduate. David blogs at Chemically Active. He has a bunch of great advice for UK-based students seeking chemistry careers. Once, during an interview, he blurted out something that was "part truth, part guess, and part utter tosh." (We've all been there)

6. Stuart, Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry. Stu dabbles in writing, mostly at The Sceptical Chymist and Chemical Connections. He serves as a bridge between referees, authors, Editors, and the public, while also taking a long view towards future development of the journal. He (correctly) opines that "sometimes the subtleties of chemistry are lost on non-chemists."

7. Dawn, Sustainable Technologies Assoc. Director, Dow. Dawn sent me her entry by email, so I'll post it here, as promised:

"I work for Dow Chemical in the department of Sustainable Technology.  Our goal is to help our scientists, developers and marketing community imbed sustainable chemistry and engineering at the earliest stage of technology development – a “get it best early on” mentality.  This is accomplished through meeting the needs of People (technology has to function well, meeting a consumer need), Profit (if it isn’t profitable, we won’t be in business for long), and Planet (minimizing the impacts).  Specifically we aim to

-          reduce hazard (product, process, use of our products),
-          improve energy footprint (energy efficiency in our plants; energy efficiency for our customers through the use of our products; diversified feedstocks; technology for renewable energy),
-          maximize atom economy through optimal yield, lowest auxiliary use (solvents, protecting groups, etc.), minimal waste, and even concepts like optimal functional unit efficiency (e.g., meets the performance need but maybe with double the lifetime, thereby maximizing every use of those atoms as compared to an incumbent technology),  
-          and holistic design – considering “cradle to cradle” concepts that explore the use of renewable and recycled raw materials, a sustainable supply chain, through customer use phase, and end-of-life scenarios.

My typical day involves elements of training, project consulting, reporting on sustainability metrics, tool development (like sustainability assessment tools for early-stage projects), and university sustainability workshops (we’d like everyone to learn these principles early in their undergraduate and graduate education!).

I have a Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry and was a post-doctoral fellow in Bio-organic Chemistry.  I have 22 years of industrial experience in a variety of leadership roles across many of Dow’s business and corporate research teams, as well as diverse geographical experience with global responsibilities, including assignments in Europe and Asia.  My experience includes businesses and technologies such as Dow AgroSciences, Corporate Research - New Products & Math Modeling, Dow Building Solutions, Specialty Films, Plastics, Asia-Pacific Corporate Research, Asia-Pacific Epoxy and Specialty Chemicals, and now Sustainable Technology. 

My most unique experience was being on assignment in Switzerland (the richest country in the world) and then to Shanghai, in a developing economy.  Quite a juxtaposition of experience!  In Shanghai I was part of the leadership team that established a world-class research capability.  Key contributions during this last assignment included business research responsibilities as well as establishing a solid foundation in Dow’s Environmental, Health & Safety culture and practices across our new research organization.  It was the most rewarding experience of my career.

I have a personal passion for sustainability and achieving scientific innovations that have a positive impact on the world – a passion that became a catalyst for change in several of the Dow businesses I’ve served."

SAO here again: Wow, guys! I can't believe I've just received seven entries on the first day! Keep 'em coming, and don't forget to use the hashtag #ChemCoach on Twitter.

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